Chan Zuckerberg Initiative awards genomics grant to Mount Sinai, UC Berkeley researchers

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative awarded a grant to develop genomic analysis tools to a team of researchers from New York City-based Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and UC Berkeley, Mount Sinai announced April 19.

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, MD, a pediatrician, launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2015 with the mission to cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century. The company recently rolled out 85 grants totaling $15 million in funding to build tools for the Human Cell Atlas, a global effort to map each cell in the human body as a research resource.

Under the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's grant, a research team led by Uri Laserson, PhD, assistant professor in the Icahn School of Medicine's genetics and genomics sciences department, will develop cloud-based software to analyze massive amounts of molecular and imaging data generated by the Human Cell Atlas. The proposal is based on principles of distributed computing, in which large-scale datasets are loaded onto internal memory boards across a cluster of computers.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative emphasized software created under the 85 grants will be licensed with an open-source license.

"Working together and with our team of scientists and engineers, these partners will create new ways for scientists to use information about healthy and diseased cells," Dr. Chan said in an April 19 statement. "Their efforts will help to accelerate progress toward our goal of curing, preventing or managing all diseases by the end of the century."

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