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Betting on brilliance to halt illness Thirteen Berkeley faculty — more than half of them women — along with 34 researchers from UCSF and Stanford have been chosen as the inaugural cohort of Chan Zuckerberg Investigators. Each receives up to $1.5 million for the next five years, with no strings attached, to conduct cutting-edge biomedical research. These awards to foster creative, unconventional exploration are the first individual grants by the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, an independent research organization established last fall by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan. At a ceremony announcing the CZ Biohub,

Markita Landry, assistant professor of

Zuckerberg noted that technological

chemical and biomolecular engineering,

innovation, such as the telescope,

junior investigator:

microscope, or DNA sequencing, has spurred scientific discovery and medical

Fascinated by how molecules perform

progress throughout history. The CZ

precise, intricate tasks, and how physics

Biohub encourages engineers, physicians, and chemistry can illuminate biology, and scientists to collaborate on inventing

Landry draws from the natural world’s

new tools and accelerating the pace of

blueprints to design synthetic, nanoscale

discovery toward curing, preventing, or

sensors. Mimicking proteins or antibodies,

managing all disease.

such sensors could observe a living brain releasing molecules, like the

The Promise of Berkeley highlights three of

neurotransmitter dopamine, that regulate

Berkeley’s extraordinary Chan Zuckerberg

brain chemistry but get disrupted by

Investigators, who illustrate the potential for

psychiatric disorders. By understanding

CZ Biohub to advance its goals through a

the brain’s chemical responses to social

union of science and engineering.

or environmental stimuli, more effective treatments could emerge.

26

The Promise of Berkeley

Promise of Berkeley June 2017  

Promise of Berkeley June 2017

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