California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3)

The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) is a partnership between the state of California, private industry, venture capital, and the University of California campuses at Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz. QB3 is one of four California Institutes for Science and Innovation established in 2000 to ensure the future of the California economy by promoting research and innovation.

Armed with the quantitative tools integral to physics, chemistry, engineering, and mathematics, QB3's more than 250 researchers explore how biological systems work, from atoms and molecules to cells, organs, and entire organisms.

Using advanced imaging, modeling, and computational tools, these scientists decipher the complex systems involved in living systems and discover ground-breaking applications for that basic knowledge.
QB3 produces health benefits for consumers, through new diagnostic tools and therapies for cancer, HIV-AIDS, and other diseases, and speeds up the process of taking research from the bench to the bedside by bridging the gap between scientists and clinicians. QB3 also brings significant economic benefits to California business by partnering with industry and venture capital to accelerate knowledge and technology transfer and stimulate emerging industries.


Stanley Hall is the Berkeley home for QB3 and serves as a hub for multidisciplinary research and teaching involving the biological sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. The building houses classrooms, auditoriums, faculty research labs, shared facilities, and the Department of Bioengineering
Located at the East Gate of the UC Berkeley campus next to the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Stanley Hall is home QB3-Berkeley, the Department of Bioengineering and houses classrooms, auditoriums, faculty research labs, and shared facilities.

At Berkeley, QB3 manages 9 core research facilities offering services as varied as protein expression, genomic sequencing, and nanofabrication. Highly trained staff members provide services to the entire research community at Berkeley as well as other UC campuses, national laboratories, universities, and private industry.

QB3 researchers enjoy access to world-class instrumentation, technologies, and materials located at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz, and nearby Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Access to these state-of-the-art resources enables scientists and engineers to develop devices,  and therapeutics that save human lives, as well as technologies to prevent or mitigate environmental damage and improve energy production and use. Research areas include bioengineering and biotechnology, bioinformatics and computational biology, structural and chemical biology, experimental genomics, proteomics, and biochemistry.
To stimulate multidisciplinary research, QB3 sponsors seminars, informal workshops, and large formal symposia. Participants explore their common ground, discover new synergistic opportunities, and help build QB3's rich scientific community.


QB3 is dedicated to training the next generation of scientists, readying them for a world in which solving biology's grand challenges requires a multidisciplinary approach. QB3 educational programs are designed to help students achieve fluency in physics, math, engineering, and chemistry, and expertise in integrating these quantitative sciences with biological research.

On the Berkeley campus, the QB3-Berkeley Graduate and Postdoc Career Development office helps trainees in the biological sciences explore career options that utilize their scientific training and develop the foundational skills required for effective career planning and transitions to post-graduate careers. In partnership with faculty, and collaborating with other campus entities, the QB3-Berkeley Graduate and Postdoc Career Development office promotes access to career information, skill development, and experiential opportunities, and work to enhance students’ and postdocs’ connections to a range of career paths and organizations within academia and in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

QB3 serves as the administrative home for the Biophysics Graduate Group, an independent PhD program that trains UC Berkeley graduate students for careers at the interface of the biological and physical sciences. QB3 also offers a Lab Fundamentals Bootcamp, a five-day training program for undergraduate students participating in summer research programs. Another training program for students is the Summer Undergraduate Biotech Internship program, which offers 10-week paid internships at Bay Area biotech companies and startups.  
QB3 also administers the Tang Scholars program, which brings outstanding Chinese researchers in the biological sciences to conduct research in UC Berkeley labs.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

QB3 operates a network of incubators, providing laboratory space for early-stage biotech companies, including two on the UC Berkeley campus, the QB3 Garage@Berkeley in Stanley Hall, and, in collaboration with the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub, Bakar Labs.  

More information about the Berkeley operations of QB3 is available at To learn more about the multi-campus QB3 collaboration, please visit

Staff Contact

Mackenzie Smith, communications manager

Staff contact
Mailing address

174 Stanley Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-3220

In News

David Schaffer: Research That Takes Risks Must be Supported

David Schaffer remembers sitting on his father’s lap as a child, curiously delving into science books and crafting mnemonic phrases that instilled in him the building blocks of biology. Recently, Schaffer was appointed the new executive director of QB3, a UC-systemwide group that supports California entrepreneurship. Schaffer also leads the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub, which will hold 50 new biotechnology startup companies supported by the Bakar Labs incubator, and he directs Berkeley’s Bakar Fellows Program, a funding incubator that accelerates the application of discovery research.

QB3 Welcomes David Schaffer as Its New Executive Director

David Schaffer, PhD, a University of California, Berkeley professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, bioengineering, and molecular and cell biology, has been appointed the next executive director of QB3, the institute announced today.

Berkeley’s Bakar BioEnginuity Hub Opens Its Doors

UC Berkeley’s campus community this week celebrated the grand opening of the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub (BBH), the campus’s bold new home for research and innovation. After two years of seismic upgrades and renovations, BBH celebrated its opening this month. Bakar Labs, the facility’s flagship life sciences incubator, has been operational since mid-November, offering space to tenant companies.

Why you should stay single: The scientific benefits of using a single photon

Like many other labs, Graham Fleming’s group is focusing on interdisciplinary techniques to make new discoveries and explore the mysteries of fundamental processes. Chemistry graduate student Kaydren Orcutt highlights how researchers can combine physics and biology, generating single photons in a bid to unentangle the mysteries of photosynthesis.