College of Natural Sciences Alumnus Pledges $1 Million to Colorado State University

Dean Tsao, CEO of Genemed Biotechnologies, Inc., has pledged

$1 million to Colorado State University to support teaching and research in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Tsao earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Colorado State in 1973.

The pledge will fund graduate fellowships in honor of Emeritus Professor Parviz Azari in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Presidential Initiatives such as internships, Native American scholarships and presidential science education initiatives also will be funded.

"We are grateful to the Tsao family for their generous gift to Colorado State University," said Colorado State President Larry Edward Penley. "Dean has enjoyed tremendous success in his career after graduating from Colorado State, and we are very proud of all he has achieved throughout his distinguished career. This gift will help perpetuate the quality education Dean received here for the benefit of the next generation of scientists and scholars."

One half of the gift will go to support the establishment of a graduate fellowship named in honor of Azari and to enhance undergraduate research opportunities in CSU’s biochemistry research laboratories. Azari, a CSU biochemistry professor for 39 years, was Tsao’s adviser.

About 10 percent of the gift will be directed to the establishment of scholarships, including the Tsao Native American Scholarship that will support a worthy student from the Southwest Native American community to attend CSU. Also included is the Dean Tsao Presidential Internship program, the first named internship in the Presidential Internship Program.

The remaining 40 percent of Tsao’s gift will support a Presidential Science Education Initiative that will provide small grants for education initiatives in science and mathematics. These initiatives include outreach programs such as Triunfo, which pairs CSU students with local K-12 students for one-on-one tutoring and a College of Natural Sciences program that is preparing licensed science teachers through curriculum development, and the annual Colorado Science and Engineering Fair.

"The College of Natural Sciences is extremely grateful for the generosity of the Tsao family," said Rick Miranda, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. "The support of our students and research capabilities will create a lasting positive impact, and our outreach efforts to better the science education of young students while strengthening the pipeline of science teachers will also be bolstered."

Since earning his Ph.D. from CSU in 1973, Tsao has established four biotechnical research and diagnostic companies that have together created thousands of products now used in the research and diagnosis of cancer, infectious diseases, Down Syndrome and other medical conditions. Originally from Taiwan, Tsao built an extensive background in teaching and advising throughout Taiwan and China before entering the biotechnology industry. He came to the United States in 1968 to begin the doctoral program at CSU.

Tsao, who has been honored with an American Heart Association post-doctoral fellowship, has advanced medical research through personal experience. In 2003, a lump was detected in his chest. After surgery, Zymed Laboratories, a leading immuno-pathology company founded in 1980 by Tsao that was later acquired by Invitrogen in 2005, created a rapid test for detecting cancerous cells in biopsied lymph nodes that cut analysis time from 60 minutes to 8 minutes.

"Dean was an excellent student, very creative, productive and an entrepreneur," Azari said. "He was instrumental in advancing protein chemistry and pushed the research in the right direction. Dean is a world traveler and established clinical trial research in Taiwan on liver and esophagus cancer which are very prevalent in Taiwan."

Tsao and his wife, Ping-Ping, reside in the San Francisco area. They have two daughters.