Institute of Biosciences and Technology

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The Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT), a component of the Texas A&M Health Science Center represents the Texas A&M University System, one of the two main Texas state university systems, in the state's and world's largest medical center, the Texas Medical CenterThe Texas Medical Center, in Houston, Texas. The institute focuses on interdisciplinary collaborative programs and themes of the traditional land-grant university system with frontier biomedical and human health sciences.


The IBT was first established as part of the Texas A&M University System with the broad goal to expand biotechnology in the systemTexas A&M System Board of Regents Minute Order Number 245-86, 1986; Higher Education Code, Title 3, Chapter 86, Subchapter D, Section 86.61, 1989). Plans for an institutional campus in Houston came to fruition in 1986 under Mr. David Eller (Chairman of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents) and Dr. Richard Wainerdi (Chairman and CEO of the Texas Medical Center). Dr. Eugene G. Sander, head of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS) was named first director of the institute. The Robert A. Welch Foundation The Welch Foundation Website endowed a $1 million Robert A. Welch Chair in 1990.In 1988 the institute administration was moved from the Texas A&M University System to the Texas A&M University under the leadership of Dr. Charles Arntzen, Vice Chancellor of Agriculture and Dean of COALS. Arntzen secured a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture for $12.5 million and other private donations including one from Texas oilman Albert B. Alkek to build the Albert B. Alkek Institute of Biosciences and Technology Building in the Texas Medical Center at a cost of $21.5 million. The 11-story building stands on the former site of the historic Shamrock Hotel. Under Arntzen’s leadership Centers for Animal Genetics, Advanced Invertebrate Molecular Sciences and Biotechnology Policy and Ethics were established and secured funding for additional chairs. In 1990, he recruited Dr. Robert D. Wells into the Welch Chair as Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics (COALS) and Director of the IBT. Under Wells directorship (1990-1994), Centers for Genome Research, Macromolecular Design, Extracellular Matrix Biology, Crop Biotechnology, Animal Biotechnology, Genome Informatics and Cancer Biology were established. Dr. Fuller W. Bazer was Director from 1994-2001. Under the Bazer administration by agreement between the Texas A&M University President Ray Bowen and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston President Dr. David Low, the University of Texas' Institute of Molecular Medicine for Prevention of Human Disease (Hans Muller-Eberhard, Director)Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for Prevention of Human Disease was established on two floors of the IBT building. During this period similar cooperative efforts between Texas A&M University and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston resulted in acceptance of IBT Texas A&M faculty into the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The building became a hub for the Texas GigaPop and similar high speed, broad bandwidth internet activities of the Texas A&M University’s Academy for Advanced Telecommunications and Distance Learning. In 1997 the IBT became a college level unit of the newly established Texas A&M Health Science Center. Dr. Richard Finnell served as director 2001-2006 under whose leadership the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine (TIGM) was established. Dr. Robert Schwartz is the current director.

Organizational structure

Under its college level status within the Texas A&M Health Science Center, the IBT consists of thematic Centers (departments) led by a Center Director and tenured and tenure-track faculty, research track faculty and associate and adjunct faculty.The approximately $10 million operating budget of the IBT consists of about 30% state funds, 50% federal grants and 20% private sources. Current Centers include Cancer and Stem Cell Biology (formerly Cancer Biology and Nutrition), Environmental and Genetic Medicine, Infectious Disease (formerly Extracellular matrix Biology), Genome Research and Molecular Development and Disease.The IBT Graduate ProgramIBT Graduate Program consists of students from the Texas A&M Health Science Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, other Texas A&M System programs, the The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and other programs in Texas Medical Center institutions in which faculty have joint graduate faculty appointments. Students do research in IBT laboratories while taking formal classroom instruction at other Texas Medical Center institutions.The IBT building hosts the Houston division of the Texas Institute for Genomic MedicineTexas Institute for Genomic Medicine, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designed to pioneer the development of life-changing medical innovation, accelerate the pace of medical discoveries and foster the development of the biotechnology industry in Texas through mouse genetics technologies as well as the Department of Pulmonary Medicine of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer CenterDepartment of Pulmonary Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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