Richard W. Tsien

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Richard Winyu Tsien
Born 錢永佑
(1945-03-03) March 3, 1945 (age 72)
Tating, Kweichow, People's Republic of China
Nationality American
Fields Neurobiology
Institutions New York University Medical Center, Stanford University
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Oxford
University College of Oxford
Spouse Julia Shiang
Children 3
Richard W. Tsien
Traditional Chinese 錢永佑
Simplified Chinese

Richard Winyu Tsien (born 3 March 1945), is a Chinese-born American neurobiologist and engineer. He is the Druckenmiller Professor of Neuroscience, Chair of the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, and Director of the NYU Neuroscience Institute at New York University Medical Center,[1] and also an emeritus faculty of Stanford University School of Medicine .[2]

Early life[edit]

Tsien was born in Tating, Kweichow, China and is a descendant of the King of Wuyue Tsien Liu. Soon after his birth, Tsien's family moved to the United States.


Tsien received BS in 1965 and MS in 1966 both in electrical engineering and both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tsien then won a Rhodes Scholarship and went to study in UK at Wadham College, Oxford from 1966 to 1969. Tsien obtained PhD in biophysics from Oxford in 1970.


From 1968 to 1970, Tsien was a Weir Junior Research Fellow at University College, Oxford. From 1969 to 1970, Tsien was a teaching fellow at Balliol College, Oxford.

In 1970, Tsien went back to the United States, and became an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology at Yale University School of Medicine from 1970 to 1974. From 1974 to 1979, Tsien was an associate professor in the same department, and was promoted to full professor in 1979.

In 1988, Tsien went to Stanford and founded the Stanford University Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, where he also served as the first chairman. From 1991 to 2001, Tsien was the Director Silvio Conte - National Institutes of Mental Health Center for Neuroscience Research. From 1988 to 2011, Tsien was the George D. Smith Professor at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. From 2000-2011, Tsien served as Co-Director for the Stanford Brain Research Center.[3][4]

Tsien did important work on calcium channels, their mechanisms and roles in cell signaling pathways. Tsien's research also helps us understand the long-term plasticity of synapses.[5]

From 1987 to 1988, Tsien was the President of the Society of General Physiologists. In August 2000, Tsien also served the Section Chair of Neurobiology of the United States National Academy of Sciences. Tsien's youngest brother Roger Y. Tsien, a chemist, won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.[6]

Selected honors & awards[edit]


  1. ^ news article regarding Dr. Tsien's move to NYULMC
  2. ^ "Richard Tsien". Stanford University School of Medicine. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  3. ^ The CV of Richard W. Tsien, Ph.D.
  4. ^ "Tsien, Richard W.". BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. Stanford University School of Medicine. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  5. ^ About the PNAS Member Editor: Richard W. Tsien
  6. ^ 2008 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry - Roger Y. Tsien
  7. ^ "Walter B. Cannon Award Lecture". Awards—Other APS Awards—Recipients. American Physiological Society. 1996. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Academia Sinica - Life Sciences: Academician Richard Win-Yu Tsien

External links[edit]