History of the Institute

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. Markiewicz. 

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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