background shadow background pic pharmacology



2000 Krebs Lecture

2000 Edwin G. Krebs Lectureship in Molecular Pharmacology

The Thirteenth Annual Edwin G. Krebs Lecture in Molecular Pharmacology
Sponsored by an endowment from Sterling Winthrop, Inc.

Genetically Encoded Indicators of Signal Transduction and Protein Interactions

by: Roger Y. Tsien, Ph.D.
Professor, Departments of Pharmacology and Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Wednesday, June 7, 2000
3:30 PM, Room T-625 HSC

Dr. Tsien was born in New York City in 1952 and received his A.B. in Chemistry and Physics summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1972. A Marshall Scholarship then took him to the Physiological Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, where he received his Ph.D. in 1977 and remained as a Research Fellow until 1981. He then became an Assistant, Associate, then full Professor in the Dept. of Physiology-Anatomy at UC Berkeley. In 1989 he moved to UCSD, where he is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor in the Depts. of Pharmacology and of Chemistry & Biochemistry. His honors include 1st prize in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search (1968), Searle Scholar Award (1983), Passano Foundation Young Scientist Award (1991), W. Alden Spencer Award in Neurobiology from Columbia University (1991), Artois-Baillet-Latour Health Prize (1995), Gairdner Foundation International Award (1995), American Heart Association Basic Research Prize (1995), Faculty Research Lectureship at UCSD (1997), and the Herbert Sober Lectureship of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2000). He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1995 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1998.

Dr. Tsien's research has been at the interfaces between organic chemistry, cell biology, and neurobiology, starting long before such interdisciplinary efforts became fashionable. He is most notorious for designing and building molecules that either report or perturb signal transduction inside living cells. These molecules have enabled many laboratories including his to gain new insights into signaling via calcium, sodium, pH, cyclic nucleotides, nitric oxide, inositol polyphosphates, membrane potential changes, active export of proteins from the nucleus, and gene transcription. The optical reporter molecules are also valuable in miniaturized high-throughput screening of candidate drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. His current research goals are to understand how the spatial and temporal dynamics of signal transduction orchestrate complex cellular responses such as gene expression and synaptic plasticity. These goals will require improved molecular techniques to see and manipulate small-molecule messengers, protein phosphorylation, and protein-protein interaction in live cells and organisms.