The iHuman Institute at ShanghaiTech University was founded in late 2012 by Professors Raymond Stevens and Zhi-Jie Liu (ShanghaiTech was officially founded September 30th, 2013).The original and current goal of the institute is to image the human body at the molecular, cellular, and organ scale in order to build an atomic resolution model of the integrated human body for improving our understanding of disease and developing new medicines. With the tremendous accumulation of scientific data occurring throughout the world, we view the current most important need is in the integration of data which will require innovative and novel approaches.
After completing an analysis of organizational structures of other research institutes around the world (e.g. Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom, Bell Labs, Xerox Parc, Google, and Janelia Farm in the United States), iHuman leadership decided on an institute model of 20 different faculty research laboratories with 10 researchers each, surrounded by strong research cores.An important aspect of the model was a commitment from the University for no requirement or need for faculty to apply for grants so that faculty could focus on innovative science and mentoring versus constant writing and reporting on grants that occurs for most researchers today. Each research laboratory contains 10 members who actively collaborates with at least three other laboratories within iHuman to form our cohesive network all building toward a shared objective of developing the atomic structure of the human body. Each faculty member has a 5-year commitment with an evaluation of each lab in the 4th year of each cycle.