The microbiology postgraduate programme has evolved into a multidisciplinary research, which encompasses traditional microbial disciplines and the more recent molecular approaches, such as DNA technology. Active research areas span both fundamental and applied microbiology. Its multidisciplinary nature leads to graduates who are more versatile and enjoy rewarding careers in science.

Current research projects include identification and characterization of compounds and metabolites from local plants that can inhibit Helicobacter pylori, bacterium that causes peptic ulcer; production of flavor or enhancer, dye and industrial enzymes from a variety of microorganisms; characterization of nifgenes (nitrogen fixation gene) in a number of Gram positive bacteria; isolation and identification of psychrophilic nitrogen fixing microbes from Antarctica; and developing a microbial process to convert oil palm to biodegradable plastic, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). The department also houses a Fusarium collection as part of an international collaboration on Fusarium.