lap choly

Lap-Chee Tsui

Lap-Chee Tsui, O.C., O.Ont. (born December 21, 1950) is a Hong Kong geneticist and is currently the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong.

Personal life

Tsui was born in Shanghai. He grew up in Dai Goon Yu, a little village on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong near Kai Tak Airport, where he would hang out with other kids and go exploring in ponds, catching tadpoles and fish to do simple experiments. Here he acquired Cantonese. As a boy he dreamed of being an architect. He received his secondary education at Homantin Government Secondary School, Kowloon, Hong Kong. He did not take up genetics until after his PhD.

He studied biology in New Asia College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and was awarded a BSc (with only 3rd class honours) and a MPhil from the university in 1972 and 1974, respectively. He would eventually prove himself to be an accomplished scientist despite his not very promising performance in college. Upon the recommendation of his mentor at the Chinese University, he continued his graduate education in the United States and received his PhD degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1979. He then became the Postdoctoral Investigator and Postdoctoral Fellow in Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, and Department of Genetics of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in 1979 and 1981 respectively.


From 1981 to 2002, Tsui continued his research and teaching in the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto alternatively. Prior to his appointment as the Vice-Chancellor, he was Geneticist-in-Chief and Head of the Genetics and Genomic Biology Program of the Research Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children and co-founder (with Dr. Steve Scherer) of The Centre for Applied Genomics. He was also the holder of the H.E. Sellers Chair in Cystic Fibrosis and University Professor at the University of Toronto. He was the President of Human Genome Organisation (HUGO), the international organization of scientists involved in the Human Genome Project, from 2000 to 2002.

He has also served on the editorial boards for 20 international peer-reviewed scientific journals, numerous scientific review panels, and many national and international advisory committees, including the Medical Research Council of Canada, Canadian Genome Research Task Force Committee (Chair), Scientific Steering Committee of the National Institute of Biological Science, Scientific Advisory Committee of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development and Human Genome Organization. He is currently member of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission, Council for Sustainable Development and Executive Committee, and Executive Committee of the Commission on Strategic Development of the Hong Kong SAR Government.

He was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong in May 2002 and assumed office as the fourteenth Vice-Chancellor of the university with effect from September 1, 2002.

Academic contributions

Tsui became internationally acclaimed in 1989 when he and his team identified the defective gene, namely Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Regulator (CFTR), that causes cystic fibrosis, which is a major breakthrough in human genetics. He has also made significant contributions to the study of the human genome, especially the characterization of chromosome 7, and, identification of additional disease genes.

Honours and awards

Tsui has received numerous awards and honours for his outstanding work over the years. His honours include the titles of Distinguished Scientist of the Medical Research Council of Canada, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Fellow of the Royal Society of London, Fellow of Academia Sinica, Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Honorary Fellow of Royal College of Physicians (UK) and Honorary Fellow of World Innovation Foundation.

In addition to many national and international prizes, including the Killam Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts, Gairdner International Award, Cresson Medal of Franklin Institute, and Mead Johnson Award, he was awarded honorary doctoral degrees by the University of Toronto, University of King's College, University of New Brunswick, Chinese University of Hong Kong, St. Francis Xavier University, York University and Tel Aviv University.

In 1991, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in October 2007, he was decorated as Knight of the Légion d'Honneur of France. He also received the Order of Ontario and the title of Justice of the Peace (HKSAR) from the Hong Kong SAR Government.

In 2006, the fifth floor of the University of Toronto's Donnelly CCBR building was named after Lap-Chee Tsui to honour his research work.


External links

Preceded by:
Ian Rees Davies
Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong
Succeeded by:

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