History

1988 marked the beginning of the Vienna BioCenter. Over more than thirty years, the Vienna BioCenter has developed into the premier location for life sciences in Austria and into one of the leading multi-disciplinary biomedical research centers in Europe.

The grounds where the Vienna BioCenter is located have an interesting history...

From quarantine house to slaughterhouse

In the Middle Ages, pests represented an enormous problem for public health. To prevent the spread of disease, infected people were quarantined and treated in this very area, which at that time was far outside the city. The quarantine house of the Order of Saint Lazarus dedicated a chapel to Saint Marcus, which subsequently gave the hospital and the area its name. Over the centuries, Marc became Marx.

In the 18th century, a meat market developed in the area, but in 1850 it was transformed by another public health measure: the creation of a central slaughterhouse for Vienna.

Turning point: life science cluster

Since 1988, the Vienna BioCenter has been developing into one of the most outstanding and prominent life sciences hubs, not only in Austria but also in the Central European Region. With the founding of the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in 1985, the nucleus for the Vienna BioCenter was established. Very quickly, a University building went up next door and five departments were relocated there. In 1998, Vienna BioCenter spin-off company Intercell (now Valneva) was founded. Subsequently, the Austrian Academy of Sciences founded two new research institutes, IMBA and GMI, situated next to the IMP.

The Vienna BioCenter has continued to rapidly develop and now includes more than 30 complementary players in the life sciences. Since access to state-of-the-art infrastructure has become an important and decisive element for cutting-edge research, the Vienna BioCenter developed a vision for communal use of infrastructure. As a result, in 2010, the new Vienna BioCenter Core Facilities GmbH (VBCF), with a comprehensive range of new technologies, was set up with substantial financial support from the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research and the City of Vienna.

The Vienna BioCenter continues the Viennese tradition of diversity and will strive to continue its impressive development by building on its most prized assets: the ingenuity of its people, by providing them with an attractive work place.

Milestones

2021
©Andreas Buchberger

Vienna BioCenter expands significantly by including the University of Vienna Biology Building, hosting CMESS and parts of the Faculty of Life Sciences.

2020
© Max Perutz Labs

The 2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry is awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for their groundbreaking discoveries on the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Charpentier was a principal investigator at the Max Perutz Labs from 2002 to 2009, where she laid the groundwork for developing the CRISPR/Cas9 technology.

2020
© Max Perutz Labs

Alwin Köhler is appointed new Scientific Director of Max Perutz Labs.

2020
©Max Perutz Labs

The Vienna COVID-19 Detection Initiative (VCDI) launched on campus as an inter-institutional response to the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.

2019

Max F. Perutz Laboratories becomes Max Perutz Labs Vienna

2018

Vienna BioCenter and VBCF launch a new and integrated website.

2018
© IMBA

Juergen Knoblich is appointed interimistic Director after Josef Penninger officially stepped down from his position as Scientific Director at IMBA.

2018
©IMP

Several internationally renowed events are held at Vienna BioCenter, such as Keystone Symposium, Health Pioneers Event 2018, EMBO YIP Meeting 2018.

2017

Arndt von Haeseler becomes director of Max F. Perutz Laboratories (now Max Perutz Labs)

2017
©IMP

Opening Ceremony of the new IMP building by President Van der Bellen and Emmanuelle Charpentier

2016

Founding of the Vienna Doctoral School “Molecules of Life” at MFPL (now Max Perutz Labs)

2016
©VBCF
2015

Relocation of INiTS Business Incubator to Vienna BioCenter

2013
Left to right: Director Josef Penninger, President Heinz Fischer, Margit Fischer, José Carreras © IMBA

10th anniversary of IMBA

2013

Intercell and Vivalis fuse to form Valneva

2013
©IMP

Jan-Michael Peters becomes director of the IMP

2012
©Vienna BioCenter Association

Opening of the Marx Box building

2012

Successful participation of the Vienna BioCenter in the nation-wide “Long Night of Research

2010

Founding of the Vienna BioCenter Core Facilities (VBCF) with public funding from the federal government and City of Vienna

2010

Establishment of Vienna BioCenter Summer School for talented undergraduates

2009
©VBCF

Establishment of the Child Care Center  for campus kids at Vienna BioCenter

2009
© GMI

Magnus Nordborg joins GMI as scientific director

2008
©Vienna BioCenter Association

Completion of the Solaris building (lab and office area of 9,000 m2) and start of construction work of the Marx Box

2008
©IMP

20th anniversary of the IMP celebrated with scientific conference at Hofburg Conference Center

2007
©Vienna BioCenter Association

Start of construction work for laboratory building Vienna BioCenter 3

2007

Graham Warren joins Max F. Perutz Laboratories (now Max Perutz Labs) as director

2006
©IMP

Barry Dickson becomes director of the IMP

2006

Opening of the Vienna Open Lab at IMBA, the first molecular biology hands-on laboratory in Austria offering courses for children and adults

2005

Founding of the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (now  Max Perutz Labs) as joint-venture of the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna

2004
©Andreas Buchberger

Completion of laboratory building Vienna BioCenter 2

2003

Two institutes of the Austrian Academy of Sciences established at Vienna BioCenter:

  • IMBA, with founding director Josef Penninger
  • GMI, with founding director Dieter Schweizer
2002

Founding of University of Applied Sciences in Biotechnology (FH Campus Wien) at Vienna BioCenter

2001

Founding of the Campus Vienna BioCenter Association

2000
© Vienna BioCenter Association

Opening of VBC5 as Vienna Life Science Laboratories

1998
Left to right: Max Birnstiel, Alexander von Gabain, Michael Buschle, Walter Schmidt and Rick Westmoreland ©IMP

Founding of Intercell as a spin-off of the University of Vienna and IMP

1997
©IMP

Kim Nasmyth becomes director of IMP

1997

Founding of the initiative „Gentechnik & Wir“ (now Open Science)

1995

Max Perutz' only ever personal visit to the Vienna BioCenter to open the Max Perutz Library at IMP

1993

Founding of the VBC PhD Programme

1992
©Andreas Buchberger

Relocation of five university departments (now Max Perutz Labs) to the Vienna BioCenter

1988
©IMP

Opening of the IMP with founding director Max Birnstiel