California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences

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California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences
FormationDecember 15, 2000; 22 years ago (2000-12-15)
TypeGovernor Gray Davis Institute for Science and Innovation
HeadquartersUCSF Mission Bay campus
Region served
San Francisco Bay Area
Over 250 faculty
Parent organization
University of California
$5 million
Approximately 30

The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) is a nonprofit research and technology commercialization institute affiliated with three University of California campuses in the San Francisco Bay Area: Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz. QB3's domain is the quantitative biosciences: areas of biology in which advances are chiefly made by scientists applying techniques from physics, chemistry, engineering, and computer science.


QB3 was founded in 2000 as one of four Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation (originally, California Institutes for Science and Innovation, or Cal ISIs).[1] From a 2005 article written for the University of California Academic Senate:

The Institutes were launched in 2000 as an ambitious statewide initiative to support research in fields that were recognized as critical to the economic growth of the state—biomedicine, bioengineering, nanosystems, telecommunications and information technology. Moreover, the Cal ISIs were conceived as a catalytic partnership between university research interests and private industry that could expand the state economy into new industries and markets and "speed the movement of innovation from the laboratory into peoples' daily lives" (Governor's Budget summary 2001-02). The four research centers operate as a partnership among the University, state government, and industry, and each involves structured collaborations among campuses, disciplines, academics researchers, research professional, and students.[2]

Campus sites[edit]

The tri-campus organization has three research branches: QB3-Berkeley, QB3-Santa Cruz, and the Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI-UCSF) at the San Francisco campus.

  • QB3-Berkeley: The UC Berkeley branch of QB3 is housed in Stanley Hall along with the Department of Bioengineering,[3] but core research facilities are situated all throughout campus as well, such as the Vincent J. Coates Genomics Sequencing Lab at Weill Hall.[4] The Bakar BioEngineering Hub at Woo Hon Fai Hall houses Bakar Labs, a notable core incubator of QB3.
  • QB3-Santa Cruz: At the Santa Cruz campus, QB3 forms part of the Genomics Institute and is headquartered in the Westside Research Park.[5] The space was formerly owned by Texas Instruments as a semiconductor wafer fabrication plant. The facilities include a total of approximately 242,000 gross (154,000 net) square feet, including a large "clean room," a specially designed supercomputer center, and extensive space used for classrooms, laboratories, and offices.
  • QBI-UCSF: QBI is situated in Byers Hall on the Mission Bay campus. Byers Hall, officially opened in 2005,[6] also currently hosts the QB3 director's office and QB3 central administration. Many faculty labs are in Genentech Hall, an adjoining building.


QB3 is directed by David Schaffer, a UC Berkeley professor with appointments in multiple departments[7] who also directs the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub and its associated incubator, Bakar Labs.[8] Each participating campus has a QB3 director who also is an active research scientist: Sanjay Kumar at Berkeley, Nevan Krogan at UCSF, and David Haussler at UC Santa Cruz.

Faculty affiliates[edit]

Research faculty affiliates are the foundation of QB3. QB3 has more than 250 faculty affiliates, roughly 100 each from Berkeley, UCSF, and UC Santa Cruz.[9][10] The research interests of these faculty fall under the umbrella of the quantitative biosciences. QB3 scientists tend to be bioengineers, biophysicists, or pharmaceutical or computational biologists. Synthetic biology is strongly represented. Current and former members of QB3 include Shuvo Roy, Elizabeth Blackburn, Steven Chu, Joseph DeRisi, Jennifer Doudna, David Haussler, Jay Keasling, Arun Majumdar, Harry Noller.


QB3 member scientists choose affiliations with one of nine research themes:


A major function of QB3 is to make connections between scientists in different disciplines and between entrepreneurial scientists and business mentors and venture capitalists. QB3 administers buildings custom-designed to facilitate interaction and core facilities intended to bring together researchers from different fields. QB3 also provides networking services for applied research and technology commercialization.[11] QB3 is not a technology transfer office and does not handle patent applications.


QB3 assists life science entrepreneurs seeking to commercialize their research. In UC Berkeley, QB3 operates one full-service incubator, Bakar Labs, which is situated in the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub at Woo Han Fai Hall, and the smaller QB3 Garage@Berkeley space at Stanley Hall.[12] Previously, QB3 was closely involved in launching and operating incubators, including:

  • The QB3 Garage@UCSF, founded in September 2006.[13] (now closed)
  • The QB3 East Bay Innovation Center, which launched in June 2011 in West Berkeley.[14] (now closed)
  • MBC Biolabs, originally QB3@953 at its address of 953 Indiana St. in San Francisco, which was opened in October 2013.[15] Subsequently the incubator spun off as a private business and rebranded as MBC Biolabs, now expanded to a second location in San Carlos.[16]
  • StartX-QB3 Labs, located near Stanford University and Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto.[17] (no longer affiliated)


QB3 is involved in a number of educational initiatives.

QB3 does not offer accredited courses, nor does it hire faculty.


  1. ^ Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation Archived 2010-05-27 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-11-24.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2010-01-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Stanley Hall". Berkeley QB3. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  4. ^ "QB3 Genomics". Berkeley QB3. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  5. ^ McGirk, James. "Biotech blooms on Santa Cruz's westside". UC Santa Cruz News. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  6. ^ "QB3's Inaugural Event Features Announcement of Major Partnerships with Industry | UC San Francisco". Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  7. ^ "David V. Schaffer | Research UC Berkeley".
  8. ^ "Berkeley's Bakar BioEnginuity Hub opens its doors | Research UC Berkeley".
  9. ^ "Faculty Affiliates". California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  10. ^ "Faculty | QB3". Archived from the original on 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). QB3. Retrieved on 2013-11-24.
  11. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2011-12-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "QB3 Garage@Berkeley – QB3 Berkeley". Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  13. ^ Biotech babies born in 'Garage' - San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved on 2013-11-24.
  14. ^ QB3 houses mavericks both old and new - San Francisco Business Times. (2011-04-15). Retrieved on 2013-11-24.
  15. ^ "Xconomy: QB3 Opens Life Sciences Incubator in San Francisco's Dogpatch". 30 October 2013.
  16. ^ Neil Gonzales (October 23, 2020). "Biotech startups thrive in San Carlos nursery". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved December 25, 2022.
  17. ^ "StartX and QB3 Open a Biotech Lab in Palo Alto". 27 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Center for Computational Biology". Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  19. ^ "Synberc (Synthetic Biology Research Center) | EBRC". Retrieved 25 December 2022.

External links[edit]