Mar 21, 2024 · 4 min read

CZI Launches AI Advisory Group and Residency Program To Accelerate Development of Virtual Cell Models

Advisors, key hires, and in-house AI residents will inform the organization’s AI strategy, including the development of virtual cell models to advance scientific research.

A single cell on a computer screen.
Illustration depicts a single cell on a computer screen | Courtesy of CZI

Today, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced several key appointments and a new AI residency program to advance the organization’s AI strategy for science, which is focused on building predictive models of healthy and diseased cells. Several AI experts from academia and industry have joined a newly established AI Advisory Group, which will provide guidance to leaders at CZI and across the CZ Biohub Network as these organizations work to enable AI at scale for nonprofit life science research. In addition, CZI is launching an AI residency program to develop foundational AI/ML models and tools that will enable new scientific breakthroughs. Theofanis Karaletsos, a technology leader in AI/ML research and science, has also been hired as CZI’s Head of Artificial Intelligence for Science.

The organization’s newly-formed AI Advisory Group, which is composed of several members from CZI’s Scientific Advisory Board and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Board of Directors, will provide guidance and cross-disciplinary feedback to senior leadership teams at CZI and across the CZ Biohub Network. These advisors have deep expertise in leveraging AI/ML models and methods to advance scientific research:

  • Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. Altman was also recently named to the CZ Biohub Board.
  • Regina Barzilay, Distinguished Professor for AI and Health and AI Faculty Lead at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Barzilay was also recently named to CZI’s Scientific Advisory Board.
  • Reid Hoffman, Partner at Greylock and the Co-Founder of Linkedin. Hoffman joined the CZ Biohub Board in 2016.
  • Emma Lundberg, Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University and Co-Director of the Human Protein Atlas.
  • Joelle Pineau, Associate Professor of Computer Science at McGill University and Vice President of AI Research at Meta. Pineau was also recently named to CZI’s Scientific Advisory Board.
  • Mike Schroepfer, Founder and Partner of Gigascale Capital, Former CTO of Meta. Schroepfer was also recently named to the CZ Biohub Board.

“Bringing these AI leaders and residents on board is an important milestone for our team as we work towards enabling AI/ML at scale to accelerate the pace of scientific research,” said Stephen Quake, Head of Science at CZI. “Their participation will help us build a strong foundation for our AI work as an organization — and accelerate the progress we’re making towards deepening the scientific community’s understanding of human biology at a cellular level.”

Karaletsos will lead CZI’s AI strategy for science, including the organization’s vision to develop virtual cell models, utilizing one of the largest high-performance AI computing systems for nonprofit life science research. He will collaborate with scientific leaders at CZI including Emma Lundberg, a member of CZI’s AI Advisory Group and an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University, to launch an in-house AI Residency Program. The new program coalesces AI/ML leaders from academia to develop AI models and applications that will be openly and widely available to the scientific research community. In collaboration with CZI scientists and engineers, the projects spearheaded by these residents will lay the foundation for virtual cell models that will allow researchers to explore the molecular underpinnings of human health and disease.

“Enabling AI at scale for life science research will pave the way for new biomedical discoveries,” said Theofanis Karaletsos, Head of Artificial Intelligence for Science at CZI. “I’m excited to collaborate with different teams across CZI and the Biohub Network to expand our AI capabilities.”

CZI’s work in science includes grantmaking programs, open-source software development, and close collaboration with its partner institutes at the CZ Biohub Network. The CZ Biohub Network includes the San Francisco, Chicago, and New York Biohubs as well as the Chan Zuckerberg Imaging Institute. CZI also collaborates with institutional partners such as the Kempner Institute for the Study of Natural & Artificial Intelligence at Harvard University. For more information, please visit


About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our local communities. Our mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit

About the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Network
The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Network is a group of nonprofit research institutes that bring together scientists, engineers, and physicians with the goal of pursuing grand scientific challenges on 10- to 15-year time horizons. The CZ Biohub Network focuses on understanding underlying mechanisms of disease and developing new technologies that will lead to actionable diagnostics and effective therapies. To learn more, visit

Press Contact
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Nicki Ghafari

Amazon To Debut CZI-Supported Award-Winning Documentary, "For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign"
CZI Announces Multi-Institutional Collaborations for Developing Technology To Better Understand Cells