The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donates $3 Billion for Disease Research: Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCSF Part of the New Chan Zuckerberg Biohub


In an event last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan announced that their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will invest $3 billion to fund research in the next 10 years towards managing illnesses and finding cures by 2100.

According to Mark, "This is about the future we all want for our children. If there is even a chance we can cure disease in our children's lifetime - our children can live happier, healthier lives - we're going to do our part."

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a limited liability company established by Mark and Priscilla after the birth of their daughter Max to fulfill their promise of giving their wealth away through philanthropy. The goal of the Initiative is "advancing human potential and promoting equality."

"We want to dramatically improve every life in Max's generation and make sure we don't miss a single soul. We'll be investing in basic science research with the goal of curing disease." Dr. Chan said.

According to The New York Times the event was graced with notable personalities such as former secretary of Homeland Security and current president of the University of California Janet Napolitano, Russian investor Yuri Milner and Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco.

Internationally recognized neurologist Cori Bargmann from the Rockefeller University will be appointed as president of the Chan Zuckerberg Science. Bargmann previously worked with the NIH's BRAIN Initiative.

The pilot project of the Chan Zuckerberg Science is the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a partnership with Stanford University, the University of California Berkeley and the University of California San Francisco. The Biohub will provide collaborative research space for scientists and researchers to conduct work with a common goal of discovering new technologies to improve human health.

According to Stanford News, Stanford professor of bioengineering and of applied physics Stephen Quake will co-head the Biohub together with Joseph DeRisi, professor and chair of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF.

The Biohub will receive an initial funding of $600 million for the next 10 years and, according to former Stanford president John Hennessy, "Capitalizes on the strengths of our Bay Area universities, and also makes a major investment in early-stage research of the type that cannot be readily funded elsewhere. It is large-scale collaboration at its best, and with tremendous promise for solving the world's greatest health challenges."

Mr. Hennessy played a great role in ensuring that the project will happen and proceed smoothly. "John ran so hard at this problem to make sure all of the challenges were addressed before his term ended." Zuckerberg said.

Initially, according to Stanford News, the Biohub will have 2 overarching projects: The Cell Atlas and the Infectious Disease Project. The first will be concerned with collecting data and cataloguing all biologically significant characteristics of the different cells in the body while the second one will be dedicated to research on microbial diseases, including emerging threats and pandemics.


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