20 years...
a timeline of achievements

Institute for Molecular Biology at night.

June 1998 – $50 million project receives government and philanthropic backing

IMB is officially given the green light following funding commitments from the State and Federal Governments, UQ and a transformational gift from the Atlantic Philanthropies.
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March 1999 – Winning design announced for bioscience precinct

The winning design is announced for the Queensland Bioscience Precinct, a joint UQ-CSIRO project with a gross floor area of 35,000 square metres, the same floor space as many 30+-storey office blocks.
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January 2000 – The birth of an institute

Two previous centres – the Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Drug Design and Development Centre are officially merged to become the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.


21 May 2003 – Queensland research powerhouse unveiled

Queensland Bioscience Precinct is officially launched as the largest research facility in Australia, bringing together 700 scientists from IMB and CSIRO.
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IMB Group photo

The IMB team outside the Institute at UQ St Lucia.

The IMB team outside the Institute at UQ St Lucia.


May 2004 – Scientists discover what could be the instruction manual of life

IMB scientists uncover a new class of genetic elements that could radically alter our notion of how the genome ‘comes to life’ to form humans.
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November 2005 – Breaking new ground in fight against infection and chronic disease

IMB researchers make a vital discovery about how immune cells orchestrate their response to disease-causing microbes.
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Microscopic view of macrophages

Microscopic view of macrophages.

Microscopic view of macrophages.


April 2009 – International team cracks mammalian gene control code

IMB researchers are part of a major worldwide effort understanding how genes are controlled and discovering the tiniest genetic element yet known.
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Illustration of DNA

DNA is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code.

DNA is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code.


October 2012 – Unmasking the deadly secrets of pancreatic cancer

The underlying mutations responsible for pancreatic tumours in more than 100 patients is published – IMB’s contribution to the International Cancer Genome Consortium, a worldwide effort to sequence the genomes of 25,000 tumours from 50 different types of cancer.
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April 2013 – Algae to fuel a renewable future

A solar biofuels pilot plant to develop microalgae as a source of clean energy was opened at Pinjarra Hills in Brisbane.
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Solar biofuels pilot plant

The solar biofuels plant at Pinjarra Hills.

The solar biofuels plant at Pinjarra Hills.


May 2013 – Mystery disease solved by gene experts

A global team led by IMB researchers discovered a previously-unknown disease caused by a gene never before associated with human disease, providing answers for families of children around the world without a diagnosis.
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December 2013 – Researchers grow kidney from stem cells

IMB researchers announce they have grown a mini-kidney using stem cells, a breakthrough that paves the way for improved treatments for patients with kidney disease.
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kidney cells

Kidney cells.

Kidney cells.


March 2014 – Developing an oral pain reliever from snail venom

A protein found in cone snail venom is the basis for new substances that could lead to the development of safe and effective oral medications for the treatment of chronic nerve pain.
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Cone snail

Researchers are exploring cone snail venom for new treatments.

Researchers are exploring cone snail venom for new treatments.


July 2014 – Mutations identified in global fight against cancer

IMB researchers lead a team identifying the major underlying mutations in pancreatic and ovarian cancers as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium.
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November 2014 – Genetic test unlocks cause of Brisbane boy’s rare disease

Queensland researchers lead an international effort to uncover the gene behind a young Brisbane boy’s rare developmental condition, which only seven people in the world have been diagnosed with.
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February 2015 – New molecule could improve treatments for inflammatory diseases

A small molecule that blocks a key driver of inflammatory diseases is developed by IMB, UQ and Irish scientists.
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March 2015 – Spider venom may have legs as future painkiller

Seven molecules in spider venom are found that block the pathway that sends pain signals from nerves to the brain, a discovery that could inspire new painkillers.
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Close up image of a spider in its web.

Potential painkillers have been found in spider venom.

Potential painkillers have been found in spider venom.


June 2015 – Worldwide hunt for next antibiotic

A global search to ‘crowdsource’ antibiotics capable of combating superbugs is launched.
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Microscopic view of bacteria.

Superbugs are bacteria with resistance to all currently used antibiotics.

Superbugs are bacteria with resistance to all currently used antibiotics.


July 2015 – IMB spin-out raises $40 million to advance drug to clinical trial

Protagonist Therapeutics raises $40 million to begin clinical trials of an oral drug for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
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March 2016 – Worldwide carbon dioxide emissions could rise more rapidly than expected

CO2 emissions could rise more quickly than expected, locking the world into more rapid global warming, IMB researchers team with other Queensland researchers to discover.
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March 2017 – Fatal spider venom could protect against post-stroke brain damage

Researchers discover that a small protein from the venom of an Australian funnel-web spider could protect the brain from stroke-induced injury.
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Close up image of a tarantula spider on a woman's hand.

Researchers are exploring spider venoms for new treatments.

Researchers are exploring spider venoms for new treatments.


August 2017 – Potential treatment for brain cancer as drug shrinks tumours

A drug previously approved to treat breast cancer could also shrink a common form of childhood brain tumour, IMB and international researchers discover.
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September 2017 – Finding new risk factors for motor neurone disease

An international team finds new genetic risk factors associated with motor neurone disease.
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January 2018 – ‘Forgotten’ antibiotic offers hope against worst superbugs

‘Forgotten’ antibiotics are taken off the shelf and re-engineered to develop new drugs to combat some of the world’s most dangerous superbugs.
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February 2018 – Scientists discover off-switch for ‘molecular machine’ active in many diseases

Researchers discover how an inflammation process automatically switches off in healthy cells, a discovery that could be the key to stopping damage caused by uncontrolled inflammation in a range of diseases.
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Illustration of an inflammasome.

The inflammasome is the molecular machine at the heart of inflammation.

The inflammasome is the molecular machine at the heart of inflammation.


March 2018 – Unlocking the genetic combinations that control complex diseases

Researchers develop a method to pinpoint genes linked to 12 complex diseases, including Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and coronary heart disease.
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March 2018 – Turning plants into medicine factories

Australian researchers take a step closer to turning plants into medicine factories through producing key molecules in a range of plants that do not naturally produce them, but are suitable for large-scale production of pharmaceuticals.
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For more recent breakthroughs, please see our News page.

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