Jeremy Freeman tells the Guardian that he was drawn to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative because of its goal to speed up science.
Freeman, who is now CZI's manager of computational biology, had been working at the Janelia Research Campus where he split his time between neuroscience research and developing tools such as data analysis and sharing tools to make science happen faster, when he came across the CZI announcement. "I was struck by what CZI was trying to do — to develop new ways to use technology to accelerate the progress of science," he says.
In particular, CZI has committed $3 billion over the next 10 years toward basic science research with the ultimate aim of finding disease cures. Freeman notes that people tend to die from heart disease, cancer stroke, neurodegenerative disease, and infectious disease and that the initiative thinks it can speed up progress on those problems.
One of the first CZI projects is focusing on is developing a cell atlas that describes the molecular characteristics of human cells. "This is a large international collaborative effort to characterize and catalog all the cells in the human body. Which will be a reference resource for both understanding basic biology as well as understanding disease," Freeman tells the Guardian.