The Biophysics Institute (IBF) was established in May 2001 from the merging of five research centres of Italy's National Research Council (CNR). The Institute is based in Genoa and has four separate research divisions located in Milan, Pisa, Palermo and Trento.
The Institute is directed by Dr. Giuseppe Zucchelli and currently has a staff of 97, comprising 52 research scientists, 29 technical staff and 16 administrative & support staff. In addition, approximately 65 research fellows, doctoral students and trainees are currently involved in IBF’s research activity.
IBF has research links with academic and research institutions in over 20 European and non-European countries, as well as numerous well-established contacts with Italian research teams from universities and other organizations.
IBF’s research funding relies on both institutional sources and external financial support. In 2011 around 30 projects carried out in the Institute were funded either by the European Union or by specific research programmes run by the Italian Ministries and the local government.
The Institute’s productivity in terms of scientific publications is remarkable: in 2010, 76 papers were published in prestigious refereed journals. IBF’s researchers also disseminate their results through books published by leading international publishers and presentations in high-profile international and national congresses.
IBF’s mission is to apply methodologies and techniques typical of the physical sciences to the study of the structure and functions of biological systems.
Over the years, biophysics has firmly established itself as a fundamental discipline whose contributions have gone well beyond the mere application of physical techniques to the study of living systems. It plays a crucial role in the development of new methodologies and establishes ever closer links with other frontier areas of the biological and medical sciences (structure-function relations in biological molecules, molecular biology, bioenergetics, bioinformatics). This evolution has widened the range of skills required of the individual researcher and has increased the need for teams with diversified specialisations, who are able to tackle problems of ever increasing complexity using complementary approaches.
For these reasons, the present staff at IBF includes physicists, chemists, biochemists, molecular biologists and physiologists, many of whom have long experience in adopting interdisciplinary approaches to the study of biological systems. The preparations studied span a wide variety of biological systems: from proteins and nucleic acids to supramolecular structures; from nerve cells to higher plants; from microorganisms to cell cultures from various organisms. The phenomena under study touch on a wide range of complementary areas and are often approached with novel methods and ad hoc instrumentation developed within the Institute itself. The aim is always to gain an integrated and multidisciplinary viewpoint that may allow advancing our understanding of biological processes beyond a mere qualitative description.