THE STORY OF A NOVEL INSTITUTION: THE BIRTH AND GROWTH OF IBAB (2001 – 2013)

The Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) was set up on the recommendation of the Vision Group on Biotechnology, an advisory body to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka.  The Government of Karnataka, in association with ICICI, established IBAB as an autonomous institute, registered as a Society under the Karnataka Societies Act, 1960. The State Government provided core funding and visibility and ICICI Bank provided a loan to help build the laboratories.  The Governing Body of the institute includes representation from academia, industry and government, each recognizing the strengths of the other sectors and the value of working together.

The institute started functioning in 2001, and admitted the first batch of students in February 2002.  We recap below some of the major milestones that the institute has achieved in its young life.

  • - Institute attracts Prof. Manju Bansal, Professor at the Indian Institute of Science, as Director.
    - Institute premises made ready at the temporary location in the International Tech Park, Bangalore.

  • - Institute is inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri S. M. Krishna.
    - The ‘Postgraduate Diploma in Bioinformatics’ admits its first batch of students.
    - Several companies support scholarships for IBAB students.
    - Bangalore’s community of academic and industry scientists provide overwhelming support for the institute’s teaching programme.
    - The first company to be incubated takes up residence in IBAB.
  • - The ‘Postgraduate Diploma in Laboratory Biotechniques’ admits its first batch of students.
    - First batch of IBAB students go to the University Le ReUnion for their internships.
    - IBAB is selected, along with IIT-B, IIM-A, BITS-Pilani and S P Jain Institute to be founding members of the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN).
  • - Institute attracts Prof. N. Yathindra, Professor at the University of Madras as Director.
    - Faculty member receives almost Rs. 1 crore in research funding.
    - Institute receives a FIST grant from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
  • - Faculty member first publishes a research paper from work wholly done at IBAB.
    - First faculty member from IBAB to be a co-founder of a company, Cellworks Research India.

  • - Faculty member publishes in Nature Biotechnology for the first time.
    - AstraZeneca Research Foundation endows a Faculty Chair in Cheminformatics.
    - Dr. Andreas Bender (at Cambridge University) starts to teach cheminformatics at the institute, and returns annually.
  • - Faculty member receives the Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (IYBA-2007) from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
  • - Institute recognized as ‘Centre of Excellence for research and training in the field of Bioinformatics’ by the Department of Electronics and IT, Ministry of Communications and IT, Government of India.
  • - Institute moves to its own premises, the Biotech Park.
    - Generous funding by the Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka to outfit the premises.
    - IBAB hosts its first Fulbright Fellow, Miki Kapoor.
  • - The new Rs. 20 crore Bio-IT Centre, GANIT Labs, starts functioning from the IBAB premises.
    - Institute attracts first Ramalingaswamy Fellow, Dr. Subha Srinivasan.
  • - IBAB’s new ‘MSc in Bioinformatics and Biotechnology’, recognized by the Indira Gandhi National Open University, takes off.
    - The Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka, provides generous support to equip the labs for the MSc course.
    - Two new Core Faculty members appointed.
  • - One new Core Faculty member appointed.
  • - IBAB’s new ‘MSc in Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology’, recognized by the University of Mysore, takes off.
    - One new Core Faculty member appointed.

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None of the growth of the institute would have been possible without the active involvement of members of the Governing Body, IBAB.  In particular we wish to thank Ms. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson of the Vision Group, Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary Department of Biotechnology (GoI) and the successive dynamic secretaries in the Department of IT, BT & S&T, Government of Karnataka for their assistance in our moments of need.