Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) was established in the year 1989 as an autonomous institute under the administrative control of Govt. of Odisha. In 2002, it was taken over by the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India. The Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee dedicated the institute to the nation in July 2003.
Institute of Life Sciences has a broad vision of carrying out high-quality multidisciplinary research in the area of life sciences. The goal is for overall development and betterment of human health, longevity, agriculture and environment. The stated mission of the institution is to work towards upliftment of the human society and generate skilled human resources for future India. These are achieved by undertaking cutting-edge research using state-of-the-art technologies in the fields of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and filaria, viral infections, cancer biology, allergy and auto-immune disorders, genetic disorders, and agricultural productivity. Towards this, the institute has established necessary infrastructure, including research facilities, genomics and proteomics platforms, flow cytometry, imaging facilities, animal house, green-house, plant tissue culture and zebrafish facilities and high performance computing facility etc. with financial support from the Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. of India.
The institute has been highly successful in recruiting faculties with high level of competence in research in fields like cell biology, gene function and regulation, structural biology, immunology, immuno-genomics, auto-immune diseases, plant immunity, plant biotechnology, environmental biotechnology, microbial biotechnology, developmental biology, nano-technology and nano-medicine, computational biology and bioinformatics. Recruitment of 26 highly skilled faculties, about 80% of them with considerable expertise in relevant fields and with practical experience gained from internationally reputed research laboratories outside India, has added vibrancy and vitality to the institute’s research mandate. Nearly 50% of the faculties have been appointed in the last 5 years.
Although the institute has hired faculties from diverse fields, they have quickly amalgamated to form well focused and multidisciplinary research programmes. They have developed synergistic programs, through continuous discussions, peer mentoring and have established collaborations internally and outside the institute, thus placing the institute at highly advantageous position in terms of fulfilling its mandate. The institute has set-up an extension centre at the Ispat General Hospital, Rourkela to promote and facilitate research on infectious diseases. The institute has initiated and is particularly committed to developing Bhubaneswar-Cuttack cluster model for collaborative research involving neighbouring research organizations like NISER, IIT, AIIMS, NRRI, KIIT, RPRC and others.
The faculties of the institute are recognized as Ph.D. guides by Utkal, Manipal and KIIT University for awarding the Ph.D. degree. The world-class faculty and state-of–the-art facilities at ILS have attracted the bright and committed students to the institute which currently has about 100 Ph.D. students and a large number of post-doctoral fellows, fast track as well as women scientists. The institute has a governance system where every faculty is treated as a vertical segment of the institute. The research focus at ILS has been categorized into four themes – infectious diseases, cancer biology, genetic and auto-immune diseases and plant & microbial biotechnology. ILS has grown dynamically with continuous addition of infrastructure including the new R&D building. The second campus of ILS containing faculty and staff houses, a new hostel and science outreach and communication centre.
ILS faculty have attracted significant extramural funding including a unit of excellence in cancer biology. Nine faculty are Ramalingaswami/Ramanujan fellows and 2 are Wellcome trust-DBT intermediate fellows. Three ILS faculties have been awarded prestigious TATA innovation fellowship of DBT. Over the years ILS has produced 80 Ph.D.s, over 450 publications and 27 patents applied. With impressive infrastructure, experienced scientists, students, and a dedicated support staff, ILS looks forward to strengthen its position as a National centre of excellent in the country.