- A $10 million grant from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan is paving way to launch a new research institute at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) focused on medicine and Big Data.
- UCSF pediatrician and computer scientist Atul Butte will head the Institute for Computational Health Sciences (ICHS), which will commingle EHR data across all five UC medical centers to identify patterns and improve quality care, according to an announcement from the university.
- The gift will go toward faculty recruitment at ICHS and development of a knowledge network for precision medicine.
Butte is also pursuing a research approach that he calls “data recycling.” Instead of recruiting new groups of patients and collecting new data for clinical research, he maintains scouring existing, publicly available data can yield valuable insights and speed drug development.
The $10 million grant is part of a larger goal announced by Zuckerberg and Chan last fall to commit $3 billion over the next decade to create digital tools to speed research on diseases. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the couple’s for-profit philanthropic arm, initially devoted $600 million to create a research lab in San Francisco where scientists and engineers can work together to prevent and cure diseases.
The couple say their goal is to eradicate disease worldwide by the end of the century.
In 2014, Zuckerberg and Chan donated $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.