The complexes of Fe(II), Cd(II) and Zn(II) with Schiff base derived from 2-amino-3-hydroxypyridine and 3-methoxysalicylaldehyde have been prepared. Melting points, decomposition temperatures, Elemental analyses, TGA, conductance measurements, infrared (IR) and UV–Visible spectrophotometric studies were utilized in characterizing the compounds. The UV–Visible spectrophotometric analysis revealed 1:1 (metal-ligand) stoichiometry for the three complexes. In addition to, the prepared complexes have been used as precursors for preparing their corresponding metal oxides nanoparticles via thermal decomposition. The structures of the nano-sized complexes and their metal oxides were characterized by X-ray powder diffraction and transmittance electron microscopy. Moreover, the prepared Schiff base ligand, its complexes and their corresponding nano-sized metal oxides have been screened in vitro for their antibacterial activity against three bacteria, gram-positive (Microccus luteus) and gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Serratia marcescence) and three strains of fungus. The metal chelates were shown to possess more antimicrobial activity than the free Schiff-base chelate and their nano-sized metal oxides have the highest activity. The binding behaviors of the complexes to calf thymus DNA have been investigated by absorption spectra, viscosity mensuration and gel electrophoresis. The DNA binding constants reveal that all these complexes interact with DNA through intercalative binding mode. Furthermore, the cytotoxic activity of the prepared Schiff base complexes on human colon carcinoma cells, (HCT-116 cell line) and hepatic cellular carcinoma cells, (HepG-2) showed potent cytotoxicity effect against growth of carcinoma cells compared to the clinically used Vinblastine standard.