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

At Berkeley, QB3 manages 10 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, drugs, and therapies 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.

New courses and novel programs are under way or in development on all three QB3 campuses, including new degree programs for graduate students in chemical, computational, systems, and synthetic biology. For example, UC Berkeley doctoral students in a wide range of disciplines participate in the Designated Emphasis (DE) in Computational and Genomic Biology, essentially a minor for Ph.D. students. Building on that program, a new doctoral program in Computational Biology was established, providing an interdisciplinary program for students from varied backgrounds who want to conduct research at the interface of computational and biological sciences. The new Ph.D. program welcomed its first cohort in 2013. QB3 also houses the Biophysics Graduate Group, an independent Ph.D. program that trains UC Berkeley graduate students for careers at the interface of the biological and physical sciences.


QB3 fosters research partnerships by identifying potential opportunities for collaboration and support, developing platform technologies, and assisting partners with intellectual property and technology transfer issues. Collaborators come from academia, industry, venture capital, and government agencies. QB3's Industrial Advisory Board, which includes industry and venture capital leaders, provides private sector perspective on QB3's role in the California economy.

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

David Schaffer
(510) 643-5963
Staff contact
Donna Hendrix
Mailing address

174 Stanley Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-3220

In News

October 8, 2020

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.
June 25, 2018

CRISPR reduces autism symptoms in mice

Scientists have used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to lessen some autism symptoms in mice with a form of fragile X syndrome, the most common known single-gene cause of autism spectrum disorder.