Mark Zuckerberg’s Research Hub Just Gave 47 Scientists $50 Million to Fight Diseases
The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan’s medical research nonprofit, has a pretty lofty goal: to “cure, prevent, or manage all diseases.” Now, it’s setting off to attempt just that with $50 million in funding for 47 scientists.
The CZ Biohub is a separate but related entity to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which provided the $3 billion that partially funded the hub’s creation in San Francisco. Its primary goal is to bring together scientists in order to create groundbreaking new treatments and technology to tackle all of the scourges which plague the human body — from viral infections to Alzheimer’s and beyond.
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The Biohub is allied with three top-tier medical institutions: UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of California at San Francisco. Hundreds of researchers applied for grants to pursue novel research under the hub’s auspices; ultimately, 47 are receiving cash grants of up to $1.5 million which can be used over the course of the next five years.
There are two major initiatives specifically being explored by the CZ Biohub: the Infectious Disease Initiative, which aims to combat pandemics like the Zika and Ebola outbreaks, and the Cell Atlas, in which scientists will attempt to create a comprehensive biological map of human cells in major organs to better understand diseases.
While the organization’s goal of combating literally all human disease has raised some eyebrows (and a chuckle or two) from skeptics, the group argues that jump starting innovation by providing the proper resources and partnerships could lead to unexpected advances like the revolutionary CRISPR gene-editing tech discovered by scientists such as Berkeley’s Dr. Jennifer Doudna.
Chan and Zuckerberg appear determined to continue doling out their considerable resources in support of their charity and its various outcrops. On Tuesday, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative donated $3 million in order to fight the affordable housing crisis in San Francisco.