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Head of Science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Meets TAU’s Scientific Community

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Prof. Stephen Quake visited Tel Aviv University and talked about science and collaboration.

Prof. Stephen Quake, the head of science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, visited Tel Aviv University recently and met with its leading scientists.

CZI, which was founded by Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan in 2015, is looking to diversify and expand its scientific grant programs, and Quake’s visit was an important step in building cooperation between the Intitative’s and the University’s science communities.

 

“Mark and Priscilla’s goal is to cure, manage or treat all human disease over the course of the century.” 

 

“Mark and Priscilla have decided to give their entire fortune away in their lifetime. Their goal is to achieve a lot … and in science it is to cure, manage or treat all human disease over the course of the century—to try to stimulate the global research community to do it,” said Quake upon being interviewed on Tel Aviv University’s podcast channel, TAU Unbound.

To achieve that, Quake said, CZI’s decision has been “to focus on basic science for a couple of decades—that’s where we think transformative breakthroughs will come from.”

 

 

Currently, CZI is funding research through grants in about 30 different countries, including 9 in Israel. Grant support is given in five broad areas: cell biology, neuroscience, imaging, rare diseases and genome science, and open science, explained Quake.

Another way CZI is catalyzing breakthroughs is by establishing bio-hubs—institutes that partner with “great universities” to take on “a big decade-long problem that they wouldn’t do on their own, be a nexus for driving that collaboration.” For now, CZI has two institutes based in the US, but may consider opening an international bio-hub in the future. “Nobody has all the answers themselves, science goes faster when you share knowledge,” said Quake replying to a question about why international collaboration is important. In the podcast, he also outlined the procedure and criteria for CZI’s grant-giving.

Besides speaking on the podcast, Prof. Quake and the CZI delegation met with a group of TAU’s leading scientists headed by Prof. Dan Peer, TAU’s VP of Research& Development, as well as with the University’s President Prof. Ariel Porat, and the VP for Resource Development, Amos Elad.

“TAU is looking forward to expanding collaboration with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which is an amazing organization with the potential to do great things for humanity,” said President Ariel Porat. 

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