CZI | How We Support Science

Is it possible to cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of this century? We think so. In the last 100 years, biomedical science has made tremendous strides in understanding biological systems, advancing human health, and treating disease, but much more can be achieved in the years to come.

We build open source software tools and leverage artificial intelligence to accelerate the pace of biomedicine. We fund scientific research worldwide to advance the frontiers of knowledge. And we launched a family of institutes to do research that can’t be done in conventional environments. Each aspect is essential to our approach to building for the long term.

Many circles and dots of neon green, purple and blue scattered on a black background.
Liver intravital microscopy of mice used as a model to understand and treat metabolic diseases. | Photograph by Gustavo Menezes.
Liver intravital microscopy of mice used as a model to understand and treat metabolic diseases. | Photograph by Gustavo Menezes.

Building the Future of Science

Our vision is to build the future of science by advancing biomedical research and leveraging advances in AI. Over the next 10 years, we’re working to understand the mysteries of the cell and how cells interact within systems, which we believe will lead to discoveries that will change medicine in the decades that follow. We’ll use emerging tools, methods and models to make new discoveries and spur the translation of basic science into groundbreaking treatments and therapies.
We believe that:
  • Transformative medicine is most often derived from discoveries in basic science.

  • Understanding disease reveals fundamental human biology.

  • Technological advances are revolutionizing our understanding of how cells function in health and disease.

  • Fundamental questions in human biology often have a line of sight to medical applications, and understanding cells is important in answering those questions.


Our Solutions for Scientists

We aim to help make every scientist a better scientist by building open source software tools and models to accelerate the pace of biomedicine. We collaborate closely with researchers to better understand their challenges and develop solutions that will help deepen our understanding of human health and disease at a cellular level.

Learn more about how we’re leveraging AI to build virtual cells that can predict the behavior of healthy and diseased cells.


Our Science Programs

We work in areas where we think there are deeply inspiring problems that are amenable to software innovation. We strive to make a differentiated impact through supporting technology development, interdisciplinary research collaborations, and partnerships. Learn about our work in science.


Our Scientific Institutes

We created new scientific institutes to take on grand scientific challenges in areas such as imaging, cell biology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence while building new technologies and tools to tackle them. Learn more about the science we do.

By funding great science, doing the research that can’t be done in conventional environments, and building hardware and software tools for everyone, we think we can help accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.

Steve Quake, Head of Science, CZI.

CZI is composed of four funding entities: the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC; the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Foundation (a 501(c)(3) private foundation); the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocacy, (a 501(c)(4) organization).

Meet Our Team

Two Science Policy team members discussing approaches to support basic science research at CZI.
September 17, 2018 | Kishore Hari and Anne Claiborne, Science Policy, discussing approaches to support basic science research at CZI. Photograph by An Rong Xu.
UCSF MD/PhD student Elizabeth McCarthy handles patient samples in the COVID-19 testing lab at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.
Spring 2020 | Elizabeth McCarthy, an MD/PhD student at UCSF, handles patient samples. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, more than 100 students and fellows volunteered to work in the COVID-19 testing lab at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. Photograph by Noah Berger, UCSF.
Samantha Scovanner, CZI Science Technology, gives a talk about accelerating science at scale.
August 29, 2018 | Samantha Scovanner, Science Technology, gives a talk about accelerating science at scale. Photograph by Barbara Ries.
August 5, 2022 | Steve Quake, CZI's Head of Science, oversees a shared and comprehensive strategy across all of our science work. Photograph by CZI.
Asifa Akhtar


Asifa Akhtar is the first international female vice president of the biology and medicine section in the Max Planck Society. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, she obtained her doctorate at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, UK, in 1997. She then moved to Germany, where she was a postdoctoral fellow at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Adolf-Butenandt-Institute in Munich from 1998 to 2001. She rejoined the EMBL Heidelberg as a group leader before becoming an investigator at the Max Planck Institute in Freiburg in 2009. Since 2013, she has been a director at the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg. Akhtar was awarded the Early Career European Life Science Organization Award in 2008, EMBO membership in 2013, and the Wilhelm-Feldberg Prize in 2017. She was elected as a member of the National Academy of Science Leopoldina in 2019.

A Pakistani biologist who has made significant contributions to the field of chromosome regulation, Akhtar’s research focus is the study of chromatin and epigenetic mechanisms. Using Drosophila melanogaster as an experimental model, Akhtar investigates how dosage compensation acts in regulation of the X chromosome. Studies have also focused on how the nuclear RNA helicase, DHX9, protects the genome from deleterious effects of transposon insertion. More recently, Akhtar has investigated how transcription fidelity is affected by changes in the nucleosome landscape.


Cori Bargmann


Cori Bargmann, a neurobiologist and geneticist, is distinguished fellow and head of science emerita at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and is also the Torsten N. Wiesel professor at The Rockefeller University. Her research on the relationships between genes, motivational states and behavior has been recognized by membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, among other honors. Prior to joining CZI, Bargmann served as co-chair with Bill Newsome of the National Institutes of Health working group that planned the BRAIN Initiative, and was an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Regina Barzilay


Regina Barzilay is a school of engineering distinguished professor of AI and health in the Department of Computer Science and the AI faculty lead at MIT Jameel Clinic. She develops machine learning methods for drug discovery and clinical AI. In the past, she worked on natural language processing. Her research has been recognized with the MacArthur Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Career Award, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Benefit of Humanity. Regina is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Michael Fischbach


Michael Fischbach is an associate professor in the departments of bioengineering and microbiology and immunology at Stanford University, an institute scholar of Stanford ChEM-H, and the director of the Stanford Microbiome Therapies Initiative. Fischbach is a recipient of the NIH Director's Pioneer and New Innovator Awards, an HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholars Award, a fellowship for science and engineering from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, a Medical Research Award from the W.M. Keck Foundation, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award, and a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging. His laboratory uses a combination of genomics and chemistry to identify and characterize small molecules from microbes, with an emphasis on the human microbiome. Fischbach received his Ph.D. as a John and Fannie Hertz foundation fellow in chemistry from Harvard in 2007, where he studied the role of iron acquisition in bacterial pathogenesis and the biosynthesis of antibiotics. After two years as an independent fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, Fischbach joined the faculty at UCSF, where he founded his lab before moving to Stanford in 2017. Fischbach is a co-founder and director of Federation Bio and Viralogic, a co-founder of Revolution Medicines, a member of the scientific advisory boards of NGM Biopharmaceuticals and Zymergen, and an innovation partner at The Column Group.


Helen H. Hobbs


Dr. Helen H. Hobbs is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a professor of internal medicine and molecular genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Stanford University prior to attending Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. After completing an internship in internal medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, she moved to Dallas, Texas, where she finished her clinical training and served as chief resident in internal medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Drs. Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein before joining the faculty of UT Southwestern in 1987. She is director of the McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development, which serves as the Center for Human Genetics at UT Southwestern. She established the Dallas Heart Study, a longitudinal, multiethnic, population-based study of Dallas County, which is now supported by the Hoffman Family Center in Genetics and Epidemiology, and by the National Center for Advancing Translational Science. Her work focuses on defining the genetic determinants of plasma lipid levels and cardiovascular risk. Most recently, she has identified genetic variations that confer susceptibility to fatty liver disease.


Yuri Milner


Yuri Milner founded Group in 1999, which became one of Europe’s leading internet companies under his leadership. He took that business public in 2010 and founded DST Global to focus on global internet investments. DST Global became one of the world’s leading technology investors. Its portfolio has included some of the world's most prominent internet companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Airbnb, Spotify, Alibaba, and others. Milner lives in Silicon Valley with his family.

Milner graduated in 1985 with an advanced degree in theoretical physics and subsequently conducted research in quantum field theory. He and his wife Julia, partnered with Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Pony Ma, and Anne Wojcicki to fund the Breakthrough Prizes — the world’s largest scientific awards, honoring important, primarily recent, achievements in fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics. In July 2015, together with Stephen Hawking, Milner launched the $100 million Breakthrough Listen initiative to reinvigorate the search for extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe. In April 2016, they launched Breakthrough Starshot — a $100 million research and engineering program seeking to develop a technology for interstellar travel.

Joelle Pineau


Joelle Pineau is the vice president of AI research at Meta, supporting labs across North America and Europe. She is also a faculty member at Mila and a professor and William Dawson scholar at the school of computer science at McGill University, where she co-directs the Reasoning and Learning Lab.

She holds a bachelor’s in engineering from the University of Waterloo, and a master’s and Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. Pineau's research focuses on developing new models and algorithms for planning and learning in complex partially observable domains. She also works on applying these algorithms to complex problems in robotics, healthcare, games and conversational agents. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research and the Journal of Machine Learning Research and is the former president of the International Machine Learning Society. She is a 2018 recipient of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, a senior fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists by the Royal Society of Canada; and a 2019 recipient of the Governor General's Innovation Awards.

Jonathan Weissman


Jonathan S. Weissman is the Landon T. Clay professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member of the Whitehead Institute, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. From 1996 to 2020, he was a faculty member in the department of cellular molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco. Weissman investigates how proteins fold into their correct shape and how misfolding impacts disease and normal physiology while building innovative tools for exploring the organizational principles of biological systems. His team also develops experimental and analytical approaches for exploring the organizational principles of biological systems and globally monitoring protein translation through ribosome profiling. His work aims to bridge large-scale approaches and in-depth mechanistic investigations to reveal the information encoded within genomes. Weissman has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 2009.

He earned his bachelor’s in physics from Harvard College in 1988 and his Ph.D. in physics from MIT in 1993, working with Peter Kim. There, he started his studies on protein folding by examining Bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University from 1993-1996, where he worked with Arthur Horwich studying the mechanism of GroEL.


Leadership Team

Steve Quake, Head of Science, CZI.
Steve Quake Head of Science
Marc Malandro Chief Operating Officer
Patricia Brennan, Vice President of Science Technology, CZI.
Patricia Brennan Vice President of Science Technology
Arne Bakker, Director of Meetings and Community, CZI.
Arne Bakker Director of Meetings and Community
Katja Brose, Senior Science Program Officer, CZI.
Katja Brose Senior Science Program Officer
Nina Cardoza, Director of Grants and Operations, CZI.
Nina Cardoza Director of Grants and Operations
Ambrose Carr, Director of Product Management, Single-Cell Biology, CZI.
Ambrose Carr Director of Product Management, Cell Science
Anne Claiborne, Director of Strategic Operations and Policy, Science in Society, CZI.
Anne Claiborne Director of Strategic Operations and Policy, Science in Society
Bil Clemons, Science Program Officer, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Science
Bil Clemons Science Program Officer, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Science
Jonah Cool, Program Officer, Single-Cell Biology, CZI.
Jonah Cool Program Officer,
Cell Science
Leah Duran, Director of Communications, CZI.
Leah Duran Director of Communications
Kirsty Ewing Director, Product Design and User Experience Research, Science
Scott Fraser, Vice President of Science Grant Programs, CZI.
Scott Fraser Vice President of Science Grant Programs
Theofanis Karaletsos Head of Artificial Intelligence for Science
Justin Kiggins, Group Product Manager, CZI.
Justin Kiggins Group Product Manager
Julia Klebanov, Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, CZI.
Julia Klebanov Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
Stephani Otte, Program Officer, Imaging, CZI.
Stephani Otte Program Officer, Imaging
Samantha Scovanner, Director of Product Management, Infectious Disease & Patient-Driven Research, CZI.
Samantha Scovanner Director of Product Management, Infectious Disease & Patient-Driven Research
Tania Simoncelli, Vice President of Science in Society, CZI.
Tania Simoncelli Vice President of Science in Society
Dario Taraborelli, Program Officer, Open Science, CZI.
Dario Taraborelli Program Officer, Open Science
Marc Valer Director of Product Management

Advisory Board

We can’t accelerate science alone. Our science advisory board informs our priorities and allows us to draw on a wide range of expertise as we shape our strategy, establish partnerships, and develop scientific projects.

Asifa Akhtar, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, CZI Science Advisory Board
Cori Bargmann, The Rockefeller University, CZI Science Advisory Board
Michael Fischbach, Stanford University, CZI Science Advisory Board
Michael Fischbach STANFORD UNIVERSITY Read Bio
Helen H. Hobbs, UT Southwestern Medical Center, CZI Science Advisory Board
Yuri Milner, DST Global and Breakthrough Prize Foundation, CZI Science Advisory Board
Joelle Pineau META Read Bio
Jonathan Weissman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CZI Science Advisory Board
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