Dr. A.B. Sen, an eminent scientist of the country, joined the Institute as the first full time Director in August 1986 under ICMR. The Indian Council of Medical Research bestowed full financial power and control of the administration of the institute that his predecessors did not have. Under his direction, the research activities of the Institute accelerated considerably and several measures were adopted to streamline the administration.
Dr. R. Prabhakar later joined as the Director of the institute from 1992 to 1994 with dual charge. He was also the Director of Tuberculosis Research Center, Madras.
Dr. S.K. Kar joined as Director in 1994 till 2000. During these tenures, the institute did several projects on Visceral Leishmaniasis and a WHO/TDR project on Malathion suspension for control strategy programme was successfully carried out.
Dr. S.K. Bhattacharya joined as Director in the year 2000, and the institute got a new dimension in research. The institute and scientists got international exposure under his guidance. The Clinical trial (Phase III) on Orally administered drug Miltefosine in children suffering from Visceral Leishmaniasis was successfully carried out for the first time in the institute under the aegis of WHO/TDR. Followed by this, a spate of clinical trials viz. phase IV miltefosine, Phase III and IV paromomycin, phase IIB sitamaquine, Combination therapies, dose-finding study of miltefosine in PKDL were undertaken. The departments were enriched with latest equipments i.e., fully automated random access clinical chemistry analyzer, semi automated auto analyzer, blood cell counter, ion selective analyzer, UV-spectrophotometer, flow cytometer, PCR equipment, etc. and uplifting of the Institute campus. to further upgrade the laboratories.
The present Director, Dr. P. Das joined this Institute on 5 May 2005. Apart from completion of ongoing trails, new clinical drug trials of amphomul, single dose ambisome and combination therapy of existing anti-leishmanial drugs etc. were successfully completed. The Institute is continuously striving for quality research on diagnostic, treatment and control aspects of kala-azar apart from high-end basic research on disease pathogenesis and mechanism. The Institute has contributed significantly in operational research providing effective tools for surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and vector control under national kala-azar elimination programme. Besides this, the institute is contributing significantly in research and service towards HIV/AIDS through ICTC, ART, ART Plus, OST clinic. The other components include MDR/XDR laboratory, virology centre. The Institute is now of international repute for research and coming up as a research on tropical diseases through inception of Samrat Ashoka Tropical Disease Research Centre.