College of Natural Sciences Honors Alumnus
Dean Tsao (Ph.D., biochemistry, ’73)
Dr. Dean Tsao is a Ph.D. graduate of the College of Natural Sciences at Colorado State University, earning a doctorate in biochemistry in 1973. Since this time, Dr. Tsao has had more than 30 years of success in the biotechnology industry. After graduating from CSU, he was honored with the American Heart Association Post-Doctorate Fellowship. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dr. Tsao was a visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Beijing, and adjunct professor at Chang Gung Medical College, Taiwan, and visiting scientist at Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan.
Dr. Tsao not only became an accomplished scientist, having authored more than 40 scientific publications and currently holding more than 20 patents, but he is also a successful entrepreneur with an excellent track record of growing valuable companies in the biotech community. The companies he established have developed thousands of products that are currently being used in the diagnosis and research of cancer, HIV, Down syndrome, and numerous other medical conditions. The companies he founded include Zymed Laboratories, which was acquired by Life Technologies (Invitrogen) in 2005; Genemed Synthesis, which was acquired by Texas Resources in 2006; and Genemed Biotechnologies, which was acquired by Sakura Finetek at the end of 2015. Dr. Tsao currently serves as the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Plexbio, a company that introduces breakthrough multiplex technology for companion diagnostics in precision medicine. Plexbio is listed in the emerging stock market in Taiwan and is expected to make its initial public offering next year.
Dr. Tsao has a great excitement for innovative technologies and is passionate about commercializing these opportunities to help those in need in the health care industry. This kind of passion was evident in his own life, when he discovered he had breast cancer in 2003. Through his mastectomy, he identified a diagnostic problem. The surgical procedure that detected the presence of cancer cells in sentinel lymph nodes took more than an hour to complete during his surgery. Dr. Tsao knew that he could shorten that analysis time and cut the overall time of a patient under anesthesia. He created a rapid test that cut the detection time from more than 60 minutes to a mere 10 minutes.
Dr. Tsao is proud of the education he received at CSU and, to date, has donated more than $700,000 to the College of Natural Sciences. He currently resides in both Taiwan and California with his wife, Ping-Ping, and enjoys spending time with his two daughters, Connie and Carolyn, his sons-in-law, and four grandchildren.