Lilian Hsu

Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry
Biochemistry of gene expression at the transcription level, specifically abortive initiation and promoter escape during the latter stage of transcription initiation

Lilian M. Hsu's research focuses on the mechanism of transcription initiation, a molecular process that is crucial to determining what genes will be expressed when and how much. Over the past two decades, scores of students have participated in Hsu's research projects. "This has been a marvelous experience for me," says Hsu, who enjoys "teaching [students] how to do research vigorously and well" and seeing her protégées "turned on to science and accepted by the very best graduate programs."

Hsu, who teaches biochemistry and molecular biology at Mount Holyoke, notes that the past two decades have brought a great many advances in the molecular sciences. "Teaching these courses allows me to keep up with the fields, constantly updating the lecture coverage, and linking what we learn in class to what is happening at the forefront of biomedical research."

For Hsu, one of the great rewards of teaching at Mount Holyoke is the individual relationship she has been able to develop with many of her students through advising, course work, and lab research.

The author of numerous scholarly articles, Hsu has published her research most recently in Biochemistry and the Journal of Biological Chemistry. In 2004, Hsu received a three-year, $405,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for her work in "Abortive Initiation and Promoter Escape by E. coli RNA Polymerase."

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