(1858 - 1950)
Malacólogo y zoólogo. Eminente investigador y profesor universitario, discípulo de Felipe Poey. Su extensa obra comprende trabajos de Geología, Paleontología, Zoología, Arqueología e Historia. Su mayor aporte lo realizó en el conocimiento de la fauna fósil cubana.
From 1959 Onwards The Revolutionary Period
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In a few years, and thanks - partially - to huge investment in equipment, CNIC turned out to be the national "center of excellence" for chemical and biological experimental research. In the biological field, special importance was attained by the microorganism genetics and neurophysiology laboratories, from where important working teams and research centers arose in the eighties. Likewise, from the animal health division (director: Rosa E. Simeón) - which played an outstanding role during the epidemics of African swine fever in 1971 (well documented, even by its authors, as a case of biological warfare against Cuba) and 1980 -did an independent center of great magnitude, the National Center for Animal Health, emerge later.

Cooperation between the biochemistry and microorganism genetics laboratories of CNIC accounted for the emergence of the first generation of Cuban molecular geneticists. Regarding chemistry, CNIC developed the procedures needed to obtain polycosanol (known as PPG), a medicament against cholesterol made of sugarcane wax, whose production became a small industrial branch in the country. Furthermore, CNIC carried out some synthesis works, though it focused on chemical analysis. For that purpose, it introduced in Cuba the techniques of mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, atomic absorption, ultracentrifugation, automatic analysis, as well as many others.

In connection was the above, CNIC created repairing and manufacturing workshops and started to develop lab instruments manufacturing. Some of these instruments were true innovations and contributed to notably saving time when conducting certain analyses. Also, some equipment of industrial and medical use was produced. This work line of CENIC was the starting point for creating, in the eighties, an institution specialized in designing and producing clinical diagnosing equipment: the Immunoassay Center .

On September 18-26, 1980 , the Cuba-USSR combined space voyage took place, with the participation of the first Cuban and Latin American astronaut, Arnaldo Tamayo. This flight was preceded by the preparation, in some cases throughout years, of a series of experiments that were conducted during said flight and proposed by Cuban scientists. A great deal of the equipment intended for medical-physiological and chemical-physical studies was even manufactured in Cuba . Some of the experiments designed by Cuban researchers were absolute international exclusives, such as the transmission of holographic images of a crystal growth, from the cosmos to the Earth, which was done in a later flight (March 1981).

Also in 1980, some steps were taken to create important biomedical research institutions, which were encouraged directly by President Fidel Castro and included within a coordinating council named Biological Front (1981); one of their first tasks had to do with obtaining interferon (a group of proteins with antiviral properties). Production of interferon obtained from leucocytes began as early as 1981. In 1982, the Center for Biological Research was created, where they kept on doing this work and started to obtain interferon through genetic engineering, out of the considerable experience gained by the Microorganism Genetics Department of CNIC. On July 1, 1986, the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) was inaugurated, where they kept on doing this and many other pieces of research work, with important results such as - for instance - a recombinant vaccine against hepatitis B, the epidermal growth factor (EGF), which was obtained via recombinant too, such as streptokinase (obtained this way for the first time worldwide), and many other compounds. CIGB meant the highest investment on scientific research ever made in Cuba and combines this aspect and experimental development (even a pilot plant), production of pharmaceuticals and, even, their marketing. It was the first Cuban scientific institution that combined all these functions.

In the same region where CIGB is located, the Scientific Cluster of Western Havana gradually emerged since 1991; this scientific cluster includes, among other institutions, a new Finlay Institute, the Center for Molecular Immunology, and the new Institute of Tropical Medicine . The Finlay Institute is dedicated mostly to obtaining and manufacturing vaccines, such as the outstanding vaccine against meningococcal meningitis B-C, which has been successfully applied both in Cuba and many other countries. The Center for Molecular Immunology, after many years of research (its staff was originally trained in 1970 at the Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology), has produced a set of very efficient monoclonal antibodies to combat different types of malignant tumors (some of its products are distributed even in the United States, despite the economic-commercial blockade that country has imposed upon Cuba). "Pedro Kourí" Institute of Tropical Medicine, the successor of the one created in 1937, was re-founded in 1979 in order to protect the Cuban population from the so-called tropical diseases, cooperate with Third World countries in combating these diseases, and contribute to developing medical sciences in general, particularly microbiology, parasitology, epidemiology, and tropical medicine.