The areas of research interest include epidemiological studies on communicable diseases: malaria, chikungunya, dengue, leptospirosis, melioidosis, tuberculosis, community-acquired pneumonia and vaccine effectiveness and efficacy. Research is also conducted in non-communicable diseases such as the effect of air pollution on health, cancer prevalence estimation and studies in nutritional epidemiology and cardiovascular disease risk factors. In most research projects, expertise in various fields are required. Thus, the projects are often conducted in collaboration with other research centres in the IMR, local universities, other departments within the Ministry of Health or other ministries. Discussions for potential collaborative research projects are welcomed.
The Unit organises various training courses for IMR staff and other departments within the Ministry of Health. Courses organised by the Unit is divided into two general types: technical and non-technical courses. These courses are conducted at the IMR Computer Laboratory which is able to accommodate upto 25 participants at a time.
The technical courses organised by the Unit range from courses on research methodology to hands-on biostatistics workshops using SPSS, STATA and EpiInfo softwares. These workshops include Basic Statistical Analysis Using SPSS, Intermediate Statistical Analysis Using SPSS, Time Series Analysis, Study Design and Sample Size Determination, Multiple Logistic Regression and Randomized Community Trial, Data Management, Parametric and Non-Parametric Statistical Analysis and Advanced Statistical Analysis Using STATA. These courses are open to all IMR staff, however training support to other departments within the Ministry of Health and universities may be considered.
An advanced epidemiology course is also organised as an activity of the SEAMEO-TropMed Network. This is an annual course that is conducted in rotation between the SEAMEO-TropMed centres in three countries (Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines). This course is open to public health professionals from SEAMEO member countries. The Unit also conducts a week-long Epidemiology and Biostatistics module for the Diploma in Applied Parasitology & Entomology (DAP&E) and the Diploma in Medical Microbiology (DMM) programmes, both of which are SEAMEO-TROPMED network postgraduate courses that are held annually at the IMR.
Non-technical courses comprise mainly of user training in Microsoft Office softwares (Microsoft Excel, Access, Powerpoint, Word), website design, as well as the open source OpenOffice office productivity suite for beginners and intermediate level users. These courses are jointly organised together with the IT Unit of the MRRC.
Consultation services is provided in research design, research methodology and data analysis for research proposals to researchers within the IMR, public health departments and the Ministry of Health. Enquiries for consultations may be directed to the Unit’s officers via telephone or email. One may refer to the staff directory in the IMR website for a list of officers at the Unit and their contact details.
Besides research-related activities, the Unit is also responsible for conducting the annual Public Service Department (JPA) evaluation of positive values, Sistem Pengurusan Audit Nilai (SPAN), among civil servants at the IMR.