History of the Institute of Zoology and Biomedical Research

The history of zoology at the Jagiellonian University dates back to 1780, when the Chair in Natural History was founded by Hugo Kołłątaj. Zoology started to be taught as a separate discipline in 1791 by decision of the Commission of National Education. In 1850 the Chair in Zoology with comparative anatomy was founded.

However, the true "era" of zoology at the JU begun as late as in the 1863, when Maksymilian Siła-Nowicki became the head of the Chair in Zoology with Comparative Anatomy. After about a dozen years he created the Krakow school of zoology: an internationally renowned school of thought specializing in faunistics. 

In 1892 the Chair was divided into the Chair in Zoology with the Zoological Laboratory and the Chair in Comparative Anatomy. Another unit, the Chair in Anthropology was founded in 1908. In the 1950s two new chairs were created: in Evolutionism and Animal Genetics and in Animal Physiology. The period since the late 19th/early 20th century has been the golden age of zoology at the Jagiellonian University, due to the presence of numerous internationally distinguished scholars and pioneering research in many different fields.

Today the Institute consists of 10 departments, 3 institute laboratories, 5 departmental laboratories and the Zoological Museum. It is a versatile academic unit which meets the highest European standards of zoological research.