Boehringer Ingelheim's commitment to Basic Research
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 molecular biology.
IMP Key Facts
About the IMP
The Research 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 35 countries carry out basic biomedical research at the institute, located at the Vienna Biocenter. Comprehensive information on the IMP is provided by the Annual Reports. The IMP cooperates closely with the Austrian Academy of Sciences through the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA).
Driven by intellectual curiosity, scientists at the the IMP investigate the molecular processes involved in the development and functioning of all living beings. Research at the IMP focuses on four main thematic areas: the molecular biology of the cell, neurobiology, mechanisms of disease, and computational biology. 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. A list of all papers sorted by year since 1987 is available at http://www.imp.ac.at/research/publications/2015/. More than 1,900 scientific papers have been published in refereed journals so far. The number of patent applications has grown to 93, all of which are at the disposal of Boehringer Ingelheim.
IMP scientists receive frequent recognition through prestigious awards and significant international grants. So far, IMP faculty members have secured eleven ERC Grants and five Wittgenstein Awards, just to name two categories. Important discoveries made at the IMP include the identification of cellular mechanisms that ensure correct cell division by Jan-Michael Peters, IMPs current scientific director, and Kim Nasmyth (now at the University of Oxford). Deputy Director Meinrad Busslinger demonstrated the reversible differentiation of stem cells. Research in Hartmut Beug's group has elucidated the events that lead to the formation of tumors. Thomas Jenuwein, now at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, identified the “epigenetic code”. Structural biologist Tim Clausen was able to establish the molecular mechanism that controls the correct folding of proteins within cells. And work undertaken by Barry Dickson (now at the Janelia Research Campus) has added valuable insight to our understanding of the neural mechanisms that guide animal behaviour.
An authoritative eight member scientific advisory board provides regular evaluation of IMP research, meeting annually in Vienna. It is made up of internationally renowned scientists, plus one representative from Boehringer Ingelheim.
Fostering Scientific Talent
Research and scientific training go hand in hand and the IMP has been the driving force in the establishment of science educational programmes – the Vienna Biocenter PhD Programme and Summer School. Together with the research institutes at the Vienna Biocenter and in close collaboration with the University of Vienna, the PhD programme has successfully trained 350 graduate students from all over the world.
Website of Vienna Biocenter PhD programme
Outlook – a new building for the IMP
In January 2015, Boehringer Ingelheim decided to allocate 50 million Euros to build a new base for IMP research at the Vienna Biocenter. Over the next two years a new, state-of-the-art research building will take shape. Only a stone’s throw away from its present premises, the construction of the new IMP building is underway. To get a first impression of the new building (virtually), click here.