The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Research Medical Library

Making Cancer History Voices Collection

Dr. Tao-Chiuh (T.C.) Hsu Interview 1, April 11, 2001

Descriptive Summary

Collection: Making Cancer History Voices Oral History Collection:
Interviewee: Hsu, T. C. (Tao-Chiuh), Hsu, T. C. (Tao-Chiuh), 1917-
Interviewer: Brunet, Lesley Williams
Title: T. C. Hsu oral history
Dates: April 11, 2001
Collection ID: OH-HsuTC-20010411
Original Format: Audiocassette
Format: 1 streaming video file and 1 interview transcript
Interview Length: 1.5 hours
Language: Materials are in English
Repository: Historical Resources Center, Research Medical Library,The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Biographical Note

Dr. Tao-Chiuh (T. C.) Hsu is considered internationally to be the father of modern cytogenetics. He was born and raised in China where he did his undergraduate work at the National University of Chekiang in1941. Dr. Hsu came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in zoology at the University of Texas in Austin, 1948. This was followed by doctorate studies and post-doctoral research at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston from 1951 to 1955. In 1952, Dr. Hsu accidentally discovered the hypotonic solution to separate a chromosome, a breakthrough for cytogenetic research.

Dr. Hsu became associate professor at M. D. Anderson in 1955. He built a laboratory which fostered an international community of scientists in cytogenetic research. Dr. Hsu always welcomed collaboration and helped identify a unique method of charting individual segments of chromosomes.

Dr. Hsu’s contribution to medical research includes over 300 scientific articles. He was the editor for the Atlas of Mammalian Chromosomes and the author of a book in cytogenetics. Dr. was a member of several influential cellular research societies, including the National Institute of Health section of cellular studies and the American Society for Cell Biology. He was also a prolific guest speak at numerous cancer and genetics conferences. . Dr. Hsu was a well respected faculty member at M. D. Anderson, where he won numerous awards recognizing his work. He also held several presidential and chair positions within the institution. . Dr. Hsu passed away July 9, 2003 at the age of 86.

Interview Abstract

The interview with Dr. Tao-Chiuh Hsu begins with the doctor recounting his early career in the United States as a graduate student at the University of Texas in Austin and the University of Texas, Medical Branch in Galveston. He shares his story about how he stumbled upon the hypotonic solution to separate chromosomes for deeper analysis of genes. Dr. Hsu explains his reasons for leaving the Medical Branch and joining M. D. Anderson for greater laboratory and teaching opportunities. He shares an anecdote about the original main building of the institution. The interview explores Dr. Hsu’s promotions and positions held within the institution and touches on his relationships and collaborative work with Drs. R. Lee Clark, Charles M. Pomerat, Felix Haas, and Daniel Billen. Dr. Hsu shares his cultural experiences in terms of language barriers, naturalization and family immigration process. The interview concludes with Dr. Hsu answering questions about colleagues who worked with him in his lab over the years.


Restrictions on Access

Portions of this interview has been redacted.

Restrictions on Use

All requests for copying of materials must be submitted to the Historical Resources Center in writing for approval. All reproductions will be handled by HRC staff

Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce must be obtained in writing by the Historical Resources Center

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Hsu, T. C. (Tao-Chiuh), 1917-
Subjects (Organizations)
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center -- history
Cell Biology
Genetic Research
Hospital Departments
Hospitals, Special
Hypotonic Solutions
Laboratories, Hospital
Molecular Biology
Houston (TX)
Oral History

Administrative Information


The interview was conducted between Dr. Tao-Chiuh Hsu and Lesley W. Brunet, April 11, 2001 in Houston, Texas.

Preferred Citation

Dr. Tao-Chiuh (T.C.) Hsu Interview 1, April 11, 2001, Research Medical Library, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Processing Information

Oral history was edited by Mikha Mitchell, Fall 2010.



Hsu, T C. Human and Mammalian Cytogenetics: An Historical Perspective . Heidelberg science library. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1979. Print.



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