About the IPBS

Our main mission is to conduct excellent research while training the next generation of researchers and promoting science to the general public.

The IPBS hosts more than 250 scientific and administrative staff, including more than 60 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows of multiple nationalities, who work in a stimulating and highly collaborative environment. The IPBS currently comprises 18 research groups working in two broad research areas: the biology of tissue and cellular microenvironments, and the molecular and structural mechanisms of disease. Four facilities provide state-of-the-art technology in proteomics, biophysics and structural biology, molecular and cellular imaging, and functional exploration. Several BSL-3 laboratories and animal facilities are available for the study of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and other pulmonary and enteric infections, and more recently COVID-19.

Our teams are involved in numerous national and international networks, and our work is supported by prestigious funding (from the European Commission, including the ERC and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie program, the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, MSDAVENIR, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, the French National Agency for research on AIDS, the ARC Foundation for cancer research, the Ligue contre le cancer, and the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale, to name a few).

With more than 100 scientific publications per year, many of them in prestigious journals, a dozen start-ups created since 2000, and multiple partnerships with industry and the clinic, the IPBS is a world leader in the discovery, characterization, validation and exploitation of new biological targets in the fields of cancer, infection and inflammation.

Scientific and administrative staff
Research teams
Core facilities
Joint international laboratories
PhD students & Postdocs
International cooperation programs
m2 of laboratories

Our history

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 was then renamed ‘Tuberculosis and Infection Biology’, was 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 overall goal was to further enhance the national and international standing of the IPBS, and to stimulate the emergence of innovative projects to broaden the scope of the research performed at the IPBS. Numerous research associates and two group leaders supported by the ATIP-Avenir program and the ERC, from Basel and San Diego, working on inflammation during infection and on cell migration in tumours and infected tissues, were recruited during this period.

In January 2021, Dr. Olivier Neyrolles succeeded Dr. Girard as head of the Institute. The new director wished to strengthen the links and collaborations between the teams, which led him to create a special committee for the animation and the scientific strategy. He also wished to strengthen the links of the IPBS with industry, and to this end created a special committee for the valorisation. Both committees have funding available for the initiation of new projects. International cooperation has been further strengthened and new teams have joined the IPBS. Aware of the new challenges of research and the place of scientific activity in society, the new management has created committees in charge of leading the reflection concerning sustainable development, equality and parity, and scientific integrity.