Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today announced that he will3 invest $3 billion over the next 10 years in research to prevent all forms of disease.
The effort will be managed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to which Zuckerberg committed $45 billion of his personal fortune last fall.
The research effort is called Chan Zuckerberg Science, and although it has global ambitions, its core efforts will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area. There, it will develop a "biohub" partnership between the University of California San Francisco, University of California Berkeley, and Stanford university.
Steve Quake, a Stanford professor who will co-direct the biohub, said at a press conference at UCSF today that it will focus on problems that cannot be solved in traditional academic environments or with government funding.
Its first effort will be creating a cell atlas of the human body. "It's amazing that nobody really knows how many different cell types there are in the human body," Quake said. The atlas will provide detailed characteristics for each cell type that could be useful to researchers attempting to identify how cells transmit disease.
Beginning in October, faculty members in any field from the three universities can apply for five-year "investigatorships." Funded by the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, they will allow scientists to pursue their research with fewer requirements than typical government or foundation grants, Quake said.