Facebook Founder Commits $3 Billion to Fight Disease

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of the social media website, Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have pledged to invest $3 billion over the next decade in an initiative for curing, preventing, or managing all disease by the end of this century. The couple has formed the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to facilitate collaboration between engineers and scientists toward this end.

“Today, just four kinds of diseases cause the majority of deaths. We can make progress on all of them with the right technology,” Zuckerberg said in a statement posted on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Facebook page.

“Throughout history, most scientific breakthroughs have been preceded by the invention of new tools to help us see problems in new ways—like the telescope, the microscope, and DNA sequencing. It’s not hard to imagine the modern tools required to accelerate breakthroughs in today’s four major disease areas. So we’re going to focus on bringing scientists and engineers together to build these new tools and technologies,” he stated.

Cori Bargmann, PhD, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and an expert neuroscientist and geneticist, has joined the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to lead it.

The first project for the initiative is to create a biohub. Zuckerberg said they will be investing $600 million in a new research hub to bring scientists and engineers together from Stanford University, University of California,  San Francisco, and the University of California, Berkeley, and the engineering team being built at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, in order to build some of the new tools needed. The biohub will be based in San Francisco.

Two initial projects for the biohub will be a mapping initiative, which will develop a map of cells controlling the body’s major organs, and an infectious disease initiative, which will develop new tools, tests, vaccines, and strategies for fighting infectious diseases.

Source: Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

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