In Memoriam - Fan Hsu

To: UCSC Community

From: David Haussler, Director, Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering, and Professor, Biomolecular Engineering

Please join the Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering (CBSE) community in remembering Fan Hsu, who passed away peacefully in Cupertino, CA, on February 19, 2012, after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Fan worked as an engineer on the UCSC Genome Browser project from 2002 to 2012—his 10th anniversary would have been on February 27. His notable accomplishments include the UCSC Proteome Browser, the early versions of the widely used UCSC Genes annotation set for the human and mouse genomes, and his browser support for several medically oriented projects, including the HIV vaccine database project for Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases and early CBSE work on cancer genomics. Fan was passionate about his work on the browser project and the overall mission of the CBSE. He strongly believed in the group's ability to make a difference in the fields of cancer genomics and personalized medicine and was very proud to have the privilege to be a part of a project that so profoundly impacts science. Even after Fan became ill, he continued to contribute to the browser project and to urge the team to pursue opportunities to expand its influence in the areas of medical and cancer genomics.

Fan spent the early years of his life in Taiwan, where he studied nuclear engineering at National Tsing Hua University. After completing his mandatory military service, he received a scholarship from the School of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue University, where he earned both an MS and a PhD. Fan then moved to California with his wife, Millie, and embarked on a successful career in the science and technology industry.

Fan was an exceptionally devoted husband to his wife and a loving father to his son, Ray, both of Cupertino, CA. His boundless optimism and his perpetual cheerfulness brought joy and happiness into the lives of his family, friends, and colleagues. Fan strongly believed in the motto, “It takes a difference to make a difference.”

In his final months of life, he developed a concept he called “Bank of Caring," in which a chain of caring is established between those who provide help to others and recipients of the caring acts, who then have the moral obligation to help at least two more people. Fan believed that widespread adoption of this concept could make the world a better place.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that people do something to support Fan’s Bank of Caring idea, either through personal actions or by supporting an organization that promotes the chain of caring idea. Some international organizations that support this concept are Kiva, Heifer International, and Pay It Forward; local organizations include the Santa Cruz AIDS project, YouthServe, and WomenCare.