History of the Institute


 
Stefan Barbacki

Jerzy Suszko
Jerzy Suszko

Maciej Wiewiórowski
Maciej Wiewiórowski

Andrzej B. Legocki
Andrzej B. Legocki

Wojciech T. Markiewicz
Wojciech T. Markiewicz

History of the Institute

The roots of the Institute reach back to the middle of 1950s and the two specialized laboratories operating in Poznan at the time: the Laboratory of Alkaloids headed by Professor Jerzy Suszko and Laboratory of Plant Biochemistry headed by Professor Stefan Barbacki. In 1969, the two units were merged into the Department of Stereochemistry of Natural Products PAS, affiliated at the Warsaw Institute of Organic Chemistry PAS and led by Professor Maciej Wiewiórowski.

In the beginning, the studies conducted at the Department of Stereochemistry of Natural Products PAS focused on various aspects of structural chemistry of alkaloids. However, shortly after the establishment of the Department, Professor Wiewiórowski radically changed the subject area into more prospective field of chemistry and biology of nucleic acids that still remains at the center of the Institute?s interest. In 1974, the Department was moved from Collegium Chemicum at Adam Mickiewicz University to Z. Noskowski Street. A group of several PhD students focused around Professor Wiewiórowski gave the foundation for the scientific staff of the Institute, and today they are the leading Professors of the Institute. The Department cooperated with renowned foreign institutes at which the scientists were granted long-term research fellowships.  

In 1980, the Department of Stereochemistry of Natural Products PAS, still headed by Professor Maciej Wiewiórowski, was given autonomy and changed the name into the Department of Bioorganic Chemistry PAS. The newly opened unit employed 44 people, including 19 scientists. On 6 February 1988, the Department was distinguished by the Prime Minister for its remarkable scientific and organizational achievements and awarded with the status of the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry Polish Academy of Sciences. At that time, the Institute was organized into 9 laboratories, and the staff comprised of 122 members, including 54 scientists (10 Professors and Assistant Professors). The very same year, Professor Wiewiórowski retired, and Professor Andrzej B. Legocki was nominated the Director of IBCH PAS. Professor Jerzy Pawełkiewicz was elected the first President of the Scientific Board at IBCH PAS.

The following years brought the broadening of the Institute's research further, and in 1992 a new building of Poznań Science Center and modern greenhouse were opened. The former was funded by the State Committee for Scientific Research, and the latter by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation. In 1993, the affiliated Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC) was launched and affiliated at IBCH PAS. Since its establishment until now the PSNC has been headed by Professor Jan Węglarz. The Center offers IT services for Poznań academic community and other institutions across Poland.

From 1993 the Institute has been authorized to confer the degree of doctor and habilitated doctor in chemistry and biochemistry, which, consequently, led to initiation of the PhD Graduate Program in 1994.  By 1995, the staff of the Institute comprised of 150 positions, including 78 scientists (10 Professors and 6 Assistant Professors), and 25 of the affiliated at PSNC. The PhD Program involved 28 students.

In 2003, Professor Andrzej B. Legocki was nominated the President of Polish Academy of Sciences, and from that moment until 30 November 2012 the Director of the IBCh PAS was Professor Wojciech T. Markiewicz.

In 2011, the European Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics was established as a result of joint initiative of the Poznań University of Technology and the IBCh. The same year the Institute appointed a new Director - Professor Marek Figlerowicz. 

Today, the Institute is a high-profile institution on Polish stage that covers studies in life sciences. The Institute is one of the leading Polish institutes in European Union fundraising, including grants within the EU Framework Programs and structural funds. It has been distinguished with numerous awards, such as Crystal Brussels Prize (twice) for successful participation in the European Union Framework Programs. Moreover, individual scientists of the Institute have been awarded several distinctions, such as the most prestigious Polish prize of the Foundation for Polish Science, the so-called Polish Nobel Prize (Professor Jan Węglarz, Professor Mariusz Jaskólski, and Professor Włodzimierz Krzyżosiak). The scientific staff of the Institute comprises of 100 members, including 20 Full Professors and 27 Associate Professors. In total, the Institute employs 550 people, including 280 at the affiliated Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center. The PhD Program involves more than 100 students.