Yesterday Dr. Roger Y. Tsein of the University of Californian, San Diego, passed away. Dr. Tsein’s work has had a profound impact on the work performed in the Heit lab. Indeed, over half of the experiments we conduct would not have been possible without his discovery and development of fluorescent proteins such as GFP.
In our lab these fluorescent proteins are used daily – we attach them to proteins of interest to track their location in cells, use variants of them to report biochemical activity and detect inter-protein interactions, and even use them to track cells within living organisms. And we are not alone – you would be hard-pressed to find a cell biology lab that doesn’t use fluorescent proteins in some aspect of their work. Examples of fluorescent images from the Heit lab can be seen in the image slider at the top of the page.
Dr. Ysein was awarded the 2008 Noble Prize in Chemistry for his work on fluorescent proteins, and continued to make significant contributions through to the end of his career.
We have lost a giant among us, and he will be sorely missed.