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The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » November 25, 2011
The Polish Science Voice
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International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
November 25, 2011   
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The Warsaw-based International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (MIBMiK), established in 1999, is one of the country’s most modern research institutes focusing on fundamental biomedical research.

The institute operates nine research laboratories: the Department of Molecular Biology; the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering; the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration; the MPG/PAN Laboratory of Structural Biology; the Laboratory of Cell Biology; the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology; the Laboratory of Cell Cortex Mechanics (financed by Poland and located at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany); the Laboratory of Protein Structure; and the Laboratory of Mitochondrial Biogenesis.

The institute’s key research topics include: chaperone protein biology and biochemistry, structural modeling of restriction enzymes and methyltransferases, calcium-binding protein interactions in the central nervous system, crystallographic analysis of proteins involved in ubiquitination, analysis of cell signaling pathways, cell division biology, dendritic tree developmental biology, molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and mitochondrial biogenesis.

The institute has obtained Centre of Excellence in Molecular Bio-Medicine status under the European Union’s 5th Framework Program. The Proteins in Health and Disease (Health-Prot) project is a follow-up to work undertaken by the institute as part of the Centre of Excellence program.

The institute has successfully taken part in several nationwide research and organizational programs, including:
- “Searching for the systemic targets of potential neurotropic drugs” Scientific Network;
- “Visualization of biomedical phenomena”—Biowizja Network.
The institute coordinated the work of a molecular hematology consortium as part of a research project handled by several research centers. At the moment, the institute is coordinating a nationwide research project on healthy aging.

International projects are an important part of funding for the institute’s research activities. The institute has obtained funding as part of the European Union’s Framework Programs:
- 5th FP—seven grants (including two coordinated by the institute);
- 6th FP—nine grants, including three Integrated Projects (IP), a Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP), two Networks of Excellence, two Marie Curie Mobility Actions, and a Specific Support Action;
- 7th FP—11 grants: two European Research Council Starting Grants (ERC StG), one Cooperation grant, two Capacities grants, two People grants, three Era-Net Neuron grants, one INCO grant.

The institute is busy carrying out seven projects financed from the EU’s structural funds, two projects supported by the Polish-Norwegian Fund, and one supported by the Polish-Swiss Research Program, in addition to taking part in projects supported by institutions such as the Wellcome Trust, EMBO, UNESCO, the Max Planck Society, DFG, HHMI, and NIH.

As part of the CePT project, the institute will establish a Protein Function and Structure Analysis Center where a multidisciplinary team of experts will:
- conduct structural studies of enzymes involved in the metabolism of nucleic acids (such as nucleases, restrictases, and reverse transcriptases);
- search for new HIV RNase H inhibitors with the use of co-crystallization;
- conduct imaging of protein complexes in neurodegenerative diseases with a view to developing new diagnostic tests;
- conduct imaging of protein complexes in cancer with a view to developing new therapeutic approaches.

Research carried out by the institute using equipment purchased for funds obtained as part of the CePT project will be complementary with molecular, cellular and protein research carried out by other laboratories under the project. Equipment purchased as part of the project will enable researchers, for example, to track the cellular location of selected proteins and their post-translational modifications, as well as to identify the products of protein and protein-nucleic acid chemical cross-linking.
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