Osaka University has been active in the study of proteins and enzymes since its foundation in 1931, and it was a long-standing desire of the university authorities to further promote this facet of the university’s activities by establishing a research institute specialized for protein science. In 1955, an official plan was drafted to establish such an institute as a part of Osaka University and submitted to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. The Ministry agreed to open a new laboratory for organic chemistry of proteins and amino acids in the Faculty of Science. The new laboratory was opened in 1956, and Professor Shiro Akabori, who had played a pivotal role in protein research, was appointed as its supervisor.
In the meantime, a strong desire for the establishment of a central institute for protein research with the aim of facilitating close cooperation among researchers from a wide variety of scientific fields had continuously grown among scientists in the relevant fields,. In 1957, the Science Council of Japan urged the Government to consider the foundation of such an institute somewhere in the country. The Government decided to establish a research institute for protein science attached to Osaka University. The Institute for Protein Research (IPR) was thus formally founded on April 1, 1958, as a part of Osaka University, and Professor Shiro Akabori was appointed as its first director. IPR has developed significantly in terms of both scientific activity and infrastructure. In 2016, a new division of Multiscale Integrative Protein Science and two divisions of donated fund research have been founded. Now, the IPR comprises four divisions with 17 laboratories with an attached research center (Research Center for State-of-the-art Functional Protein Analysis) with 6 laboratories, and one division of donated fund research, serving as a joint usage/research institute for the community in the fields of protein and related sciences.