Chan-Zuckerberg health project injects $50M into new Biohub scientists

Researchers collaborating at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub in San Francisco

Researchers collaborating at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub in San Francisco Download

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a non-profit medical research organization started by Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg (and not to be confused with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a limited liability corporation to advance human potential) today announced it would be doling out a total of $50 million to its first cohort of disease investigators.

Chan and Zuckerberg added that, in "the spirit of collaboration and cooperation", the CZ Biohub also plans to build up shared technology platforms available to Bay Area scientists, in order "to further their research and build momentum for the worldwide fight against disease".

The institute brings together the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); UC Berkeley; and Stanford University to focus initially on two projects, a cell atlas and infectious diseases. "Our investigators come from these outstanding research institutions, and their faculty will be an integral part of our day-to-day operations here at Biohub". This is part of an even larger $3 billion initiative that the organization has pledged to "cure, prevent and manage" all diseases. In late 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan set up the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a corporation created to "advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy". With Biohub's Investigator Program, the recipients, that consisted of scientists, engineers, and technologists, will receive up to $1.5 million in unrestricted funding over five years.

CZ Biohub Investigators were selected from numerous academic departments at the three universities, including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics. On the contrary, the 47 Biohub researchers will have free rein to explore all sorts of issues, the more ambitious the better.

Joe Derisi, who was once Chan's professor, is co-president of the just-launched Chan Zuckerberg Biohub in San Francisco, which at first glance looks like a high-tech toy room.

"We are conducting research that helps solve big health problems". "No one would have predicted it would be the actual key technology to most of the bold new innovations in healthcare that are coming down the line", Scott said.

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