|9 February 2017|

USA

A team of the world’s leading scientists is to be given unrestricted financial backing to achieve the ultimate goal of curing and preventing all diseases.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative – the creation of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan – exists to ensure this goal is realised. And the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, which brings together Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Berkeley, is the initiative’s first major project aimed at advancing the cause.

Bringing together the brightest scientific minds, the CZ Biohub Investigator Program is funding 47 scientists from across these institutions to collaborate. With unrestricted funding they have the freedom to pursue their riskiest and most exciting ideas.

“Many of these high-risk projects will involve the invention of new tools and new techniques that accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and help the CZ Biohub realize its vision of curing, preventing or managing every disease in our children’s lifetime,” the CZ Biohub website states.

Lucy Shapiro, professor of developmental biology at Stanford, and one of the 47, told Stanford news: “We want to go out there and do innovative work and apply it in a way that no one has ever done before. Now collaborating and meeting regularly with colleagues at UCSF and UC Berkeley cannot help but widen our vision and our ability to do truly breakthrough work.”

Stanford News also revealed that: “One of the requirements for all funded investigators is that they make manuscripts available online through the open access portal BioRxiv ahead of publication in a journal. This step makes data available to other scientists months or even years faster, accelerating the speed of science.