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SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The University of California, San Francisco, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, said they will join forces in a new biomedical science research center funded by a 600 million U.S. dollars commitment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, an independent collaboration among three of the leading research universities in the United States, is part of the

Chan Zuckerberg Science (CZS) program announced on Wednesday by Priscilla Chan and her husband Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer (CEO) of Facebook, Inc., at an event in San Francisco.

The couple pledged on the occasion a total of 3 billion dollars for the CZS over the next 10 years to help cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the 21st century. In December 2015, they launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, or CZI, as a philanthropic organization for the birth of their daughter, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg.

While UCSF, Stanford and UC Berkeley are all located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Biohub will be headquartered next to UCSF's Mission Bay campus in San Francisco, with a satellite site at Stanford.

"The Biohub will be the sinew that ties together these three institutions in the Bay Area like never before," said Dr. Stephen Quake, Stanford professor of bioengineering and of applied physics, who will co-lead the Biohub with Dr. Joseph DeRisi, professor and chair of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF.

Calling the new center "an extraordinary opportunity," DeRisi said "we have three great research powerhouses ... and this nexus will forge highly productive partnerships to advance human health."

Jennifer Doudna, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistrya member of the Biohub's Science Advisory Group, said she is "excited to see such a generous and timely investment in fundamental scientific work across the Bay Area."

In initiating the CZS program, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative aims at accelerating basic science research by seeking to support new ways of enabling scientists and engineers to work together to build new tools that will empower the whole scientific community and advance progress.

Former Stanford President John Hennessy, who was instrumental in helping establish the program by working with the CZI on its inception, will serve on the board of the Biohub. "The Biohub capitalizes on the strengths of our Bay Area universities, and also makes a major investment in early-stage research of the type that cannot be readily funded elsewhere," he said. "It is large-scale collaboration at its best, and with tremendous promise for solving the world' s greatest health challenges."

"This exciting new venture by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative brings together private philanthropy with some of the best minds in the world," said Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, in a statement. "Collaboration in the name of science and the public good among the Bay Area's three leading research universities will surely speed the development of new treatments and cures for diseases once deemed intractable." Enditem
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