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About IBB

The Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics is situated in the Ochota Campus with three other bio-medical Polish Academy of Sciences institutions: the Nencki Institute for Experimental Biology, the Centre for Medical Research and the Institute of Biocybernetics. This campus also contains Medical Academy of Warsaw a number of departments of Warsaw University.

Campus photo

 

Background

•    Description of IBB - past, present and future
The Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics (IBB) of the Polish Academy of Sciences was founded in 1957.
The scientific interests of the Institute have evolved over the years from classical biochemistry, biophysics and physiological chemistry towards up-to-date molecular biology. The topics of special attention are: microbial and yeast molecular genetics, mutagenesis and DNA repair, plant molecular biology, structural biology and bioinformatics.
-    Microbial genetics is focused on the areas of sulphur metabolism in bacteria, sugar metabolism in lactococci and mechanisms of stable plasmid maintenance. Recently the research is concentrated on plasmids and bacteriophagesgenomics, metagenomics and system biology.
-    Yeast functional genomics. Our participation in the European yeast genome sequencing project is followed by functional analysis of 26 ORFs, identified by Institute teams. This research was started within the EURO-FAN program.
-    Plant molecular biology. Plant pathogen genome expression is studied in vivo and in vitro, appropriate virus-resistant plants have been constructed and patented, and went through field trials under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture (first such tests in Poland). Signal transduction in plants is also studied with appropriate transformants (Arabidopsis, potato, tobacco, carrot, lettuce, maize).
-    Advanced nucleoside and nucleotide chemistry. Synthesis of prospective anti-HIV and anti-HCV compounds and potent specific kinase inhibitors has recently been achieved.
-    The fidelity of DNA replication and repair as well as the mechanisms of mutagenesis induced by chemicals and environmental stresses in bacteria, yeast and plants are the subject of work of our internationally recognized teams of molecular biologists. Recently, the research interest of these teams has shifted to human genes that control mutagenesis and the mechanisms of oncogenesis and ageing.
-    Gene engineering programs receive support from groups with expertise in the overexpression of proteins in Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Pichia pastoris and Baculovirus systems.
-    The Bioinformatics team which closely collaborates with various teams conducting experimental projects.

IBB has highly specialized, state-of-the-art laboratories devoted to the following disciplines:
-    Bioinformatics, including protein modelling, design of protein sequences fitting to a target structure, protein-protein interactions, including macromolecular crowding phenomena, modeling of metabolic pathways, and analysis of genome sequence data.
-    DNA sequencing lab which was involved in the European Yeast Genome Project and participated in the Polish-French-German Paramecium Genome Project (recently the first somatic chromosome was fully sequenced and annotated in IBB). Currently the lab is involved in potato genome sequencing. The lab also provides DNA sequencing to researchers from other IBB labs as well as to external customers.
-    Proteomics laboratory equipped with three modern mass spectrometers. The laboratory concentrates on protein structure studies involving identification of protein fragments through advanced methods of mass spectrometry and identification of postranslational modifications of proteins. In particular, the studies concern proteomics of human plasma and the structure of specific markers of Alzheimer disease. The development of new software tools for LC-MS methodologies is the laboratory’s strong advantage in this competitive field.
-    The laboratory of Biological NMR focuses on protein-ligand interactions. Studies conducted with the use of 400 and 500 MHz instruments allow to examine the structure of calcium binding protein in solution, nuclear relaxation of backbone protein dynamics, conformational analysis of cyclic peptides, NMR monitoring of safety and efficiency of CDP-choline treatment in brain injured patients and chiral recognition by cyclodextrines.
-    The Bank of Biological Materials holds a collection of different plasmids, bacteria and yeast. At the moment it counts over 8500 samples, which are available to internal and external researchers.

 

The Institute’s aim is to apply its facilities and the talents of its staff in implementing new programs where synergy between theory and application achieves the highest scientific standards solving at the same time specific problems indicated by end-users active in bio-medicine, food production and environment protection.

Currently, the Institute has 261 employees, including 36 professors. More than 120 PhD students attend the Warsaw School of Molecular Biology affiliated with IBB. Students are engaged in the work of particular IBB research teams and at the same time participate in the rich educational program led by the IBB staff. Students from other European laboratories also participated in projects conducted at IBB through the Marie Curie Training Site – Education and Research in Molecular Biology supported by the EU in the period 2002-2006. This allowed young EU researchers to visit IBB for 3 to 12 months to conduct experiments relevant to their PhD programmes. A recent innovation in the PhD programmes includes abroad traineeships in sister European laboratories co-directed by additional tutors. This activity, limited by the available funding, has already led to more than 30 co-directed PhDs. In 2010 the consorcium of IBB PAS and International Institute of Molecular Cell Biology has been awarded the International PhD Project Programme (Fundation for Polish Science)
Moreover, IBB actively participates in other European programs. In 2000 IBB was accepted as an EU Center of Excellence in Molecular Biotechnology on the basis of an international competition in the 5th EU Framework Program. The project financed by the EU and Ministry of Science allowed to increase the mobility of IBB researchers and to invite the best European specialists to Poland. This exerted a clear positive impact on the quality of the Institute’s scientific output. IBB groups also actively participated in setting up another Centre of Excellence – MAMBA, coordinated by the University of Warsaw. As the follow-up of these activities, IBB was recognized as the Center of Excellence by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Poland. Participation in more than thirty 5th and 6th Framework Programs projects made IBB the number one beneficiary of EU projects among the institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, which was acknowledged and awarded by the Minister of Science and Minister of Industry in 2002. Currently, IBB groups are involved in 3 EU projects (including coordination of one project) and 2 COST actions. The availability of EU structural funds in Poland is a new opportunity for those groups of the institute which are involved in research with potential applications. Seven such projects are already being financed. IBB is also a member of the consortium “Center of Preclinical Research and Technology” led by the Warsaw Medical University. A large infrastructural project of the center is on the list of priorities and financing is expected starting 2010.