NIH Neuroscience Seminar- April 6, 2015

TITLE: Linking neuronal activity and gene expression: Ca nanodomains and long-range signaling

AUTHOR: Richard Tsien, D.Phil., NYU Neuroscience Institute

TIME: 12:00:00 PM  DATE: Monday, March 23, 2015

PLACE: Porter Neuroscience Research Center

Live NIH Videocast (archived after seminar)

HomeRichard W. Tsien, DPhil, to Be Inaugural Director of New Neuroscience Institute and Druckenmiller Professor of Neuroscience PrintPrintEmailEmail-A+A Richard W. Tsien

Richard W. Tsien


Professor of Neuroscience and Director of NYU School of Medicine Neuroscience Institute



Richard W. Tsien, DPhil, to Be Inaugural Director of New Neuroscience Institute and Druckenmiller Professor of Neuroscience

NYU Langone Medical Center announced today that it has appointed internationally renowned scientist and leader Richard W. Tsien, DPhil, as the first director of the Neuroscience Institute and the Druckenmiller Professor of Neuroscience, effective January 2012. Dr. Tsien—a member of both the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences and a former Rhodes Scholar—joins NYU Langone from Stanford University, where he currently serves as the George D. Smith Professor of Molecular and Genetic Medicine in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology.

In 2009, NYU Langone Medical Center received a $100 million gift from the Druckenmiller Foundation to establish a state-of-the-art neuroscience institute and to provide for the recruitment and support of the highest caliber neuroscientists. The appointment of Dr. Tsien further reinforces NYU Langone’s existing strengths and will enable it to become a leader in translational neuroscience.

“With Dr. Tsien’s appointment, this is truly a momentous time for the Medical Center,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center. “Dr. Tsien’s expertise and intellectual brilliance in the field of neuroscience is unparalleled, and we are confident that with his leadership, we will reach a new pinnacle in clinical and research excellence in the field of neuroscience.”

“NYU Langone’s new Neuroscience Institute will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring neuroscientists together in a way that facilitates achievement by closely allying molecular and cellular neuroscience with systems, cognitive and computational neuroscience,” said Dr. Tsien. “The neuroscientists in the NYU community have a breadth and depth of talent and commitment to innovation that provides the foundation for us to rank among the best in both fundamental research and clinical application of original discoveries. I am thrilled to be joining NYU Langone Medical Center and its visionary leadership and to help us strive toward these lofty goals.”

As an educator and administrator, Dr. Tsien has been engaged in fostering science and education beyond the boundaries of his own lab. He is an energetic teacher and initiator of courses in physiology, biophysics and neuroscience and mentor of many highly successful scientists and clinicians. At Stanford, Dr. Tsien founded and served as the inaugural chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. After a six-year term as chair, he went on to foster a successful Stanford-wide movement to establish an institute for neuroscience, the Stanford Brain Research Center, and served as its co-director from 2000 through 2005. He served a 10-year term as the director and principal investigator at Stanford’s Silvio Conte Center for Neuroscience Research. He also co-chaired a committee on diversity at Stanford and served on several search committees and advisory boards.

As a scientist, Dr. Tsien is a world leader in the study of calcium channels and neurotransmission. He studies how synapses contribute to neuronal computation and network function in both healthy and diseased brain. His research, generously supported by the NIH and private foundations, has contributed substantially to understanding how neurotransmitters, drugs and molecular alterations regulate calcium channels and has implications for diverse clinical areas such as pain and autism. Recent experiments, presented at NYU, show altered social behavior in a mouse model of a rare, monogenic form of autism spectrum disorder. His research has been published in over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, and he has served on editorial boards for numerous journals. He has also served as section chair for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Neuroscience Section) and the National Academy of Sciences (Neurobiology Section) and has been a member of scientific advisory boards for several institutes, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Tsien to NYU Langone and look forward to having him help us realize our vision to develop the world’s preeminent institute dedicated to neuroscience. His talents as a world-class scientist, builder and true visionary assure a brilliant future for our institute,” said Vivian S. Lee, MD, PhD, MBA, senior vice president, vice dean for science and chief scientific officer. “We are honored to have him join us.”

Born in China, Dr. Tsien came to the United States as a child and later received both an undergraduate and graduate degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was then named a Rhodes Scholar, graduating with his doctorate in biophysics from Oxford University, England. He then joined the faculty at Yale University School of Medicine and served for nearly two decades before being recruited to Stanford to found and lead the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. Dr. Tsien comes from a distinguished family of scientists and engineers. His family’s rise from struggling immigrant status to success and influence epitomizes the American dream.

Selected Recent Publications

    • Honigmann A, van den Bogaart G, Iraheta E, Risselada JH, Milovanovic D, Mueller V, Muellar S, Diederichsen U, Fasshauer D, Grubmüller H, Hell SW, Eggeling C, Kühnel K, Jahn R (2013) Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate clusters act as molecular beacons for vesicle recruitment. Nature Struct Mol Biol 20, 679–686
    • Park Y, Hernandez JM, van den Bogaart G, Ahmed S, Holt M, Riedel D, Jahn R (2012) Controlling synaptotagmin activity by electrostatic screening. Nature Struct Mol Biol 19, 991-997
    • Jahn R, Fasshauer D (2012) Exocytosis of synaptic vesicles – molecular machines, calcium, and beyond (review). Nature, 490(7419):201-7
    • Hernandez JM, Stein A, Behrmann E, Riedel D, Cypionka A, Farsi Z, Walla PJ, Raunser S, Jahn R (2012) Membrane fusion intermediates via directional and full assembly of the SNARE complex. Science 336, 1581-1584
    • Chua JJ, Butkevich E, Worseck JM, Kittelmann M, Gronborg M, Behrmann E, Stelzl U, Pavlos NJ, Lalowski M, Eimer S, Wanker EE, Klopfenstein DR*, Jahn R* (2012) Phosphorylation-regulated axonal dependent transport of syntaxin 1 is mediated by a Kinesin-1 adapter. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109, 5862-5867
    • van den Bogaart G, Meyenberg K, Risselada JH, Amin H, Willig KI, Hubrich BE, Dier M, Hell SW, Grubmüller H, Diederichsen U, Jahn R (2011) Membrane protein sequestering by ionic protein-lipid interactions. Nature 479, 552-555
    • van den Bogaart G, Thutupalli S, Risselada JH, Meyenberg K, Holt M, Riedel D, Diederichsen U, Herminghaus S, Grubmüller H, Jahn R (2011) Synaptotagmin-1 may be a distance regulator acting upstream of SNARE nucleation. Nat Struct Mol Biol 18, 805-812
    • Stein A, Weber G, Wahl MC, Jahn R (2009) Helical extension of the neuronal SNARE complex into the membrane. Nature 460, 525-528


About the Seminars

NIH Neuroscience Seminar Series website

The NIH Neuroscience Seminar Series features lectures and discussions with leading neuroscientists. Sponsored byNINDS, NIMH, NIA, NIDCD, NIDA, NICHD, NEI,NIAAA,NIDCR, NHGRI and NCCIH, this year’s series offers seminars on aspects of molecular, cellular, developmental and cognitive neuroscience as well as neuroscience related topics in disease, pain and genetics. Seminars are held on the NIH campus on Mondays at noon in the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, Room 620/630, Building 35.

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