Integrative Biology board member Roger Tsien wins Nobel Prize

08 October 2008

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008 has been awarded to Roger Tsien, University of California San Diego, a member of the editorial board for the upcoming RSC journal Integrative Biology (to be launched in January 2009), for his work in the development of the gene marker green fluorescent protein (GFP). 

Harp Minhas, managing editor of Integrative Biology, said: "Congratulations to Professor Tsien, from all of us at the RSC. We are all immensely pleased that 2008 Nobel Prize winner Roger Tsien is an Editorial Board member for Integrative Biology; his work typifies the quality of material we are seeking in the development of biology through new tools and technologies." 

Derivatives of GFP are used in experiments to observe cell dynamics and behaviour - their fluorescent glow allows scientists to visualise processes inside cells. 

Furthermore, as it is non-toxic to cells it can be used in live cell (in vitro) studies meaning that "real time" analysis of cells is possible. 

Dr Robert Parker, Director of RSC Publishing, said: "GFP has revolutionised how we study cells and cell function. When you see pictures of cells under a microscope, most of the time it's the fluorescent glow released by GFP and its related proteins that you are actually seeing. It lets us visualise what is going on at the cellular level. 

"Roger Tsien and colleagues' contribution to studying processes of life on a cellular level has been of exceptional importance." 

GFP is a protein first extracted from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria in the 1960s by Osamu Shimomura, who was jointly awarded this year's prize with Tsien and Martin Chalfie. Variants of GFP can fluoresce in different colours, allowing several different proteins in a cell to be studied simultaneously.

A special Nobel-themed edition of Chemical Society Reviews is published online this week, honouring the work of last year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner, Professor Gerhard Ertl. Ertl said he himself was "very much honoured" to have such an issue commissioned.

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