The National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) is a research institute that works on prevention and control of cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases. Established by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it started its journey as the Cholera Research Centre in 1962 from a house at Kyd Street in central Calcutta. The centre soon received recognition from the World Health Organisation (WHO) after several successful clinical trials on new therapies for cholera in collaboration with WHO. In 1979, the ICMR elevated it to a full-fledged research institute and renamed it NICED. It is currently situated at CIT Road, adjacent to the Infectious Diseases and Beliaghata General Hospital.
The institute provides opportunities for research to students after postgraduation. Those with a life science background are preferred. Students can join as junior research fellows (JRF) after clearing the exam conducted by the ICMR or National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
To join as a senior research fellow (SRF), one should have two years’ research experience in addition to the above qualifications. The basic stipend for JRF and SRF is Rs 12,000 and Rs 14,000 per month respectively. In addition, fellows are also eligible for 30 per cent of their basic pay as house rent allowance. For a medical student, the basic fellowship is Rs 15,000. “Most of the students register for their PhDs with either Calcutta or Jadavpur University,” says S. Karmakar, administrative officer. Students can start PhD work right after joining the institute. “There is no course for PhD students. But it could be introduced in future,” says Karmakar.
The institute also provides opportunities to students to work as summer trainees. “Students are selected on the basis of their performance in the university exams,” says S. K. Neogi, a scientist. “Most of the students are placed in bacteriology, biochemistry, pathophysiology and electron microscope divisions,” he adds. An alumnus who doesn’t wish to be named says the institute should open more avenues for research.
The institute is mainly funded by ICMR though it receives aid from several national and international agencies. The Japanese International Co-operative Agency (JICA) has financed a collaborative research on molecular study of bacteria causing enteric diseases with special emphasis on cholera. “Several of our scientists, technical assistants and research scholars were sent to universities in Japan to improve their skills,” says Neogi. At present, the institute is involved in a collaborative project with the Okayama University.
The institute has 10 major divisions. The bacteriology division deals with isolation and identification of bacteria, the biochemistry, immunology, pathophysiology and parasitology divisions focus on understanding molecular mechanism that makes bacteria harmful and the clinical medicine division conducts clinical trials. The epidemiology division works on epidemiology of diarrhoeal diseases while the virology division focuses on enteric diseases caused by viruses. The institute has data management and electron microscopy divisions as well. It has been running a biomedical informatics centre for the last three years. The centre organises short-term training courses, workshops and seminars for students and professionals.
After PhD, most students go for further research and several of them land jobs at research institutes and in the pharmaceutical industry as scientists.
WHAT IS IT? A research institute under the Indian Council of Medical Research
WHO’S THE BOSS? G. B. Nair is the director
where is it? P-33, C.I.T. Road, Scheme XM, Beliaghata, Calcutta-700010
Phone: 23501176, 23537519 Website: www.niced.org