The CIB Margarita Salas, part of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), is a product of its history. Officially opened in 19581, since 1953 it brought together research groups from different institutes and areas with the shared vision and mission of creating, in the words of Prof. Julio R. Villanueva, a modern biology center2. Research in microbiology, enzymology, endocrinology, metabolism, neurology, developmental biology, etc., often led by scientists trained in leading foreign laboratories, gave the center a multidisciplinary and dynamic character; constantly evolving, with a continued vocation to further our knowledge of biology in the broadest sense.
The cutting-edge research environment, novel topics and techniques, and publication output drew researchers at all stages of their careers to the CIB. From students to principal investigators or group leaders, these new arrivals created a critical mass, which played an essential role in the birth of molecular biology in Spain3 and the foundation of the Spanish Society of Biochemistry4, now the Spanish Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SEBBM). Indeed, this critical mass and competition for space gave rise to various outgrowths from the CIB, with several groups relocating to the departments of various universities and others forming new centers and research institutes within the CSIC.
The gaps were soon filled with the arrival of researchers working in new fields, including agricultural sciences and plant biology, immunology, structural biology, biotechnology, and, more recently, medical chemistry, among others, further increasing the Center's multidisciplinary nature. This multidisciplinary nature, which likely played a key role in the initial success of the CIB in exposing researchers to a rich and varied environment of biological questions and experimental techniques, is increasingly necessary to tackle the questions and problems faced by today's society through an integrative approach to biology.
The lack of space was largely solved with the opening in 2003 of the new headquarters of the CIB in Ciudad Universitaria, a larger building that is much better suited to current research requirements. Its current location facilitates interaction with the university environment and favors our educational work: one of our key tasks is to ensure that new scientists and technicians are adequately trained for integration into the laboratories of the best national and international institutions and companies. In addition, our researchers teach undergraduate and master's degree students, including those taking the UIMP's master's degree at the CIB itself, and provide refresher courses for secondary school teachers. In addition to offering specialized training, social responsibility through the dissemination of scientific knowledge is a key objective of the Center, and the CIB's own researchers organize and participate in numerous activities to achieve this goal5. The knowledge acquired through our research is given back to the public (who fund our work) through knowledge transfer in the form of research contracts with companies and other entities (e.g. patient associations), the filing of patents, and the creation of technology-based companies.
Currently, the CIB is home to around 450 people, including researchers at various stages of their careers and professionals dedicated to administrative and support activities. Our researchers obtain funding for their projects by applying to competitive calls from funding agencies, both national and international, including the Spanish Plan Nacional and the EU's Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, as well as through the aforementioned research contracts with private companies. Our research activity relies heavily on our specialized Scientific Services6 and its highly qualified technical staff, who provide support not only to the CIB's projects, but also to other research centers, universities, and companies. We have an excellent library, with one of Europe's most important bibliographic collections in the field of biology and biomedicine, as well as essential research support services provided by the Management Services and Technical Service.
The center's activity is divided into two main lines, one biotechnological and the other biomedical. Both are clearly aimed at solving problems facing our society, and both depend on the essential base of knowledge generated through research in fields including molecular and cellular biology, structural biology, biological and medical chemistry, and biophysics. In this way, our researchers, technicians, and support staff together tackle current and future challenges to ensure that the CIB continues as a national and international research leader in Biology for Global Well-being.
Enrique J. de la Rosa,
1 In 1953 the Board of Institutes of the Center for Biological Research (CIB) was created by José Mª Albareda (Secretary General of the CSIC at the time) and Gregorio Marañón (who would be its first President), with Julián Sanz (Instituto Cajal), Arnaldo Socías (Ferrán Institute of Microbiology), and José Luis Rodríguez Candela (Institute of Metabolism and Nutrition) as heads of each of the member Institutes. February 8, 1958, saw the inauguration of the building at Calle Velázquez 144, designed by architect Miguel Fisac, that would house the CIB.
2 “La creación de un centro de biología moderno: el apoyo de las grandes figuras José María Albareda, Gregorio Marañón y Jesús García-Orocoyen. La contribución de Avelino Pérez Geijo”, Julio R. Villanueva. Chapter 3 in “Los cincuenta años del Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, su impacto en el desarrollo de las Ciencias Biológicas en España”. Ramón Areces Foundation, Madrid, 2010.
3 “Establecimiento de la bioquímica y de la biología molecular en España”. María Jesús Santesmases and Emilio Muñoz. Ramón Areces Foundation - CSIC, Madrid, 1997
4 “La Sociedad Española de Bioquímica: desde los inicios en el CIB a la posición actual. Una visión personal”, Carlos Gancedo. Chapter 4 in “Los cincuenta años del Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, su impacto en el desarrollo de las Ciencias Biológicas en España. Ramón Areces Foundation, Madrid, 2010.
Scientific Advisory Board
Internal Scientific Committee:
- CIB Director
- Members nominated by Director
External Scientific Committee:
- Prof. Angel Pellicer (Chairman)
School of Medicine - NYU Medical Centre New York, USA
- Prof. Paul Christou
Department of Crop and Forest Science - Faculty of Agronomy University of Lleida, Spain
- Prof. Ana María Cuervo
Institute for Aging Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine New York, USA
- Prof. Anna Bigas
Instituto Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain
- Prof. Daniel Ramón
Scientific Director of BIOPOLIS, Valencia, Spain
- Prof. Oscar Llorca
Director Structural Biology Program, CNIO, Madrid, Spain