The roots of the Institute date back to the
mid-1950s and the two specialized laboratories operating in Poznan at that
time: the Laboratory of Alkaloids headed by Professor Jerzy Suszko and the
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 to the Institute of Organic Chemistry PAS in Warsaw
and headed by Professor Maciej Wiewiórowski.
In the beginning, studies conducted in the
Department of Stereochemistry of Natural Products PAS focused on various
aspects of the structural chemistry of alkaloids. However, shortly after the
establishment of the Department, Professor Wiewiórowski radically changed the
field of expertise to the more prospective area of the chemistry and biology of
nucleic acids, which is still the focus of interest at the Institute today. In
1974, the Department was moved from Collegium Chemicum of Adam Mickiewicz
University to Z. Noskowski Street. A group of several Ph.D. students led by
Professor Wiewiórowski laid the foundation for the scientific staff of the
Institute, who have been the leading professors of the Institute for many
years. The Department cooperated with renowned foreign institutes, where the scientists
received long-term research fellowships.
In 1980, the Department of Stereochemistry of
Natural Products PAS, still headed by Professor Maciej Wiewiórowski, became
independent and was renamed the Department of Bioorganic Chemistry PAS . The
newly opened unit employed 44 people, including 19 scientists. On February 6,
1988, the Department was awarded by the Prime Minister for its remarkable
scientific and organizational achievements and given the status of the
institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. At that time, the Institute was
organized into 9 laboratories, and the staff comprised 122 members, including
54 scientists (10 professors and assistant professors). That same year,
Professor Wiewiórowski retired, and Professor Andrzej B. Legocki was appointed
Director of the IBCH PAS. Professor Jerzy Pawełkiewicz was elected the first
President of the Scientific Board at IBCH PAS.
In the following years, the Institute's
research continued to expand, and in 1992 a new building of Poznań Science
Center and a modern greenhouse were opened. The former was financed by the
State Committee for Scientific Research, the latter by the Foundation for
Polish-German Cooperation. In 1993, the affiliated Poznań Supercomputing and
Networking Center (PSNC) was created and affiliated at IBCH PAS. Since its
establishment until 2019, the PSNC has been headed by Professor Jan Węglarz,
then by Dr. Cezary Mazurek. The Center provides IT services to the academic
community in Poznań and other institutions across Poland.
Since 1993 the Institute has been entitled to
confer the degree of Doctor and Habilitated Doctor in chemistry and
biochemistry, which led to the introduction of the Ph.D. Graduate Program in
1994. By 1995, the Institute's staff comprised 150 positions, including 78
scientists (10 full professors and 6 assistant professors), and 25 of those
affiliated with the PSNC. The Ph.D. Program included 28 students.
In 2003, Professor Andrzej B. Legocki was
appointed President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and from that moment
until November 30, 2012, the Director of the IBCH PAS was Professor Wojciech T.
In 2011, the European Center for Genomics and
Bioinformatics was established as a result of a joint initiative of the Poznań
University of Technology and the IBCH. In the same year, the Institute
appointed a new Director - Professor Marek Figlerowicz.
Today, the Institute is a high-profile
institution on the Polish stage, covering studies in life sciences. The
Institute is one of the leading Polish institutes in attracting European Union
funding, including grants under the EU Framework Programs and Structural Funds.
It has been awarded numerous prizes, such as Crystal Brussels Prize (five
times!) for successful participation in European Union Framework Programs. In
addition, individual scientists of the Institute have been honored with several
awards, 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 consists of 120 members, including 17 full professors and 36
associate professors, supported by ca. 90 engineering and technical staff. In
total, the Institute employs over 700 people, 370 of whom work in the
affiliated Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center. The Institute's Ph.D.
Program and the Poznań Doctoral School of the Institutes of PAS educate ca. 80
Ph.D. students who prepare their dissertations at the Institute.
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