by Nikolai KRASNIKOV, Head of Koltsovo Municipal Unit, Novosibirsk Region
The town of Koltsovo is located only 12 km away from the major Siberian center of Novosibirsk.
It has more than 10 thousand residents, a well-developed infrastructure and is bristling with enterprises (more than 160) of various kinds, both state and privately owned.
The history of Koltsovo begins in 1974, when the Soviet Government passed a special decree on the establishment of an All-Union Research Institute of Molecular Biology with the appropriate support facilities. The main objective of the new Center were studies of structural peculiarities and functions of the causal agents, or pathogenes, of some of the most dangerous infections, including their pathogenesis and the gathering of data on the variability of viruses together with the development of the appropriate therapeutic and preventive drugs and diagnostic preparations.
The steadily growing range of activities of the Center prompted its reorganization in 1985 into the VECTOR R&D Amalgamation, which received a federal status in 1994. It includes 6 specialized R&D institutes (of molecular biology, aerobiology, bioengineering, cell structures, biologically active substances and collections of cultures of microorganisms), a WHO Cooperation Center and a nursery for lab animals. Taken together, this represents one of the world's biggest R&D institutions specializing in this field. Its staff of more than 1,300 includes a full and a corresponding member of the RAS, 18 doctors and 153 candidates of sciences.
The past few years have seen a significant expansion of the range of basic studies by the Center scientists. This now covers the structure and functions of genomes of pathogenic viruses, their evolution and disease control and prevention. Theoretical and experimental studies are also under way into the mechanisms of variability of pathogenic viruses and appropriate disease prevention methods.
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