tl_files/Pictures_RS/Centre-of-excellence-logo.jpgIn 2003 the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology was awarded the Centre of Excellence in Molecular Bio-Medicine (CEMBM) project within 5th Framework Programme of the European Commission (call for proposals on „Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources, 1998-2002”).

CEMBM mission was to extend and strengthen the Institute's activities lying behind its founding idea, to allow us to achieve a better integration of research efforts on the basis of an improved partnership and to prepare Polish researchers for the implementation of the policies of the European Community in molecular biomedicine. CoE program focused on a wide spectrum of topics: from protein structure prediction to endocytic transport and signal transduction. As an effect, full incorporation of the Institute's activities into the European Research Area occurred. In the long term, Centre's organization and development was and is to improve research quality and to achieve a sharper focus on challenging biomedical problems of European societies. The project lasted 36 months and its budget amounted to 350 000 euro.

CEMBM project brought outstanding results. It improved Institute’s research quality in biomedical sciences. It developed methodology of analysis of complex protein structures with the use of molecular biology/biochemical methods, crystallographic analysis and computer modelling.
Besides, CEMBM strengthened existing links and established new contacts with European scientific partners. It developed intensified cooperation with the University Medical Center Utrecht, NL; Laboratoire d’Enzymologie et Biochimie Structurales (LEBS), CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, FR; Cancer Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, UK; Justus-Liebig-Universitaet, Giessen, DE (common Marie-Curie RTN project; acronym DNA ENZYMES); Institute of Cancer Biology of the Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, DE; Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, DE. Moreover, it established twinning activities with Italian National Research Centre on Ageing, Ancona, IT; University Medical Center in Utrecht, NL; and Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), Dresden, DE. Strengthened collaboration of CEMBM with MPI-CBG resulted in the establishment of the Independent Junior Research Group headed by a German scientist at IIMCB in Warsaw (Laboratory of Structural Biology MPG/PAN), and of the Independent Junior Research Group headed by a Polish scientist at the MPI-CBG in Dresden (Laboratory of Cortex Movement and Cell Division MPG/PAN).

The exchange of researchers flourished. Short visits were organised as a most common form of establishing and developing European collaboration (25 visits from and 75 to the Centre). Long visits amounted to 10 from and 7 to CEMBM. Visit exchange was beneficial especially for junior researchers. Hosted by foreign institutes they received additional training, acquired new know-how and gained invaluable experience of research work carried out in different conditions and environments. Reciprocally, they had an opportunity to promote themselves, as well as to strengthen the position and increase recognition of their mother institutes in Europe.

Better quality of research, international cooperation and scientific exchange contributed to significant increase in the number of publications in well-known international journals. IIMCB published 110 international papers directly connected to and as many as 110 indirectly linked to CoEs’ activities, which considerably strengthened Institute’s international scientific position.
Moreover, along with intensified scientific collaboration, CoE researchers proved to be very attractive and valuable partners in creating joint FP6 projects consortia. IIMCB was a partner in 15submitted proposals 10 of which were funded.

Due to EC funding, Centre of Excellence developed a series of popularization, educational and promotional activities in molecular medicine and human genetics. Among others the Centre organized 6 events, out of which the most spectacular were:

  • Conference „Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection”, Warsaw, 2003; organised jointly by CEMBM and the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology; 14 speakers/60 participants. Abstracts of lectures published in Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis;
  • One week Integrated Course within the Postgraduate School of Molecular Medicine on Advances in Molecular Medicine: „Molecular therapy in clinical practice”, Poznan, 2004; 25 speakers/60 participants;
  • Workshop „Molecular basis of Alzheimer’s disease”, Warsaw, 2004; organized by CEMBM and Polish Academy of Sciences Medical Research Centre; 14 speakers/60 participants.

Additionally, CEMBM hosted 37 speakers to give single seminars.

Last but not least, together with other two CoEs, CEMBM co-funded the Centre for Innovative Bioscience Education (CIBE), the initiative aiming at reducing gap between science and society in Poland. SFN educational activities popularizing modern biology include open lectures, workshops for students, and courses for biology teachers, and exhibitions. SFN is a partner in FP6 „VOLVOX” project devoted to coordination of internet-linked networks for promoting innovation, exchanging knowledge and encouraging good practice to enhance bioscience education in CEMBM.

The Center of Excellence for Molecular Bio-Medicine gave us an excellent framework to become more international, to present brilliant results, to train smart young scientist. Clearly the CoE program supported the exchange of both ideas and people which had a tremendous impact on development of such an evolving research institute like IIMCB. Finally experience of CoE brought successes in getting international grants. The Institute was awarded ten projects in the 6th Framework Programme and already 3 projects in 7th FP. One of the newly negotiated project is HEALTH-PROT, “Proteins in Health and Disease” funded under REGPOT-2008-1. “Unlocking and developing the Research Potential of research entities established in the EU´s Convergence Regions and Outermost regions”. Of similar rationale and aims HEALTH-PROT may be considered an advanced continuation of CoE.

Booklet: Achievements of 18 Centres of Excellence in "Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources"