The Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was established in 1958 by Prof. Bei Shizhang, a renowned biologist and distinguished CAS member. Its predecessor was the Beijing Institute of Experimental Biophysics established in 1957. The current director is Liu Li.
The mission of the institute is to give full play to the comprehensive advantages of multi-disciplinary and achieve basic, forward-looking and strategic breakthroughs in the frontier fields of protein sciences, brain and cognitive sciences, infection and immunity, and nucleic acid biology. The institute also strives to strengthen innovative research and development of key equipment in the field of life sciences, achieve key breakthroughs in key technologies and experimental methods, build a transformational research system focusing on biopharmaceuticals and in vitro diagnostics, and lead the innovation in the national innovation system. It will continue to produce major leading scientific research achievements and strive to enter the ranks of world-class research institutes in the fields of life and health sciences.
Under the leadership of senior scientists such as Bei Shizhang, Zou Chenglu, Liang Dongcai and Yang Fuyu, several generations of researchers have worked together at the institute since its establishment, creating a series of innovative achievements and promoting the research and development of disciplines such as cell biology, radiobiology, cosmology, enzymology, structural biology, membrane biology, neurobiology, biological cybernetics and biophysics engineering technology. Efforts have been made to cultivate excellent scientists, achieve high-level research results, develop high-tech products, and foster high-tech companies, creating good social and economic benefits as well as contributing to the development of the life sciences nationally.
The institute has achieved a series of major research progresses in protein sciences, brain and cognitive sciences, infection and immunity, nucleic acid biology, protein and peptide drugs among others. It has two national key laboratories: the National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules and the State Key Laboratory of Brain & Cognitive Sciences; two key laboratories of CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Infection and Immunity and Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of RNA Biology; Laboratory of Protein and Peptide Drugs (LPPD) and Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Research (LIR); and the Beijing Engineering and Technology Research Center for Biomacromolecule Drug Transformation and the CAS Engineering Laboratory for Nanozyme, based on the LPPD, as well as the Beijing Engineering Technology Research Center for Biomedical Molecular Detection, based on the LIR.
Relying on the institute, the Core Facility for Protein Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Beijing MRI Center for Brain Research help provide a complete public technical support for scientific research. At the same time, they carry out experimental methodology and experimental technology innovation research, and are open to the public.
The CAS Center for Excellence in Biomacromolecules built by the Institute of Biophysics gathers the most innovative and dynamic talents in the research field of biomacromolecules. Under the guidance of the Strategic Priority Research Program (Category B), the center aims to grow into a demand-oriented research platform working at the world's frontiers of science and technology and people's lives and health, with a focus on functional and structural research of biomacromolecules and on serving major national strategies. It will create a new mechanism of innovation, openness, competition and mobility, and become a birthplace of major scientific research on biomacromolecules in China. It also strives to be one of the world's top biomacromolecules research centers dedicated to scientific and technological originality, and to lead the future development of the discipline.
The Institute of Biophysics has taken the lead in building the School of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Working with CAS-affiliated institutes in Beijing such as the Institute of Zoology, the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, the Institute of Microbiology, Beijing Institute of Genomics and the Institute of Psychology, it attracts core talents, gathers superior resources and offers excellent undergraduate and postgraduate education, making it a key platform for the integration of science and education.
The institute is a unit authorized by the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council for granting doctoral and master's degrees, a pilot unit for self-addition of doctoral tutors and a key training base for doctoral students of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Institute currently has three first-level disciplines of biology, psychology and basic medicine. There are eight masters and doctors training sites each for the second-level disciplines: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biophysics, Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurobiology, Cell Biology, Bioinformatics, Immunology, and Regenerative Medicine; and one bioengineering major.
As of 2019, the institute had 113 graduate tutors (including 20 part-time staff), and 1,831 graduate students had been trained. There were 646 graduate students, including 435 doctoral students, 211 master's students and six overseas students. In 1987, a post-doctoral mobile station was established. The first-level discipline was biology, and second-level disciplines included biochemistry and molecular biology, cell biology, neurobiology, and biophysics. By the end of 2019, the institute had a total of 66 postdoctoral fellows.
In 1998, the institute was listed by the State Scientific and Technological Commission as one of the five pilot units for the reform of the CAS basic research institutes. In 2001, it became a CAS knowledge innovation pilot project. In 2005, it was rated as a CAS Excellent Institute and entered the third phase of its knowledge innovation project. In 2010, it was listed among the first "Innovation 2020" bodies by the CAS.
In 2015, after the institute's Leading Party Members Group deployed an action plan to become a leading first-class institution and initiated classified reforms, it decided to help establish the CAS Center of Excellence for Biomacromolecule Innovation. The center passed its acceptance test in 2017 and has now been put into official use.
The institute has since undertaken multiple national key research and development programs and major national science and technology projects, and has been tasked both with National Natural Science Foundation of China projects and CAS pilot science and technology projects.
The institute is the host institution of the Biophysical Society of China, which has three publications - Biophysics Reports, Protein & Cell and Progress in Biochemistry and Biophysics; the latter two are indexed by SCI. The institute now has a 1,100-square-meter library, and has opened 21 scientific and technical literature databases, which can access more than 3,000 foreign academic journals and most Chinese academic journals.
The principles of the institute are: obey the needs of the country, combine theory with practice, and surpass the world's advanced level; the common vision is: explore the mysteries of life and create human happiness; the core values are: innovation, first-class, responsibility, dedication; and the cultural concepts are: harmony, democracy, freedom.