The Biophysics Institute of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) was created in 1945. Through the efforts of Carlos Chagas Filho, the institutionalization of academic research in a university setting was initiated. This institute undertook the mission of fostering research motivated by intellectual curiosity and directed toward the fundamentals of the biomedical sciences.
Our institute initially specialized in applying physics methods to biological research and, at the teaching level, took responsibility for the classic disciplines of biophysics, physiology, and parasitology. Throughout its history, however, it has become a multidisciplinary institute that houses highly qualified groups at all levels of the analysis of biological phenomena.
This diversity is the great heritage of the IBCCF. The institute’s flexible organizational structure, in the form of academic programs, facilitates its growth in the face of rapid transformations in modern science. Reflecting the openness of the institute, the IBCCF is currently involved in cutting edge research and is pioneering initiatives to modernize undergraduate research and continuing education in collaboration with other entities and centers of the UFRJ.
"...at the university, one teaches because one does research" - Carlos Chagas Filho
The institute annually matriculates more than 5000 undergraduate students, and it has two graduate programs, in biophysics and physiology, that bear the seventh and sixth grades of the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), respectively. They are among the best programs in the country in the areas of biological sciences and health. In 2006, the institute began to coordinate the new bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with a specialization in biophysics, creating a new undergraduate degree that was designed to expand the offerings at the university in the area of professional training programs for still incipient sectors that demand the highest level of scientific quality at the intersection of the biomedical and exact sciences.
Currently, the institution has around 100 masters and 200 doctoral students. Since December of 2008, more than 1200 masters and doctoral theses have been defended by graduate students of the IBCCF. Many of these alumni are now leaders in the biomedical sciences, and they occupy high positions at universities and research institutions within the country and abroad.
In its interactions with society, the IBCCF works with the active Coordination of Extension (CATE); in addition, it participates intensely in the Consortium Center for Distance Education of the state of Rio de Janeiro (CEDERJ).
Scientific research at the IBCCF is of the highest level and growing. The institute’s high scientific standards are recognized and confirmed by the large number of participating researchers from national research fellowship programs, such as the PRONEX, Scientists of Our State, and Young Scientists of Our State, in addition to international programs, such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. The IBCCF is presently the headquarters of the National Institute of Translational Research of the Amazon. It also relies on dozens of participating researchers from other “National Institutes of Science and Technology” who have been a part of the two editions of this program created by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2008. The IBCCF has led diverse, pioneering initiatives in the state of Rio de Janeiro, such as the Proteomics Network, and is a participant in the state networks for genomic sequencing, such as RIOGENE; it is also involved in the national project BRGENE. Numerous scholars from the IBCCF are full members of the Brazilian Academy of Science and the National Academy of Medicine. Furthermore, many of them have been awarded commendations from the National Order of Scientific Merit, which are granted by the Honorable President of the Republic in the area of biological sciences.