Prof. Jean Cros founded the IPBS in 1996, with the aim of applying the methods and concepts of modern cell, molecular and structural biology to the identification and validation of novel pharmacological targets in the fields of cancer and G-protein-coupled receptors. From the outset, the IPBS focused on fundamental research, with a view to applying its research findings to the development of innovative pharmacological approaches.
The opening of a new building in December 1997 made it possible to bring all the groups of the Institute together on the same site, at the heart of the campus of the Paul Sabatier University.
Under the leadership of Prof. François Amalric (1999-2008), the IPBS pursued the same objectives: the characterization and validation of new pharmacological targets by molecular and cell biology approaches, together with analysis of the structure/function relationships of biomolecules and their assemblies. During this period, new research groups and facilities in structural biology, biophysics and proteomics were established at the Institute. The proteomics facility of the IPBS is a reference structure in the field, and constitutes one of the three nodes of the French Proteomics Infrastructure (ProFI).
The growth and current organization of the Institute were shaped by a series of events beginning with the creation, in 2003, of the ‘Molecular Mechanisms of Mycobacterial Infections’ Department, and the recruitment of two young team leaders from the Pasteur Institute, Paris. This Department, which has recently been renamed ‘Tuberculosis and Infection Biology’, is a key player in research on tuberculosis and infectious diseases, at the national and international levels.
The ‘Cancer Biology’ Department was created in 2005, and five new teams were established during the 2005-2009 period, with group leaders from Rotterdam, Paris, Limoges and Toulouse. These new teams reinforced the two main axes of research covered by the Department: DNA transactions and repair, and the tumor microenvironment.
Finally, the ‘Structural Biology and Biophysics’ Department was created in 2009 with the objective of enhancing the reputation and strengths of the IPBS in structural biology (integrative biological NMR, X-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry and proteomics) and biophysics (structural and cellular biophysics). The teams of this department develop original concepts and methodologies, and work in close collaboration with the other departments on the characterization of novel pathways and targets in the fields of cancer and infections.
In January 2009, Dr. Jean-Philippe Girard succeeded Prof. François Amalric as Director of the Institute. Dr. Girard’s vision for the future is to enhance further the national and international standing of the IPBS, to stimulate the emergence of innovative projects to broaden the scope of the research performed at the IPBS, and, above all, to train and attract new group leaders to maintain the leadership of the IPBS in its various fields of research.