Zuckerberg, Wife Spearhead $50 Million Effort to Fight Disease

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, launched in SF, will bring the best and brightest minds to Silicon Valley with the goal of making the world a healthier place

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Pricilla Chan, are spearheading a new $50 million effort to fight disease.

Zuckerberg and Chan are blending technology and medicine, hoping to knock out some of the world's deadliest killers. Over the next five years, they'll be bringing the best and brightest minds to Silicon Valley with the goal of making the world a safer and healthier place.

Joe Derisi, who was once Chan's professor, is co-president of the just-launched Chan Zuckerberg Biohub in San Francisco, which at first glance looks like a high-tech toy room. But Derisi, an infectious disease researcher, is tackling life and death problems there.

"Malaria, Zika virus, viral diseases, Ebola, respiratory viruses and others," he explains.

The biohub staff will consist of 47 researchers.

"We're gonna be funding these individuals to do the experiments they never would have tried before because they're just too risky, just too innovative, just too out there," Derisi said.

Armed with tens of millions of dollars, famous backers and the latest in technology, the biohub and other connected labs will do what it takes to make progress, he said.

"It's gonna integrate engineering approaches," Derisi said. "We'll have mechanical engineers, opto-fluidic engineers and a data science team."

Derisi said the researchers at the lab are just as excited about the Zuckerbergs' five-year commitment as they are about the funds.

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