The HISTORY of INSTITUTE
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The Bach Institute of Biochemistry, the first biochemical institution affiliated with the Academy of Sciences, was organized by the Decision of the General Meeting of the Academy on December 18, 1934. The founders of the Institute were the outstanding scientists Academicians Aleksey Nikolaevich Bach and Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin. Academician A.N. Bach became the first Director of the Institute (1935-1946). Later, the Institute was headed by Academician A.I. Oparin (1946-1980), Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences I.V. Berezin (1981-1987), and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences B.F. Poglazov (1988-2001). Since 2001, the institute has been directed by Prof. V.O. Popov.
Activities of prominent scientists A.A. Baev, A.N. Bach, A.N. Belozersky, A.A. Krasnovsky, A.L. Kursanov, A.I. Oparin, S.E. Severin, N.M. Sisakyan, A.S. Spirin, I.A. Tarchevsky, A.N. Terenin, V.A. Engelhardt, I.V. Berezin, V.N. Bukin, V.L. Kretovich, A.M. Kuzin, B.F. Poglazov, D.L. Talmud, M.N. Lubimova, A.I. Smirnov, Z.V. Ermol'eva, D.M. Mikhlin, B.A. Rubin, N.I. Proskuryakov, A.G. Pasynsky, P.V. Afanas'ev, B.N. Stepanenko, R.V. Feniksova, V.B. Evstigneev, A.A. Shmuk, S.D. Balakhovsky, S.M. Prokoshev, L.V. Metlitsky, and others have been associated with the Institute. These names are related to important milestones in the progress of the biochemical science in this country.
The theory of the origin of life; the discovery of the ATPase activity of myosin, which formed the groundwork of modern mechanochemistry; identification of molecular mechanisms involved in the transformation of solar energy during photosynthesis; biochemistry and enzymology of nitrogen fixation; prediction of informational RNA and discovery of informosomes; establishment of the biochemistry of subcellular structures; detection of actin and myosin in all eukaryotic cells, which led to the discovery of cytoskeleton structures—such is the list (by no means complete) of accomplishments that have won international recognition for the Institute. The history of the Institute is tightly associated with the formation and development of scientific foundations of food, medical, microbiological, vitamin, enzymatic, and other branches of industry in this country. Biotechnological developments of the Institute have found wide application in the national economy, yielding considerable benefits. These works brought highest governmental and scientific awards to their authors—the Lenin Prize, State Prizes of the USSR and the Russian Federation, the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Lomonosov Golden Medal, and other prizes, decorations, and medals of the Russian Academy of Sciences, named after prominent scientists, as well as scientific prizes of foreign countries.
The Institute occupies an important place in organizing and advancing biochemistry in this country. Former scholars of the Institute were among those who rocked the cradle of the Institute of Molecular Biology (Moscow), Institute of Protein (Pushchino, Moscow oblast), Institute of Photosynthesis (Pushchino, Moscow oblast), Institute of Physicochemical Biology of the Moscow State University (Moscow), Institute of Plant Biochemistry (Tbilisi, Georgia), Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan), Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), and others. During these 70 years, over 150 doctoral and 700 candidate dissertations have been prepared and defended at the Institute. The Аll-Union Biochemical Society and the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life (ISSOL), as well as the journal
were organized with the active participation of the scientists from this Institute. The Institute publishes the journal
Prikladnaya Biokhimiya i Microbiologiya (Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology)
in Russian and English as well as the annual
Uspekhi Biologicheskoi Khimii (Progress in Biological Chemistry
In 1967, by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the Institute was awarded the Lenin Order for the foundation and development of biochemical science in the country.
At present, the Institute is actively involved in training scientific personnel, including students, postgraduates, and researchers working for the doctorate degree. Together with Moscow State University, institutions such as the People's Friendship University of Russia, Moscow State University of the Food Industry, and other institutions of higher education and scientific educational centers have been organized; over 100 students and postgraduates are involved in their work.
The main objectives of the Institute are related to research into the biochemical foundations of vital processes and application of the basic results obtained to production. Studies of structure-function organization and regulation of syntheses and activities of enzymes, enzymatic systems, their complexes, and main metabolic processes; research into physiologically active compounds, pathways of their biosyntheses, and mechanisms of action; study of the molecular basis of photobiological processes; and study of the biochemical basis of human ontogenesis and pathogeneses of main diseases are among the priority fields of the Institute's activity. Methods for detection of microquantities of biologically active substances and theoretical foundations of enzymatic biotechnologies, phyto-, and ecobiotechnologies are being developed.
The research performed at the Institute is supported by domestic and international grants and foundations, namely, programs of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences and grants of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Government of Moscow, INTAS, INCO-Copernicus, CRDF, NATO, Welcome Trust, ISTC, and others. The Institute collaborates with many foreign institutions through implementation of joint projects, including European Laboratory for Molecular Biology, German National Research Center for Environmental and Health Research, and University of Bochum, and Technical University of Berlin (Germany); University of Stockholm and Lund University (Sweden); Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of Wales and the University of Kent (UK); Institute for Food and Nutrition Research, University of Bologna, and Center for Magnetic Resonance (Italy); Institute of Environmental Chemistry (Spain); Swiss Institute of Technology; University of Jerusalem (Israel); Agricultural University of Athens; and University of California in Davis and Carnegie Mellon University (USA).
The Institute pays much attention to innovative activities. Among the latest developments of the Institute, a highly efficient microbiological technology for purification of ventilation discharges from toxic volatile compounds is worth noting. The gas-cleaning systems designed using this technology are successfully exploited in Russia, the UK, and South Korea. Immunosensor systems for ecological monitoring and medical diagnostics have been developed. Diagnostic kits for the detection of drugs and early diagnostics of phenylketonuria have been designed and introduced into practice.
Basic research and applied studies of the Institute recently won high recognition: Prof. T.A. Valueva was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation and the research team led by Prof. A.M. Bezborodov and Prof. V.O. Popov received the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation.
The Institute today represents a blend of expertise and youth, a unanimous team of like-minded people, and a tremendous intellectual potential. Combining the research into most topical problems in biochemistry with innovative activities, the Institute creates a new impetus for further development.
As to the future, the Institute is optimistic and ready to respond to all challenges of science of this century.
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Last review: June, 2006.
© A.N.Bach Institute of Biochemistry of the R.A.S., 2001-2007