The Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB) was founded in 1983 and is one of the Institutes of the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH). FORTH, among the leading and largest Greek Research Centres, comprises seven Research Institutes, located throughout the country. Over the years, FORTH has become one of the top European research centers, thanks to its high impact research results and its valuable socioeconomic contribution. Its track record in nurturing startups/ spin-offs and establishing RTD partnerships with industrial partners, are also notable.
The Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB) was established with a view to become a hub of leading edge Molecular Biology Research in Greece and to foster innovation and novel biotechnology applications. Prof. Fotis Kafatos was the founder and first director of IMBB, who then served for a decade as the General Director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and is now President of the European Research Council (ERC).
Research conducted at IMBB places emphasis on the elucidation of basic life processes, the decoding of the structure and the integrated function of genes in a given organism (genomics-postgenomics) and finally, the discovery of the mechanisms that control the development and function of an organism. IMBB comprises 32 independent research teams focusing on Protein Structure and Function, Regulation of Gene Expression, Developmental Biology, Applied Molecular Biology, Bio-informatics and Computational Biology and also Applied Multi-disciplinary Research. Technologies developed in the Institute are directed towards better health and quality of life, rational eradication of agricultural pests, production of enzymes, other proteins and immunodiagnostics with applications in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Increasing emphasis is placed on the development of technologies and infrastructures with applications in functional genomics and translational clinical research.
As advanced biology research is increasingly based on trans-disciplinary approaches and resources sharing, being part of a unique environment of Research excellence in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Biology, is a major privilege for IMBB. FORTH Institutes and Departments of the University of Crete create this exceptional environment of innovation and cooperation, acting as a catalyst for IMBB to evolve to a true trans-disciplinary Research Center.
IMBB's researchers have several R&D collaborations (both concluded and on-going) with major international companies, such as Bayer, Pfizer, and New England Biolabs. Innovative research activity at IMBB has generated a series of patent applications related to bio-conversion, genetic engineering, drug targets, biosensors etc. Pioneering spin-offs have also emerged from IMBB, such as MinosBiosystems, a genetic engineering company with a proprietary transposable element.
Today IMBB is acknowledged as one of the most important European Institutes for advanced Research in Biology. IMBB was also ranked first in both evaluations of Greek Research Institutes carried out by the Greek Secretariat for Research and Technology. Continuously pursuing scientific excellence in both basic and applied research, is one of the major pillars for IMBB's success. IMBB researchers have a multitude of high impact publications in leading international scientific journals. The analysis of molecular mechanisms and interactions in protein secretion(Cell 131:756; 2007), discovery of new processes involved in cell ageing(Nature 445:992; 2007) and the revelation of molecular memory mechanisms controlling gene transcription (Cur. Biol. 17:1, 2007), are just a few of the recent and notable publications.
IMBB is the only Greek Research Institute that took part in the international efforts for decoding the genomes of various organisms (saccharomyces, drosophila, mosquito and also the human genome), hosting a remarkable infrastructure, expertise and unique human resources in this field. IMBB also hosts the first and only fully operational post-genomics laboratory established in 2002, focusing on clinical genomics and coordinating (in cooperation with the Institute of Computer Science - FORTH) the development of a European Biomedical Informatics Platform for cancer research.