tsien_fern

Fern Tsien, PhD

Associate Professor

533 Bolivar St., Room 658
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 568-2080
Fax: (504) 568-8500
fmille@lsuhsc.edu

The Tsien lab presents their research at the American Society of Human Genetics
Epigenetics at the Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco Villahermosa, Mexico
The Louisiana Genetics and Hereditary Health Care Education Center
Career Expo for Youth Force NOLA
Volunteering at ¿Que Pasa? Festival
Dr. Fern Tsien, Jack D. Hines III Memorial Award recipient
Award for Outstanding Service to the Community (page 3)
Science Youth Initiative (SYI) Elementary School Science Partnership Program 
Science Youth Initiative (SYI) Middle and High School Workshops 2017-2018
REU Site: Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Basic Sciences and Genetics
High School/Undergraduate Student Summer Research Internship Program
Medical Student Summer Research Internship Program
Taylor Foundation funded K-12 Educational videos
LSUHSC Science Partnership/Science Youth Initiative videos

Degrees

BS Biology
Newcomb College at Tulane University

BA Studio Art
Newcomb College at Tulane University

PhD
Tulane University School of Medicine

Bio

Dr. Tsien obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Arts specializing in Studio Art from Tulane University in New Orleans. She received her PhD degree from the Hayward Genetics Center, Human Genetics Program at the Tulane University School of Medicine.

At Tulane University School of Medicine she was the Supervisor of the Molecular Cytogenetics Laboratory in the Hayward Genetics Center, Human Genetics Program. During her post-doctoral training she was the recipient of a fellowship grant from the Fascioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD) Society. Dr. Tsien is board certified by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and by the National Certification Agency for Laboratory Personnel as a specialist in the field of Cytogenetics. Dr. Tsien accepted a faculty position in the Department of Genetics at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in January of 2003.

Her current research focuses on the genetics of congenital hearing loss in the Louisiana Acadian (Cajun) and Mexican Mayan populations in collaboration with the Department of Communication Disorders in the School of Allied Health Professions at LSUHSC, Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, and the Genetics Division at the Universidad Juarez Autonoma de Tabasco in Villahermosa, Mexico. In the United States, about 1 out of 1000 children are born with complete sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), with 50-80% of cases due to genetic mutations. Although single-gene mutations causing hearing loss have been previously discovered, it is currently unclear how multiple genes and variants/mutations work together to affect an individual’s hearing. This project examines hearing loss caused by multiple variants/mutations found in the Mexican Mayan and the Louisiana Acadian founder populations and will provide further insight into the mechanisms behind genetic SNHL. She has presented her research at local, national, and international conferences to the clinical and scientific community, and to the lay public. Dr. Tsien is also studying chromosome, chromatin, and epigenetic instability and their relationship to cancer and genetic disease. She is the co-editor of The Louisiana Genetics and Hereditary Health Care Education Center website for patients and their families.She is a reviewer for the International Journal of Audiology. Her research also focuses on cytogenetic rearrangements and chromatin instabilty in cancer progression, and the epigentic mechanisms of folic acid metabolism on human health. 

She is involved in genetics education at a variety of levels, teaching residents, post-doctoral fellows, medical students, graduate students, undergraduates, K-12 students, and teachers. Dr. Tsien also directs the Science Youth Initiative, LSUHSC-New Orleans Schools Science Partnership Program, and the LSUHSC Patrick Taylor-BCM Middle and High School Workshop through her Patrick F. Taylor Foundation and Baptist Community Ministries grant funding. The goals of these programs are to make science topics more interesting and accessible in preparation for standardized testing, introduce students to diverse role models in the sciences, and to assist K-12 students to improve their grades as they consider careers in the health and basic sciences. Through at least 75 workshops, more than 2600 students from rural and urban K-12 schools from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds have been introduced to science education. She is the Executive Producer of K-12 educational videos also funded through the Taylor Foundation and LSU Leverage Innovation for Technology Transfer (LIFT2) grant funding. Dr. Tsien directed and organized multiple community outreach projects at the Children's Museum, New Orleans Audubon Zoo in celebration of DNA Day, and the Que Pasa? Latino Festival.

She is the Director of the NSF-funded “REU Site: Research Experience for Underrepresented Minority Undergraduates in Genetic and Biochemical Mechanisms of Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Organisms.” She is the co-director of the High School/Undergraduate Student Summer Research Internship Program , which through her Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, National Science Foundation, Baptist Community Ministries, and Entergy Foundation grant funding, she supports teachers, undergraduates, and high school students to work in research laboratories during the summer. Dr. Tsien trains interns on 1) scientific hard skills (hypothesis-driven research, laboratory techniques, interpretation of results, and presentation of scientific data) and 2) soft skills (resume writing, explaining health and science topics to the lay public) necessary for success in entering science careers. Her goals include increasing the number of individuals from racial and ethnic groups classically underrepresented in science careers, from rural communities, first generation college-educated, non-traditional students, or from disadvantaged backgrounds to health and basic science careers.

Dr. Tsien is a member of the LSUHSC Graduate School Multicultural and Diversity Committee, Association of Women in Science, Stanley Scott Cancer Center, and the American Society of Human Genetics. She has won the 2011 LSU School of Medicine Faculty Assembly Award for Outstanding Service to the Community, the 2012 LSU School of Medicine Excellence award for Teaching and Service, and the 2013 Jack Hines III Memorial Award for Outstanding Service. 

Clinical Interests
  • Chromosome abnormalities
  • Epigenetic disorders
  • Cancer cytogenetics
  • Genetics of the Louisiana Acadian (Cajun) and the Mexican Mayan populations
  • Genetics of Hearing Disorders
Research Interests
  • Epigenetic mechanisms
  • Cancer cytogenetics
  • Chromatin instability in disorders that affect the Louisiana Acadian (Cajun) and Mexican Mayan populations
  • Genetics of auditory and communication disorders
  • Genetics education, especially in the fields of Cytogenetics and Epigenetics
  • Science education to the New Orleans community
  • Mutlicultural affairs, specifically promoting research careers to underrepresented minorities in the sciences
Teaching Activities

Course Director, INTER 141, Introduction to Genetics, Interdisciplinary Program, LSUHSC School of Graduate Studies

Course Director, INTER 180, Science Teaching, Interdisciplinary Program, LSUHSC School of Graduate Studies

Course Director, GENET 234 Epigenetics, Department of Genetics, LSUHSC School of Graduate Studies

Course Director, GENET 292 Human Cytogenetics, Department of Genetics, LSUHSC School of Graduate Studies

Course Director, SPTHAUD 7225 Genetics, Department of Communication Disrders, LSUHSC School of Allied Health Professions

Course Co-director, Molecular Pathology, Department of Pathology Residency Program, LSUHSC School of Medicine

Lecturer, Medical Genetics, LSUHSC School of Medicine

Lecturer, INTER 122 Molecular Biology, "Chromosome structure", LSUHSC School of Graduate Studies

Lecturer, INTER 123 Control of Gene Expression, "Epigenetics", LSUHSC School of Graduate Studies

Lecturer, SPTHAUD 6220, Craniofacial anomalies, “Cytogenetics and dysmorphology”, Department of Communication Disorders, LSUHSC School of Allied Health Professions

Lecturer, MTEC 5119, Introduction to Molecular Diagnostics, “Diagnostics and Genetics”, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, LSUHSC School of Allied Health Professions

 

 

Committees & Administrative Responsibilities
  • Director, Science Youth Initiative
  • Director, Research Experiences for Undergraudates
  • Co-Director, Summer Research Internship Program
  • Co-Director, LSUHSC-New Orleans Public School Science Partnership Program
  • Member, Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center
  • Member, LSUHSC-NO Graduate School Multicultural/Diversity Committee
  • Reviewer: International Journal of Audiology, National Science Foundation
  • Co-editor, Louisiana Genetics and Hereditary Health Care Education Center website

 

Selected Publications
  1. Mercer D, Hurley A, Tsien  F, Detailed Audiological Evaluation of a Patient with Xeroderma Pigmentosum with Neural Degeneration, Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, Volume 28, Number 1, January 2017, pp. 80-90(11)
  2. Loupe J, Miller P, Bonner B, Maggi E, Vijayaraghavan J, Zabaleta J, Taylor C, Tsien F, Crabtree J, and Hollenbach A, Acquisition of an Oncogenic Fusion Protein Serves as an Initial Driving Mutation by Inducing Aneuploidy and Overriding Proliferative Defects, Oncotarget, 2016 Aug 7(39), 62814-62835
  3. Bonvillain R, Scarritt M, Pashos M, Sullivan DE, Betancourt AM, Tsien F, Umrigar A, Hoffman AM, Bunnell B, Characterization of Rhesus Macaque Lung-Resident Multipotent Stromal Cells: Potential Cell Source for Pulmonary Tissue Engineering, Cell and Gene Therapy Insights 2016; 2(1), 49-72. 
  4. Howe B, Umrigar A, Tsien F. Chromosome Preparation from Cultured Cells, Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2014 Jan 28;(83)
  5. Kibe R, Zhang S, Marrero L, Khan S, Zieske A, Huang J, Durum S, Tsien F, Iwakuma T, Cui Y,* Cross-talk between IL-7Rα signaling and p53 pathway in maintaining chromosomal stability during thymopoiesis and preventing lymphomagenesis, Cell Death and Differentiation. 2012 Jul;19(7):1139-51.
  6. Tsien F , Chromosomes, Center for Acadiana Genetics and Hereditary Health Care, Doucet J and Tsien F, Ed. (2011)
  7. Tsien F, Chromosome abnormalities, Center for Acadiana Genetics and Hereditary Health Care, Doucet J and Tsien F, Ed. (2011)
  8. Izadpanah R, Kaushal D, Kriedt C, Tsien F, Patel B, Dufour J, Bunnell BA, Long-term in vitro expansion alters the biology of adult mesenchymal stem cells, Cancer Research. 2008, Jun 68(11):4229-38.
  9. Tsien F, Morava E, Talarski A, Marble M., Phenotypic features in a boy with trisomy of 16q22—qter due to paternal Y;16 translocation, Clinical Dysmorphology. 2005, Oct;14(4):177-81.
  10. Morava E, Jackson KE, Tsien F, Marble MR. Trisomy 1q43 syndrome: a consistent phenotype with macrocephaly, characteristic face, developmental delay and cardiac anomalies.Genetic Counseling; 2004,15(4):449-53.
  11. Tsien F, Fiala ES, Youn B, Long TI, Laird PW, Weissbecker K, & Ehrlich M: Prolonged culture of normal chorionic villus cells yields ICF syndrome-like chromatin decondensation and rearrangements, Cytogenetics and Genome Research. 2002, 98(1): 13-21.

 

 

Additional Info

Past and present lab members:

2017%2010:03:21%20AM
From left to right: Mary Moore, Dr. Fern Tsien, Alejandra Valdés Marín, Aminta Hernández Marín, Dr. Danielle Mercer, Ayesha Umrigar


2014 12:38:50 PM
From left to right: Sharon Rainey, Ayesha Umrigar, Bradley Howe, Mohammad Abughazleh, Dr. Betsy Bateman, Dr. Fern Tsien

2014 12:42:29 PM
Dr. Amanda Musso, Kashanda Foley, and Ayesha Umrigar