World Bulletin / News Desk
A medical research initiative launched by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, announced Wednesday it it would give $50 million to 47 scientists.
This first cohort of researchers, all of whom are dedicated to finding cures to an array of diseases, will be the first of many.
The non-profit Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (CZ Biohub) selected researchers from a ring of San Francisco Bay Area institutions, including the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Stanford University. More than 700 faculty members applied to receive as much as $1.5 million in research funding over the next five years.
“CZ Biohub Investigators share our vision of a planet without disease,” Joseph DeRisi, co-president of CZ Biohub and professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF, said in a statement. “To realize this vision, we are giving some of the world’s most creative and brilliant researchers access to groundbreaking technology and the freedom to pursue high-risk research. CZ Biohub Investigators will challenge traditional thinking in pursuit of radical discoveries that will make even the most stubborn and deadly diseases treatable.”
The backgrounds of the selected researchers vary greatly. One Stanford scientist, Adam De la Zerda, plans to image 100 million cells to better delineate the edges of cancerous tumors.
Bryan Greenhouse of UCSF is studying how malaria is transmitted, and Michel Maharbiz of UC Berkeley is creating extremely small technologies that can be threaded into the human body.
“The 47 CZ Biohub Investigators we’re introducing today are quite literally inventing the future of life science research,” said Stephen Quake, co-president of CZ Biohub and professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Stanford.
The Biohub should not be confused with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a limited liability company the couple set up in 2015 to help advance “human potential,” according to the organization’s mission.
The project, which was first announced more than two-and-a-half years ago, would be the biggest private investment in western Ireland.
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