The institute was established in 1951 at the initiative of Carl B. Semb, Professor of Surgery, and was made possible through a donation from shipowner Anders Jahre. Their idea was to create an environment that promoted research in collaboration with the clinical departments at Ullevål Hospital. The connections to the hospital’s Department of Surgery have always been strong.
In the beginning, the Institute was located in the attic of the Surgical building at Ullevål hospital. After reconstructions in 1958 and 2009-10, the facilities now constitute total 1800 m2 of the 4th and the 5th floor of the Surgical building (Building 7).
Professor Fredrik Kiil was head of institute from 1961 to 1991. He developed the first extensively used artificial kidney and established renal physiology as the major research area at the Institute. Ole M. Sejersted was appointed Professor and Head of Institute in 1991. Since then, renal physiology ceased to be an area of investigation, and the focus shifted to cardiovascular research. In June 2017 Sejersted retired, and Professor Ivar Sjaastad succeeded Sejersted as Head of Institute. In recent years, the institute has taken a translational approach to cardiovascular disease, pursuing both basic research and clinical studies on disease mechanisms. In 2017 the institute became the host for a KG Jebsen center for medical research, which points to the excellent translational research performed at the institute.
In 2022 Mathis Korseberg Stokke took over as Head of Institute at IEMR. In the 2023, the Institute launched an updated research strategy.
The Institute is a part of the Division of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases (HLK) at Oslo university hospital, and the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo. The institute has six research groups, and one associated group, all focusing on cardiovascular research. The institute also hosts four regional technological core facilities, serving the regional and national research community.
The Institute is funded by Oslo University Hospital, the University of Oslo, private and public charities and foundations, the Research Council of Norway, Regional Health authorities, EU, and other public sources.