The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced March 2 the launch of a new biomedical research hub in Chicago that will bring together the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with the goal of solving grand challenges in science on a 10- to 15-year time horizon.
The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Chicago will build upon the successes of the first Chan Zuckerberg Biohub in San Francisco, and it is the first to expand the CZ Biohub Network out of California. The CZ Biohub Network is a groundbreaking collaborative model for scientific research with leading research institutions in different regions.
Members of the CZ Biohub Network will partner to advance science and develop technologies that help understand how cells and tissues function, and that increase our understanding of human health and disease.
“We are excited to scale this successful model of collaborative science into a larger network by welcoming the new Chan Zuckerberg Biohub in Chicago,” said CZI co-founder and co-CEO Priscilla Chan. “This institute will embark on science to embed miniaturized sensors into tissues that will allow us to understand how healthy and diseased tissues function in unprecedented detail. This might feel like science fiction today, but we think it’s realistic to achieve huge progress in the next 10 years. I look forward to the advances in science and technology that this new Biohub will spur in studying how tissues function to understand what goes wrong in disease and how to fix it.”
CZ Biohub Chicago will focus on engineering technologies to make precise, molecular-level measurements of biological processes within human tissues, with an ultimate goal of understanding and treating the inflammatory states that underlie many diseases.
“The Chicago Biohub will create technologies that will transform our understanding of tissue-scale biology, revealing important information about the processes that take place in living tissues that could lead to new therapies,” said CZI co-founder and co-CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “This immense scientific challenge requires bringing together researchers and technologists in new ways to accomplish great science that isn’t done in conventional environments. The powerful collaborative model of the San Francisco Biohub has shown us that cross-disciplinary science leads to breakthroughs, and this integrated research model is a key part of how we’ll move towards curing, preventing, or managing all disease by the end of the century.”
The CZ Chicago Biohub will differ from the traditional academic research funding model; instead of solely splitting funding across faculty labs at different universities, it will create a new shared laboratory space in Chicago that will bring together staff scientists with expertise from the partner universities. Academic labs will also receive funding for individual faculty-led projects.
“What excites me about the CZ Biohub is not only its unique focus on developing next-generation instrumented tissue, but also the strength of the partnership among the three universities it convenes,” said University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos. “Partnership enriches our shared work immensely and advances discovery on the type of scale that no individual institution could achieve alone. Securing this opportunity reflects the fact that Chicago is a world-class force in biomedical research.”