The bridge between industry and academia is strengthened by the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna (Austria), a basic biomedical research centre sponsored largely by Boehringer Ingelheim. Over the years, the institute has rapidly established an excellent international reputation and today is one of the European "hot spots" for research in the area of molecular biology.
The Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), founded in 1985, has had Boehringer Ingelheim as its main sponsor since 1993. Additional resources are contributed by research grants from national and international funding agencies. About 200 scientists from more than 38 countries carry out basic biomedical research at the institute, located at the Campus Vienna Biocenter. The IMP cooperates closely with the Austrian Academy of Sciences through the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA).
Driven by intellectual curiosity, the IMP's scientists investigate the molecular processes involved in the development and functioning of all living beings. Initially conceived as cancer research centre, IMP today focuses on three main thematic areas: the molecular biology of the cell, neurobiology, and mechanisms of disease. The results of its research efforts may reveal potential targets for new drugs and thus enable Boehringer Ingelheim to design rational therapies for the future.
The IMP's research output is documented by a consistently high number of scientific publications. More than 1,500 scientific papers have been published in refereed journals during the institute's lifetime. The number of patent applications has grown to 90, all of which are at the disposal of Boehringer Ingelheim.
IMP scientists receive frequent recognition through prestigious awards and significant international grants - the most recent ones being two starting and one advanced grant by the ERC. Important discoveries made at the IMP include valuable contributions in the field of cell division by Jan-Michael Peters, IMPs current scientific director, and Kim Nasmyth, and the reversible differentiation of stem cells by Meinrad Busslinger. Research in Hartmut Beug's group has elucidaded the events that lead to the formation of tumors. Structural biologist Tim Clausen has been able to establish the molecular mechanism that controls the correct folding of proteins within cells. Work undertaken by Barry Dickson has added valuable insight to our understanding of the neural mechanisms that guide animal behaviour.
An authoritative eleven-member scientific advisory board provides regular evaluation of IMP research, meeting annually in Vienna. It is made up of internationally renowned scientists, plus two representatives from Boehringer Ingelheim.
Training the next generation of scientists is a central issue at the IMP. Over the last 20 years, more than 250 graduate students from around the world have been trained through the international Vienna Biocenter PhD programme which is carried out in cooperation with the University of Vienna and partner institutes on campus. The IMP has also taken on a pioneering role in Europe with the introduction of the "IMP fellowships". This programme allows young, talented scientists to take responsibility for a lab shortly after receiving their doctorate and run an independent research project.