Roger Tsien, PhD

Inventor, 2008 Nobel Laureate
(1952-2016)

Dr. Tsien was a co-winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry, and professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at University of California San Diego School of Medicine for 27 years.

Working with Osamu Shimomura, PhD, and Martin Chalfie, PhD, Tsien helped discover and develop uses for green fluorescent protein (GFP) a naturally-occuring substance found in the jellyfish Aequorea victoria. Tsien discovered how to make the protein glow more brightly and consistently and created a full palette of fluorescent proteins that scientists could use to track different cellular processes at the same time.

His research has expanded the possibilities of science, allowing researchers to look into cells or whole animals, to watch molecules interact in real-time. Tsien wanted his research to be clinically relevant. Working with Quyen T. Nguyen, MD, PhD at UC San Diego Health, Tsien helped develop experimental injectable fluorescent peptides that cause hard-to-see peripheral nerves to glow, allowing surgeons to avoid them when removing damaged or cancerous tissues.

Dr. Nguyen continues to run Dr. Tsien's lab at UC San Diego.