About the Institute
The Institute of Physiology is one of the first institutions of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian Soviet Republic (now called National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Armenia).
It was established by a famous physiologist Leon Orbeli during a turbulent period of the World War II. The Institute had a clear objective of concentrating in one place research efforts that had been conducted over the years at different Armenian universities in physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology fields. Despite its multiple relocations and reorganizations over the past 75 years, the Institute has maintained a fierce dedication to educate the advanced physiology professionals and has been at the forefront of multiple research areas, particularly in the neuroscience field.
Today the OIPH is actively re-establishing its scientific status and collaborative ties. Participation in various grant programs and initiatives allowed to partially renew the experimental and technical base of the Institute, renovate its infrastructure and provided an opportunity to be actively engaged in the utilization of digital technologies in the biomedical research. It strives to strengthen the links between its academic efforts and clinical medicine.
The OIPH research staff has currently 64 FTE, with very well gender balanced team (34 female researchers), out of which 9 are involved in Tissue Engineering research or its coordination, over 40% of the researchers are supported by competitive funds (mostly EU, USA and from local government) and enhanced their scientific skills during a number of short and long-term trainings in EU and US labs.
In the past, the main scientific direction of the OIPH was neurophysiology, specifically the study of integrative, plastic properties of the nervous system, mechanisms of central regulation of the motor and autonomic functions, as well as elaboration of practical recommendations on the basis of data obtained. Two additional areas have emerged during the past decade. It includes toxinology and tissue engineering. These two areas received a significant amount of extramural grant support and yielded multiple active international collaborations. Among them, the ongoing active collaborations with the George Washington University, KU Leuven (distance learning TEMPUS initiative) and Freie Universität Berlin (funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung).
We anticipate that in near future the OIPH team will assuming the stewardship of main components of these and other ongoing programs and will find cross disciplinary links between previous clusters of OIPH excellence in neurophysiology. We expect that existing programs, internationally recognized and well-endowed in terms of resources, will prove an additional incentive that can attract an excellent candidates from younger generation.
Education and Training:
The OIPH being both a research and educational institution currently offers a Master’s Program “Neurophysiology and Toxinology” in a Department of the International Scientific and Educational Center of the RA National Academy of Sciences, opened as a new field of education in 2013. The program spans 4 semesters and adheres to the standardized European system of higher education (Bologna process) and international MS standard practices. These Master students are involved in research activities of the OIPH in the areas of central nervous system physiology, vegetative nervous system physiology, CNS functions compensation physiology, nervous-endocrine correlation, sensory movement integration, smooth muscle physiology, human psychophysiology, toxinology, cell culturing and tissue engineering.
The OIPH traditionally offers a number of doctoral programs leading to PhD degrees in all areas of Physiology, which are a 3-5 year programs implemented in accordance with the degree-awarding nominal list confirmed by Supreme Certifying Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of RA and also adhere to the standardized European system of higher education (Bologna process) and international PhD standard practices. They are organized and administered by the 023 Specialized Council of the Orbeli Institute of Physiology, which is authorized to hold defenses of thesises for doctoral and candidate degrees of sciences, specialty - Human and Animal Physiology - 00.09 /Natural Sciences. The language of instruction is Armenian, but the thesis is could be written in English, Armenian or Russian.
Both OIPH master’s and doctoral programs strive to provide students with solid knowledge of the emerging frontiers in the respective fields and processes, expose them to cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and develop their communication skills (regular Journal Club and Oxford Debates formats). The Tissue Engineering program has been fully embedded within the activities of TEMPUS project ARMAZEG ( KU Leuven, 2014-2017): “Developing tools for lifelong learning in Transcaucasus region: e-Learning” (establishing of the Distance learning Center within the Institute and piloting course in Cell Culturing & Tissue Engineering) and Fulbright Program (GWU, Sep 2017 – Dec 2017) Hands-on Course on Tissue Engineering and currently ongoing biannual Tissue Engineering Practical Course (Sep 2020 – May 2021).
All educational initiatives of the OIPH are structured so that students are exposed to and involved in ongoing research projects, directly contribute to collaborative, interdisciplinary research, gain an understanding of European and US research structures and funding mechanisms, interact with experienced international academics, and acquire academic qualifications through learning-by-doing.