A UC San Diego professor has taken home the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his role in the discovery of the green fluorescent protein and its use as a tagging tool in bioscience.
UC San Diego professor Roger Y. Tsien received the award — announced Wednesday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences — along with two other US scientists.
Tsein will share the $1.4 million purse with Martin Chalfie of Columbia University and with Osamu Shimomura of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole and Boston University Medical School.
Originating from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, the protein fluoresces green when exposed to blue light and is especially useful as an indicator in biological experiments.
Tsien is a professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego, the UCSD School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Tsien has dedicated his career to the development and application of fluorescent protein probes, which enable scientists to monitor cellular function.
In a press release, Tsien said he considers his life’s work to entail “building molecules to look inside of cells, allowing us to see beyond what the human eye can see.”
UC President Mark G. Yudof said Tsien’s accomplishment helps signify the importance of the UC system across the globe.
“We’re enormously proud of professor Roger Tsien for this incredible recognition of his work in chemistry,” Yudof said “The Nobel Prize recognizes groundbreaking research and this is another indicator of the tremendous contribution UC makes to California and the world.”
With Tsien’s award, 54 researchers connected with the UC have received 55 Nobel Prizes.
This marks the 19th time a UC faculty member has won the prize in chemistry.