Roger Tsien has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2008 by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Tsien shares the prize with two other scientists for their work on the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP. Tsien, who is currently a professor of pharmacology and chemistry/biochemistry at UC San Diego, was co-founder of Senomyx and serves as a member of the company’s scientific advisory board.
Work performed in Tsien’s UC San Diego laboratory determined the mechanism by which GFP exhibits its green color and led to the development of a series of GFP variants that emit additional colors. This set of GFP proteins expanded the utility of GFP to study multiple proteins in the same cell. Additionally, the modified GFPs developed by Tsien provided the means to analyze protein-protein interactions and changes in protein structure, such as binding of ligands by receptors. Senomyx has licensed the use of patented GFP technology in the flavor and fragrance field.
Of Tsien’s honor, Senomyx president and CEO Kent Snyder said, “Senomyx is privileged to have benefitted from Tsien’s scientific expertise and advice since the establishment of the company. We appreciate his scientific guidance and applaud his being named a new Nobel Laureate.”