Roger Y. Tsien (1952–2016)

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Science  07 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6308, pp. 41
DOI: 10.1126/science.aak9585

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The world of biological chemistry lost one of its most creative pioneers when Roger Y. Tsien died on 24 August 2016 at the age of 64 while biking on a challenging trail in Eugene, Oregon, where he and his wife Wendy had their home. Tsien, who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was a professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Born in New York City and raised in Livingston, New Jersey, Roger had special talents that were manifested early—he won the Westinghouse Science Talent Search at age 16 for his original research project, “Bridging in Transition Metal Thiocyanate Complexes.” After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics, he studied at Cambridge University, receiving a Ph.D. in physiology in 1977 before joining the faculties of the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and, 7 years later, UCSD, where he spent most of his career. His thesis on the design and use of organic tools in cellular physiology set him on a course to investigate the chemistry of the brain.