The preparatory office of the Institute of Molecular Biology was founded in December of 1982. Building construction was completed and research started on July 1, 1986 under the directorship of Dr. James Wang. Drs. Ru-Chih C. Huang, Ray Wu, and Chien Ho served as interim directors during 1987-1991. Dr. C. C. Wang of UCSF assumed the directorship from September 1991 to February 1994. The Institute completed its preparatory status and officially established itself as an Institute on March 1, 1993. Dr. James C.-K. Shen was the Director from 1995-2004, Dr. Meng-Chao Yao from 2004-2013 and Dr. Soo-Chen Cheng from 2013-2019, Dr. Hwai-Jong Cheng has assumed the directorship from July of 2020.
At the Institute of Molecular Biology, active research is being engaged at the molecular and cellular levels in diverse fields of biology. There are also 8 core facilities established to help promote research activities. Using yeast, C. elegans, Drosophila, zebra fish, mouse, and Arabidopsis as models, current research topics include chromosome biology, developmental biology, infection and immunobiology, Neuroscience, Plant Biology, RNA Biology, Structural Biology, and Systems Biology.
To maximize the usage, the Institute made a decision to share expensive and/or sophisticated equipments ever since its establishment. Accordingly, core facilities have been organized and supervised by specialists. For example, the imaging core facility composed of several confocal microscopes and electron microscopes has been set up and has provided the necessary service for the acquisition and analysis of high resolution images. Other facilities, including X-ray, FACS, q-PCR, and transgenic mouse facilities, also accelerate the scientific progress in IMB.
The Institute holds a regular seminar series to facilitate collaborations with other institutions inside Taiwan and abroad, and to apprise our fellow members of current research advances. A "Frontiers in Biology" seminar series has also been established, to invite renowned researchers to share their expertise by giving seminars on their up-to-date research. The Institute also joins the efforts of the National Science Council and other Institutions, in the organization of a number of international symposia and conferences. These activities help keeping a dynamic and vigorous research atmosphere, and maintaining close links with international communities.
To promote interaction, other than the PI Friday meeting, PIs of IMB used to meet annually at the IMB Retreat. A Retreat pre-meeting has also been held with the invited guests giving talks on their research. The Retreat currently has evolved to an IMB Meeting to accommodate all students, assistants and postdoctoral fellows as well, aiming in broadening the scope of their scientific interest.
One of the missions for IMB has been the training of the next generation of young scientists for careers in the field of molecular biology. A graduate training program has been officially established in collaboration with National Central University. IMB has also sponsored a Taiwan International Graduate Program in "Molecular and Cell Biology", in cooperation with the Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense University. There are also programs for summer students and gifted high school students funded by the National Science Council.
Judging from the size and the research accomplishments, IMB currently is at a level similar to those of similar departments in major western universities, such as the MCB program of UCDavis. However, a higher standard is being imposed on ourselves to achieve top level. With the consolidation of current research programs, IMB will also initiate new research programs by recruiting new PIs, in the hope to further our scientific excellence.