Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan recently announced their plans to help eradicate human diseases by 2100. In a statement, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) – Zuckerberg and Chan’s foundation – announced that they aim to develop a computing system that researchers can use with artificial intelligence (AI) to catalogue cells and predict how they act when diseased. The data could be used to make groundbreaking new discoveries that could help cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of this century, the foundation said.
“AI is creating new opportunities in biomedicine, and building a high-performance computing cluster dedicated to life science research will accelerate progress on important scientific questions about how our cells work,” said CZI Co-founder and Co-CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“Developing digital models capable of predicting all cell types and cell states from the genome will help researchers better understand our cells and how they behave in health and disease,” he added.
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According to the press note, CZI’s aim is to give researchers access to generative AI to study healthy and diseased cells. Using predictive models of human cells can help researchers better understand how the body responds to diseases or new medicines, the company said, adding that it is like running a “virtual cell” through different simulations to see what might happen.
“AI models could predict how an immune cell responds to an infection, what happens at the cellular level when a child is born with a rare disease, or even how a patient’s body will respond to a new medication,” Priscilla Chan said.
“We hope that this collaborative effort will generate new insights about the fundamental characteristics of our cells,” she added.
The foundation explained that the new system will be trained on datasets from the software tool CZ Cell x Gene, as well as resources from the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Network and Chan Zuckerberg Institute for Advanced Biological Imaging, and publicly available data. Once completed, the computing system is expected to be one of the biggest AI clusters used for non-profit research.