About IMCAS

Dr. Gao, G.F.
Professor and Director

  The Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS) was founded on December 3, 1958. It was the merger of Beijing Laboratory of Microbiology, CAS, and the Institute of Applied Mycology, CAS. IMCAS is a national comprehensive research institution that performs a wide spectrum of basic and applied research on microbial resources, microbial ecology, fermentation, microbial enzymology, molecular virology, and molecular microbial genetics. Based on its main research focuses and developmental strategy, the Institute of Microbiology has established nine research centers, which carry out studies on microbial resources, microbial genomics, agricultural biotechnology, Bio-energy and industrial biotechnology, environmental biotechnology, extremophiles, microbial metabolic engineering, molecular virology, and molecular immunology, respectively. Three key laboratories (State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources, State Key Laboratory of Plant Biotechnology, and CAS Key Laboratory of Systematic Mycology and Lichenology) are embedded in the research centers. The National Microbial Engineering Center has already under construction according to the institute¨s master plan.

   IMCAS hosts 307 faculty and staffs, including 5 CAS academicians, 94 professors and associate professors, and 8 postdoctoral research fellows. Additionally, the institute harbors three supporting centers and two platforms, i.e. the culture collection center, the microbial analytical and inspection center, the center for technology and information, the technical supporting platform, and the high-throughput screening platform. The culture collection center harbors the largest fungal herbarium in Asia with over 400,000 specimens, and the biggest culture collection in China, with 17,000 isolates of microorganisms. This center is the entitled one of international preservative bases by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) according to the Budapest Treaty.

   Three national academic societies, Chinese Society of Microbiology, the Mycological Society of China, and Chinese Society of Biotechnology, are affiliated to the institute. The institute is also the seat of editorial offices for four journals, Acta Microbiologica Sinica, Chinese Journal of Biotechnology, Microbiology, and Mycosystema. The Institute also has a specialized library with a collection of more than 60,000 books.

   As the national leading research institution in the field of microbiology, the IMCAS is committed to the advancement of science and technology. In the past decades, a number of hallmarks have made the institute notably known in China and through the world. The licensing of a novel two-step fermentation technology for Vitamin C production to Hoffman La Roche Company with a license fee of $5.5 million was the largest biotechnology export item in the 1980s. The identification of an HSP96 binding epitope of Hepatitis B Virus from liver tumor tissues has provided new clues to the treatment of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatoma. The introduction of glucomylase to industries has resulted in an economic benefit of RMB 190 million, reducing grain consumption by 80 million tons. The IMCAS has finished the full-genome sequencing of two microorganisms, Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis (2.7MB) and Xanthomonas camperstris pv . campestris (5.1MB). The institute was the first in the world that successfully applied satellite RNA of cucumber mosaic virus in controlling plant viral diseases. The Institute has made important contributions to the development of life sciences and to the national economy. In August 2001, the IMCAS entered the CAS's Knowledge Innovation Program and started a new era of rapid development.

   In 2004, the institute obtained financial support for 55 research projects, among which 16 were sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation, 8 by the `973 Program¨, 8 by the `863 Program¨, 4 by National Science and Technology Advancement Program, 10 by the Ministry of Science and Technology, 4 by CAS, and the others by such sources as the Hundred Talent Program, the CAS Presidential Funding, and so on. The total research funds were more than 60,000,000 RMB. Funds resulted from technology development and transfer were over 5,000,000 RMB, which reflected the steadily improved scientific performance of the institute. Up to 91 papers were published on journals that included by the Science Citation Index in 2004. A number of 19 techniques were filed for patent in China and one for international patent. This year also witnessed a double number of granted patents, among which 29 patents were authorized by the State Intellectual Property Office of China. The patent titled "Hepatitis B virus (HBV) antigenic polypeptide-heat shock protein complex and use thereof" has been applied for PCT and published/opened in USA, Japan and Europe.

   The IMCAS is also dedicated to educating and training new generation of microbiologists. The institute offers a broad range of academic programs that lead to postgraduate degrees, such as microbiology, biochemistry and molecular microbiology, and microbial genetics. Currently, there are 256 graduate students enrolled in various programs toward doctoral (166) and master's degrees (90).

   The institute is committed to serving national and international needs. This commitment is reflected in research and practical activities located off campus in communities throughout China. It is realized also through worldwide research cooperation, training ex-changes, and student exchange programs. A network of international collaborations that involves scientists from the US , Singapore , United Kingdom , France and other European countries has established. The international orientation of the institute is an indispensable precondition for its scientific excellence and competitiveness


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