Lap-Chee Tsui, geneticist (b at Shanghai, China 21 Dec 1950). A graduate of the Chinese U of Hong Kong (Bsc 1972) and U of Pittsburgh (PhD 1979), Tsui joined the Research Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children at Toronto as a post-doctoral fellow in genetics during 1981-83. From 1983 to 1988 he was scientist and from 1988 senior scientist there, while simultaneously teaching at U of Toronto's genetics department.
In 1982 he was recruited by a Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm, Collaborative Research, to investigate the genetic cause of cystic fibrosis at HSC's cystic fibrosis clinic at Toronto. Together, they identified the gene-bearing chromosome responsible for CF. The partnership foundered, however, largely because Collaborative Research declined to make their discovery public.
In 1987 Tsui and Francis Collins of the U of Michigan Medical School - an expert in the chromosome-jumping technique needed in the search for the gene - agreed to work together. Two years later, in Aug 1989, Tsui, his Canadian collaborators Jack Riordan and Manuel Buchwald, and Collins with his American research team, announced their successful isolation of the gene carrying the defect that causes cystic fibrosis. The accomplishment has been called one of the most significant in the history of human genetics. In 1990 Tsui, Riordan and Collins were awarded the Gairdner Prize for their achievement.