RFA Now Closed: Neurodegeneration Challenge Network Learn more


Mission | Approach | Projects | Team | Questions

Supporting the science and technology that will make it possible to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of this century.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was launched in December 2015 by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician and founder and CEO of The Primary School in East Palo Alto. Our mission is to advance human potential and promote equal opportunity.

We launched our science program in September 2016 with the mission to support the science and technology that will make it possible to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of this century. That doesn’t mean that no one will ever get sick, but it does mean that doctors will be better able to detect and treat illness, so future generations spend less time sick. We believe that collaboration is key to achieving breakthroughs that can help all our communities stay healthy and reach their full potential.

We approach our work in science in three ways:

  1. We support collaborations between scientists and engineers. Important breakthroughs are built on decades of collaboration across disciplines and sectors. We want to make it easier for experts in basic science research, drug discovery and development, government, and medicine to share tools, resources, data, and knowledge with each other. To that end, we are deeply committed to making data openly accessible and collaboratively developing open-source solutions.
  2. We enable tools and technologies. We work closely with the scientific community to support technologies that will scale the efforts of interdisciplinary teams and accelerate science. Our computational biologists and software engineers collaborate on the ground with scientists to identify challenges and build open-source solutions, including tools for analyzing, visualizing, and sharing data that leverage modern advances in machine learning and cloud computing. We also try to find and support experimental technologies and resources that will accelerate and benefit the entire scientific community.
  3. We build support for science. We are working to cultivate a movement to support basic scientific research. That means recruiting more private and public funders, working with policymakers and advocates, and exploring new funding models that are more conducive to collaboration. With government, industry, academia, and the philanthropic community working together, we will win our fight against disease.


Mission | Approach | Projects | Team | Questions

Our approach to supporting projects

Science Team

Our work in science is just beginning, and we have a lot to learn. We believe good ideas can come from anywhere. That’s why we use several mechanisms to support science, including grantmaking, open competitions (Requests for Applications), workshops and hackathons, collaborations among research groups, and collaborations between research groups and our computational biology and research teams. In supporting these efforts, the following policies govern our science work:

  • Intellectual Property Should we build an IP portfolio, or should IP be generated by a CZI-supported investigator or research project, our policy is that the IP should be made freely available for academic and noncommercial use. Where IP is developed together with other organizations, we will promote non-exclusive licensing of technologies so that they have the broadest reach and impact.
  • Data sharing and software We are deeply committed to developing and using platforms that disseminate data openly and freely. We are also committed to releasing software under maximally permissive open-source licenses, and developing software collaboratively in the open through sites like GitHub. We are committed to the long-term sustainability of our projects – when needed, we will explore alternative ways to ensure data access through permanent archives. Also when needed, we will work with regulatory groups to ensure that data requiring protection or controlled access are handled in a controlled and proper way in agreement with national and international standards.
  • Publication We support full publication without conditions or restrictions on academic and publication freedom. We strongly encourage, and in some cases, may require, researchers to deposit manuscripts as preprints before peer review to increase access to research findings and to communicate results more quickly.


Mission | Approach | Projects | Team | Questions

Initial projects

We support innovative research models that allow scientists and engineers to make long-term progress on biomedical problems. We use a variety of mechanisms to achieve these goals — we support scientists worldwide through research grants, we fund the creation of powerful tools and resources for all scientists to apply to important questions, and we disseminate tools and support them with engineering infrastructure so results can be communicated effectively between scientists. Our initial investments towards these goals are outlined below:

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub

Human Cell Atlas

Chan Zuckerberg Meta

Knowledge Environments

Neurodegenerative Challenge Network


Mission | Approach | Projects | Team | Questions



Cori Bargmann
President, Science Cori Bargmann, an internationally recognized neurobiologist and geneticist, leads our science work. Dr. Bargmann is also the head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior and the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor at the Rockefeller University in New York. Dr. Bargmann is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She received the 2012 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience and the 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, among many scientific honors. She also co-chaired the National Institutes of Health committee that set goals and strategies for President Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN Initiative). Dr. Bargmann is a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Arne Bakker
Manager, Scientific Meetings and Reviews

Katja Brose
Science Program Officer

Max Brown
Science Fellow

Elizabeth Caley
Chief of Staff, Meta

Nina Cardoza
Manager, Grants and Operations

Andréa Clavijo
Event Planning Associate

Jonah Cool
Science Program Manager

Jeremy Freeman
Director, Computational Biology

Deep Ganguli
Computational Biologist

Sandra Liu Huang
Head of Product and Engineering

Jeff MacGregor
Director, Communications for Science

Marc Malandro
Vice President, Operations for Science

Bruce Martin
Director of Engineering

Ed McCleskey
Science Program Officer

Sam Molyneux
General Manager, Meta

Kevin Moses
Science Program Officer

Meagan Mnich
Executive Assistant

Tania Simoncelli
Director, Policy for Science

Nicholas Sofroniew
Computational Biologist

James Wang
Director of Engineering

Science Advisory Board

We can’t do this 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. Members of our Board include:

Tobias Bonhoeffer
Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology

David Haussler
University of California, Santa Cruz

Arthur Levinson

Yuri Milner
DST Global

Shirley Tilghman
Princeton University

Robert Tjian
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California, Berkeley

Harold Varmus
Weill Cornell Medical College

Huda Zoghbi
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Baylor College of Medicine

Mission | Approach | Projects | Team | Questions


For more information about our work in science, please review our frequently asked questions or follow us on Twitter. You can also contact us at For press related questions, please contact To stay updated on funding opportunities, join our mailing list.

Learn more about our mission and our commitment to a better future for our children.

Our Initiatives

Follow the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative