The preparatory office for the Institute of Biological Chemistry (IBC) was established on February 1st, 1970, while the consulting committee was formed in March, 1971, where Dr. Choh Hao Li was elected as Chair. On December 1st of the same year, Dr. Li held the first meeting to set two significant goals of IBC: (1) As the long-term objective, the Institute would devote its primary effort to the study of biologically active proteins. (2) To locate the Institute on the campus of the National Taiwan University (NTU) thus cross-fertilizing teaching and basic research with the Institute of Biochemical Sciences (IBS). In February of 1973 the IBC preparatory office signed the agreement with the IBS to collaborate in the study of protein biochemistry.
Construction of the IBC building on the NTU campus began in March, 1973 and was completed in April, 1977. IBC then became a formal institute on July 1st, 1977. In succeeding years, the numbers of research personnel, including postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, have increased steadily. At the same time, the areas of the Institute’s research have considerably expanded and diversified to move beyond the original scope of protein biochemistry into the area of bio-organic chemistry, proteins engineering, developmental biology and molecular/cell biology.
In 1995, with the expansion of the Institute to a new building in Nankang, a modern program of Molecular and Cellular Glycobiology under the former director Dr. Darrell Liu was established to study the structure, function, and biosynthesis of glycoproteins and glycolipids. This program is growing rapidly, with the recruitment of several outstanding junior and senior investigators. To keep the relationship with NTU-IBS, the IBC building on the NTU campus was kept and some research personnel remained in the laboratories there. The research areas have also been extended to cell immunology, vaccine biology, and receptor-ligand interactions. The aims of these researches are to bring the modern and advanced technologies into IBC.
Starting from the year 2000, as to the new challenges in the post-genomics era, IBC has been devoted to the studies of Structural Biology and Functional Genomics. Under the former Director, Dr. Andrew H.-J. Wang (2000-2006), who is an expert in Structural Biology, readily integrated with the original research fields. Important proteins of our interests were solved by using X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and crystallography beamline from the Synchrotron Radiation Research Center to explore and study the various structures and functions. With these advanced technology to operate functional genomic research in progress at Academia Sinica, it is the main stream of life science in the post genomic era, after the decoding of human genomics. Furthermore, under the leadership of Dr. Ming-Daw Tsai (2006-2014), IBC continued playing an important role in the life science community of Taiwan, especially in the structure- and mechanism- related post-translations of proteins.
The research in IBC was consolidated and broadly grouped into four focused fields: I. Protein Structures and Biophysics; II. Biological and Medicinal Chemistry; III. Protein Network and Post-translational Regulation; IV. Membrane Dynamics and Cellular Communications. In addition to pursuing research of excellence and high impact, IBC will also emphasize translational development. In August 2017, Dr. Kai-Hooi Khoo, a Distinguished Research Fellow of IBC, was appointed as acting director. IBC continues to focus on structural biology, chemical biology, and the main theme of “protein: from chemistry to biology”