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Attention Bay Area: Chan-Zuckerberg's BIOHUB is Hiring Lots of Scientists

1/30/2017 1:30:22 PM

Attention Bay Area: Chan-Zuckerberg's BIOHUB is Hiring Lots of Scientists February 2, 2017
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

In the fall of 2016, Priscilla Chan, a physician, and her husband, Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg, created the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and they pledged $3 billion towards basic science research over the next 10 years. Their ambitious goal is that by the end of the century, all diseases can be cured, prevented or managed. And they will need many scientists to accomplish this goal.

In September 2016, the Initiative’s first step was announced. Chan and Zuckerberg’s organization pledged $600 million in support of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, an independent research center that will coordinate activities between scientists at University of California San Francisco, UC Berkeley and Stanford University.

The new hub will be located at 499 Illinois Street adjacent to the University of California San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus. It is led by Joe DeRisi of UCSF and Stephen Quake of Stanford.

On January 17, 2017, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative provided an update. In addition to the launch of the Biohub, the Initiative is getting started on the Human Cell Atlas Project. It is described on the Facebook notice: “The idea is to define all of the cell types in the human body, their location, their numbers, their neighbors, and their molecular composition. A big part of this will come from the fast-moving single-cell RNA sequencing field, but there will be other elements like protein composition, metabolomics, in situ sequencing methods and a lot of computational and engineering innovation.”
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A second project that’s getting started is the Infectious Disease Initiative, which will develop tools to eliminate infectious diseases.

And both the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub are hiring! The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative careers page currently lists jobs under Education Initiative, Internships, Operations, Policy and Advocacy, Science Initiative and Technology.

Examples of positions under Science Initiative and Technology include computational biologist, executive assistant for science, applied scientist and software engineer.

The Biohub careers page indicates it is looking for Biohub Group Leaders. They are described as, “independent scientists who direct a small team of researchers whose research aligns with our two major projects—creating a Cell Atlas and developing new technological approaches to curing, preventing or managing infectious disease in our children’s lifetimes. Group leaders come from various careers and career stages, ranging from those who have just completed their postdoc to more senior scientists, including those from industry and faculty positions.”

Biohub provides a list of the type of scientists they are interested in, adding, “All laboratories are internally funded without extramural grants, and scientists and engineers at the Biohub have no formal teaching duties and minimal administrative responsibilities.”

Here’s a list, with brief descriptions, of the types of scientists the Biohub is looking for.

1. Biophysicists. Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that uses the methodology of physics to study biological systems.

2. Genomicists. A genomicist is a scientist that studies the genome. Genomics is the field of molecular biology that focuses on the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genomes.

3. Biologists. A broad term for a scientist that studies living organisms.

4. Chemists. There are numerous kinds of chemists, ranging from physical chemists, organic chemists, biochemists, and materials scientists.

5. Computer scientists. A very broad term, also considered Information Technology, that includes computer programmers, software engineers, and potentially in this context, data scientists.

6. Engineers. Within the context of biopharma and life science research, engineers often work manufacturing drugs, devices and biologics.

7. Mathematicians. Biopharma is increasingly looking for mathematicians, statisticians and data scientists. This is because big data and gene sequencing platforms are generating enormous amounts of biological and genetic data.

8. Physicists. Typically, in biopharma, physicists would be working in the area of biophysics, using physics methodology to study biological systems, or in the data science area.

At the September announcement, the Initiative also indicated the Biohub will offer researchers at the three affiliated universities five-year fellowships to work on ambitious, but risky research ideas that might have problems attaining funding through traditional sources.

In September, Business Insider wrote, “All these initiatives point toward a potentially exciting shift in the way medical scientists can structure their careers in order to get funding for their research. It’s easy to imagine that easing the pressure to ‘publish or perish,’ particularly on young scientists, could spur a boom of Silicon-Valley style innovation in medicine. It’s difficult to imagine anyone objecting to the idea.”

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