Welcome to the website of the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS)! Founded on December 3, 1958, IMCAS has grown into a comprehensive microbiological research institution that carries an illustrious academic heritage and enjoys an ever-increasing international recognition through 50 years of unremitting efforts by generations of scientists.
For much of the history since its founding, IMCAS was located in the Zhongguancun area in the northwestern part of Beijing. The major part of the Institute was relocated into a 23,000-sq. meter, brand new building in early 2007 in the Life Science Park of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is located in the northern suburb of Beijing and adjacent to the National Olympic Park. The institute currently has 320 people on staff, including 5 academicians and over 40 professors, and about 350 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Microorganisms are typically tiny, but, as compared with animals and plants, they represent the most significant part of the biomass, the most abundant biodiversity and exhibit the widest distribution on the planet. In nature, microbes play a pivotal role in element cycling, mineral transformation and are constantly shaping our living environment. Microbes are intimately related to humankind. Most of the microbes that live on or inside the human body are beneficial to human health while only a small number of microbes may cause human diseases. Mankind has a long history of utilizing microbes in making wine, soy sauce, vinegar, cheese and other foods and products. Microbes are now an indispensable part of our daily lives. As a simplest cellular life form, microbes have been used as model organisms in modern biology. They have contributed significantly to our understanding of the basic laws of life and to the birth and development of molecular biology and many other life science disciplines.
The mission of IMCAS is to carry out basic and applied research in three main research fields, namely microbial resources, microbial biotechnology, and pathogenic microbiology and immunology, in response to national strategic needs in industry, agriculture, health care and environment protection and in line with trends in microbiological sciences, producing knowledge, technology and trained people required for the sustainable economic and social development.
IMCAS has made a number of breakthroughs in both basic and applied research since its founding, contributing significantly to China's economic and social development. In 2001, the Institute entered the pilot project of the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and began its new journey to scientific excellence. As R & D investment in China began to grow at an accelerated pace in the past few years, the Institute has gained considerable amounts of strength in the fields of microbial culture collection, classification and functional assessment, extremophiles, microbial secondary metabolisms, microbial genomics, microbe-plant interactions, molecular virology and emerging infectious diseases by identifying areas of research focus and recruiting well-trained scientists from around the world. Today, the Institute has become home to several internationally competitive research teams supported by a modern infrastructure. The institute maintains the largest fungal herbarium in Asia and the biggest culture collection in China, and possesses research facilities of high international standards.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, natural resource, energy, and environmental concerns as well as emerging and reemerging infectious diseases have posed increasingly serious challenges. To respond to these challenges, IMCAS will take full advantage of its expertise and experience in microbiological research and actively seek innovative solutions in pursuit of sustainable development and, ultimately, harmony between mankind and nature.
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