Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Awards $13.7 Million to Fund New Intercampus Collaborative Research Programs to Advance Human Health

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (CZ Biohub), a nonprofit medical research organization, today announced that it is awarding $13.7 million over three years to support cutting-edge biomedical research from seven teams of scientists, physicians, and engineers, with each team including faculty members from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and Stanford University.

The awards will fund two new programs: the CZ Biohub Microbiome Initiative and the CZ Biohub Intercampus Research Awards.

For the first time, these new awards bring together highly talented investigators from all three campuses to collaborate on promising new approaches to major biomedical problems, said Joe DeRisi, co-president of CZ Biohub. By drawing on the strengths of all three institutions, we believe these teams will accomplish what is now beyond the reach of individual investigators.

CZ Biohub Microbiome Initiative

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Launched as a pilot program earlier this year, the CZ Biohub Microbiome Initiative provides $4 million over three years to carry out research on the community of microbes within the human body that influence many aspects of health, from nutrition and immune function to drug metabolism. The Microbiome Initiative brings together eight leading microbiome experts from all three campuses based on their highly complementary and synergistic research interests.

CZ Biohub Intercampus Research Awards

Assembling the Microbiome Initiative team inspired CZ Biohub to create the Intercampus Research Awards. The new competitive awards program promotes collaborative research by bringing together clinicians, biologists, chemists, data scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and bioethicists in teams that each include faculty members from all three campuses. The competition drew applications from 83 teams. CZ Biohub initially planned to support three teams but was inspired to increase the number of awards to six, providing $9.7 million over three years.

This new collaborative team-based funding allows investigators across the three campuses to tackle demanding problems to enhance health, said Steve Quake, co-president of CZ Biohub. These research teams will shed new light on a diverse and challenging set of questions that will advance our understanding while developing technologies that open fresh avenues of research.

Statement from Priscilla Chan & Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founders, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

We launched the Biohub to bring together some of the brightest scientific minds in the Bay Area with world-class engineering teams, in order to help accelerate the pace of discovery and make faster progress in the fight against disease. Just two years after its launch, it is incredible to see how the Biohub has helped spark promising new collaborations, tools, and research to enable and empower the entire scientific community. Breakthroughs occur when researchers work together, within and across disciplines. By creating even more opportunities to do so through these two new programs, we believe well get closer to our goal of curing, preventing, or managing all disease by the end of the century, said Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founders of The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Statements from Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCSF

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said, We are thrilled by the extent to which these awards honor and support the notion that our most pressing challenges can only be surmounted by transcending the lines that have too long divided academic disciplines, departments and even institutions. The awards will also help support our efforts to extend the reach of world-class, fundamental research through initiatives that can speed the translation of discoveries into inventions and services for the benefit of all.”

UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood said, With its unique model of multi-institutional collaboration, the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub has become a keystone of the Bay Area ecosystem of innovation. The new research awards program and the Microbiome Initiative further strengthen the scientific and technological bonds Biohub has already forged among UCSF, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. We look forward to working with our partner institutions on these exciting new projects to advance knowledge and human health.

Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said, “I am excited that the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub has chosen to fund innovative, high-risk research with great potential for enhancing our understanding of human health. By supporting teams that are collaborating across disciplines and across our three institutions, the Biohub will enable scientific breakthroughs that increasingly require insights from multiple disciplines and perspectives.”

About the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub

The CZ Biohub is an independent non-profit medical research organization collaborating with Stanford, University of California, Berkeley and University of California, San Francisco to harness the power of science, technology and human capacity to cure, prevent or manage all disease during our childrens lifetime. For more information about the CZ Biohub, visit https://czbiohub.org.

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