2023 the Academy of Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Specific Area or Research
Dr. Tsai is a professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota, where he began his career as the director of the Biochemical Genetics Laboratory. His study of homocystinuria led him to partially sequencing the cystathionine-beta-synthase (CBS) gene in the 1990s and discovery of a large number of novel mutations in the CBS gene. This work significantly contributed to the understanding of genetic predisposition to hyperhomocysteinemia as well as the importance of hyperhomocysteinemia as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and venous thrombosis. At the same time, he began the study of lipoprotein subspecies as a CVD risk factor. This continued with the more recent publications on the use of apolipoprotein B (ApoB) and small dense LDL-C as risk enhancing factors. In addition, Dr. Tsai focused his study on lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)), demonstrating that Lp(a) is not only a risk factor of CAD, but also strongly associated with such diseases as aortic valve stenosis, heart failure and atrial fibrillation. ApoB and Lp(a) were both recently recognized as risk-enhancing factors by the 2018 AHA/ACC multi-society guidelines, and the use of these biomarkers is increasingly changing the clinical practice of CVD prevention.
Dr. Tsai participates in many large NLHBI-funded longitudinal CVD population studies as director of the Central Laboratories. In particular, Dr. Tsai joined the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study from its inception, is the director of its central laboratories, and significantly contributed to this important NHLBI study of cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Tsai has over 420 peer-reviewed publications, served as chair of the LVDD and was a recipient of both the Zak and Cooper awards.