Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician wife Priscilla Chan have launched an ambitious initiative to fight disease across the globe. Called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the plan aims to cure all disease within a generation.
Selling almost 30 million of their Facebook shares, the power couple has raised well over 5 billion dollars to help fund the project.
Biohub’s Investigator program provides grant funding to an interdisciplinary group of scientists with a wide range of research interests.
For the uninitiated, the massive biomedical project will be led by top-notch scientists from Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and UC San Francisco, leaders in their fields who are all part of the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub which is a fully independent nonprofit medical research organization that operates autonomously of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative(CZI). While CZI and CZ Biohub frequently partner on initiatives and programs, they operate independently of one another.
As stated by the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub team, “Our mission is to make fundamental discoveries and to develop new technologies that will enable doctors to cure, prevent or manage all diseases during our children’s lifetime.”
“Along the way, we will work with partners to map every cell in the human body and we will rapidly address emerging health threats.”
The project centers around wireless brain interfaces that can translate thoughts into commands. Tested on primates, the devices can record, stimulate, and disrupt the movement of a monkey in real time.
The device itself could be used to treat people with spinal cord injuries or other illnesses that affect movement.
As per information published in arxiv.org and Nature, this device could be used to treat diseases like epilepsy or Parkinson's acting as a way to stop a seizure or other disruptive motions. The “Wand” device could monitor the brain while simultaneously providing therapy.
The brain device was even able to change the behavior of tested primates automatically. The Wand senses when primates are about to move, reading electrical signals and disrupting movement if needed.
It will be interesting to see if the research team continues to develop this technology and what other applications the Wand technology could have on humanity in the near future.