The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (NAS RA) was founded in 1966 to encourage the development of molecular biology in Armenia. At that time, the institute had 8 research units. Total number of scientists working in the institute was about 50, among them 21 PhDs. The research conducted in IMB in XX century had a significant input in the elucidation of structural and functional organization of nucleic acids, proteins, cells, and organelles. The first Director of the Institute was Dr. Stepan Tshmarityan. From the end of 2006 till the beginning of the 2015 the director of the Institute was Prof. Anna Boyajyan.
Today IMB has 18 research units (11 laboratories and 7 groups), and 3 educational units. Three laboratories and 4 research groups are included in the Department of Applied Molecular Biology. IMB also has the Institutional Scientific Council, Young Scientists Council and Ethics Committee. Institutional supporting units include a Sequencing center, Human DNA Samples Bank, Cell lines collection, Animal facility and the Library.
The total number of IMB employees is 130, among them 15 hold DrSc degree and 53 hold PhD degree. About 50% of IMB personnel are young scientists up to 35 of age. IMB is hosting many PhD and undergraduate students from Armenia and foreign counties. Dedicated researchers are delivering lectures and supervising under- and postgraduate students. In 2007-2013, 71 Bachelor and Master students, and 25 PhD students studied/trained in IMB and supervised by IMB scientists received bachelor-, master- and doctoral degrees.
Main Fields of Activity
Current research activities of IMB are focused on investigation of regulatory mechanisms of cell activity and its alterations in a number of pathologic conditions including autoimmune, autoinflammatory, cerebrovascular, infectious, oncological, and psychiatric disorders. The research, conducting in vivo, in vitro, in situ and in silico, includes human, animal, cell-cultures and computation modeling studies on genetic, protein, cellular, membrane, and sub-cellular levels. A special attention is paid to mediators of the immune and signal transduction systems. An important area of the research is Armenian genome study using pathogenomics, ecogenomics, immunogenomics, and population genomics approaches.
Funding Sources and Research Grants
Basic activities of IMB have been funded from the state budget. In addition, IMB researchers have performed R&D projects supported by national and international grants provided on a competitive basis. Beginning from 2000 IMB researchers have implemented 90 projects supported by research grants.
Fundamental and Practical Significance of the Research Results
The output of the studies performed at IMB is elucidation of molecular and cellular etiopathomechanisms of many polygenic and multifactorial diseases and identification of vital molecular biomarkers and therapeutic targets of diseases. Another important output is identification of new physiologically active compounds of potential therapeutic significance. Application areas include molecular diagnostics, prognostics, prophylaxis, and treatment of diseases, monitoring of disease progression and the efficiency of applied therapy as well as new drugs design. IMB has a number of technological developments in these fields and holds related patents.
Scientific production and Technological Developments
Scientific production of IMB in the last years (2007-2015) includes 22 books/chapters, 186 papers in the international journals, 154 papers in the Armenian journals, 147 publications in the proceedings of the overseas scientific meetings, 188 publications in the proceedings of the scientific meeting organized in Armenia, and 12 patents. The IMB researchers developed novel test-systems for molecular diagnostics of schizophrenia and over-fatigue syndrome; innovative approach for individual selection of chemotherapy for treatment of different types of leukemia and solid tumors; new antiviral preparation for prevention and treatment of foot-and mouse and Newcastle diseases, and some other products.
International collaboration and related activities
IMB is integrated in the international research area establishing close partnership with internationally acknowledged research centers and universities worldwide. Partnership is realized through exchange visits, implementation of joint projects, organization of joint conferences, seminars, workshops and trainings. In the last years (2007-2015) IMB hosted 69 foreign scientists from different countries; 56 scientists from IMB were hosted by foreign organizations abroad. Also in this period 31 young scientists from IMB participated in pre- and postdoctoral training programs at the international centers of excellence for research and education. The IMB researchers are active participants of the international conferences and related events. In the last years (2010-2015) 132 oral presentations and 86 poster presentations were made at the international conferences; 18 IMB scientists were awarded for the best presentations. In addition, IMB is the organizer of many international conferences and related events. In the last years (2007-2015) 6 international conferences, 3 schools and 1 workshop were held.
Partner research organizations in Armenia
The main universities, medical research centers, and some other organizations of Armenia are among partner institutions of IMB. The partnership is based on S&T collaboration agreements and realized through implementation of joint projects, organization of joint educational units (departments), laboratories, conferences and workshops and trainings. IMB is the founder and facilitator of the Armenian Society of Biological Psychiatry, Armenian Association of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Immunology and the joint member of the Biotechnological Armenian Association, Electronic Library Consortium of Armenia, and Technology Transfer Association.