The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (CZ Biohub) has announced its first cohort of 47 CZ Biohub Investigators from the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco. This group includes both highly accomplished senior professors as well as up-and-coming young faculty. Each of the CZ Biohub Investigators will receive a five-year appointment and up to $1.5 million in funding to conduct life science research in their respective areas of expertise.
CZ Biohub Investigators were selected from numerous academic departments at the three universities, including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics. An international panel of 60 distinguished scientists and engineers evaluated more than 700 applications.
Bold Vision to Rid World of Disease
“CZ Biohub Investigators share our vision of a planet without disease,” said Joseph DeRisi, co-president of CZ Biohub and professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UC San Francisco. “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 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 CZ Biohub is distinguished by our emphasis on technology and engineering, and our researchers are inventing tools to accelerate science for the good of humanity.”
Commitment to Collaborative, Open Science
As a nonprofit medical research organization, the CZ Biohub is establishing policies to ensure the rapid dissemination of its research results. CZ Biohub Investigators have agreed to make their draft publications widely available through pre-print servers so their findings can inform the work of other researchers and accelerate scientific discovery. By making a collective commitment to sharing their unpublished work, CZ Biohub Investigators are setting a new standard for open science and rapid dissemination of discoveries.
This open approach is an essential component of the CZ Biohub’s collaborative culture, which brings together researchers to solve the world’s biggest health problems. And in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation, the CZ Biohub plans to establish shared technology platforms available to Bay Area scientists to further their research and build momentum for the worldwide fight against disease.
In addition to its Investigator program, the CZ Biohub is pursuing large-scale collaborative projects, including the Infectious Disease Initiative and the Cell Atlas.
Infectious disease outbreaks worldwide have revealed significant weaknesses in how the world fights the spread of disease. Zika virus, SARS, dengue and other emerging pathogens have proven to be extremely difficult problems to solve. And drug-resistant strains of bacteria are making existing treatments less effective.
CZ Biohub scientists and engineers will apply the most advanced technologies to support the global fight against infectious diseases. The CZ Biohub’s work will be clustered around four key areas: new detection technologies, new treatments, new ways to prevent infection, and new approaches to rapid response when new threats emerge.
The Cell Atlas project is helping to build an international collaboration that will map the cell types of the human body. The map will be available to researchers around the world. The Cell Atlas project will help unlock many mysteries of cell biology related to the causes of human disease, potentially leading to new therapies.
The technologies that make the Cell Atlas possible are new, and many of them were developed by scientists now leading the CZ Biohub. Several CZ Biohub Investigators are conducting research aimed at developing additional technologies to further accelerate the creation of the Cell Atlas. Throughout the course of this project, the CZ Biohub will work closely with other institutions around the world.