Zuckerberg’s non-profit invests $50 million into researching deadly diseases

C Flanigan | FilmMagic| Getty Images

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, the non-profit medical research organization launched by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his paediatrician wife Priscilla Chan, has selected the first wave of applicants to receive funding for their research into deadly diseases.

The organization announced Wednesday an initial investment of $50 million which will support 47 researchers from Berkley, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Stanford in their studies into life sciences.

The successful applicants, a mix of scientists, technologists and engineers who were selected from a pool of more than 700, will each receive up to $1.5 million of "unrestricted" funding over the course of five years as part of the Biohub's Investigator Program.

The program forms part of a $600 million Biohub initiative, which brings together researchers from the three Bay Area universities and aims to promote collaboration on medical research projects.

It is part of a wider initiative laid out by the couple in September to invest $3 billion over the next 10 years in a bid to "cure, prevent and manage" all diseases. The pledge is one of the largest charitable projects and is hosted under the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a limited liability company which aims to advance human potential.

The group of researchers includes 22 junior investigators, 25 senior investigators, 21 women and 26 men. Their projects will leverage the latest technologies to assist in their aims which range from developing cures for infectious diseases to understanding abnormal neural activity and improving patient care.

According to the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub's website, funding will give the researchers "freedom to pursue their riskiest, most exciting ideas."

"Many of these high-risk projects will involve the invention of new tools and new techniques that accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and help the CZ Biohub realize its vision of curing, preventing or managing every disease in our children's lifetime."