About the Speaker
Richard W. Tsien, DPhil, is the Druckenmiller Professor of Neuroscience, New York University, Director of the NYU Neuroscience Institute and Chair, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, NYU.
Dr. Tsien moved to the NYU Langone Medical Center in 2011, coming from Stanford, where he had launched the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology (1988) and directed the Silvio Conte Center. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academia Sinica, he has been honored by the Cole Medal, the Julius Axelrod Award, and the Ralph W. Gerard Prize of the Society for Neuroscience.
Decades ago, Richard Tsien and colleagues uncovered novel types of calcium channels in neurons and described some key biophysical properties and functional roles in neurotransmission and neuronal regulation. Recent surprises about Ca2+ channels include separable signaling by Ca2+ entry and conformational change, operating as a 1-2 punch. His group investigates how synapses perform as cell biological signaling elements and thus contribute to circuit function. Interest in the neuromodulation of ion channels, synapses and microcircuits has led to studies on how neuronal activity regulates gene expression to support synaptic plasticity and homeostasis. Much of his research has implications for clinical disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and pain. An enduring theme in both healthy and diseased brain is how information transfer across neurons and networks is regulated. Tsien uses both experimental and theoretical approaches to approach such problems. He is co-author of a mathematical textbook, Electric Current Flow in Excitable Cells.
Richard Tsien was born in Tating, Kweichow, China just before the end of World War II. He moved to the US with his mother in 1947, joining his father who was serving China in Washington DC. His late father’s first cousin was the Caltech- and MIT-trained aerodynamicist Qian Xuesen. Richard Tsien also attended MIT. As a faculty member at Yale, he led a group that taught patch clamping in Shanghai in 1987, and thus helped launch the careers of several leaders in Chinese electrophysiology.
Neuroscience Lecture Series by the NYU-ECNU Institute of Brain and Cognitive Science at NYU Shanghai