Padova and its research area
The idea to create the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) was prompted by the rapid and profound evolution of research in biology and medicine. This can be traced back to dramatic advancements in related disciplines, of which molecular biology has been the most important.
The most significant consequence of this evolution has been the possibility of rapidly transferring the results of basic research to the clinic. To facilitate this transfer — that is now commonly defined as “translational research” — it is essential to operate in a structure devoted to establish a close collaboration between basic and clinical research.
This permits the continuous interchange of ideas between the two components, and eventually fosters the development of research lines capable of piloting research towards clinical objectives in real time. A corollary of these ideas, that ultimately led to the creation of the VIMM, has been the awareness that the best way to maintain an optimal level of bedside assistance, and even to improve it along the lines of the modern frontiers in medicine, is an active role for physicians in research.
Considering all this, and supported by the existence in Padova of an environment of high-level biological and clinical research such as the University-Hospital complex, we felt morally obliged to invest time and energy to bring into being a structure capable of responding to the modern requests of biomedical research. As is well known, however, creating something new based solely on the support of public institutions in Italy is, at best, very difficult.
Our efforts were thus directed towards the identification of private sources of support. We had the good fortune of working in the north-east of Italy and this has been the most important factor in giving substance to our hopes, since it gave us a dual advantage: the possibility of raising substantial resources from a private sector that is avant-garde in Italy and, most importantly, a sector that is mentally open to the social and economic aspects of innovative enterprises.
Based on all these factors, our initiative was crowned with the creation of the Foundation of Advanced Biomedical Research which has attracted contributions from industrialists and banks of the Veneto Region, from the City and the Province of Padova, and from the Regione Veneto. The Foundation operates in close collaboration with the University of Padova and the Hospital, an example of successful integration between the private and the public sector. The Foundation has brought to life the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM), which is a structure of translational research with over 3000 square meters, where over 100 basic and clinical scientists currently operate in close day-to-day collaboration. Their interaction is fostered by meetings, seminars, and informal discussions which generate ideas for new research lines, for the better integration of those already in progress, while having in mind the final goal of applying results to the clinic: it is indeed an institute whose motto could well be “From bench to bed”.