Dr. Houng-Wei Tsai

What fears or anxieties did you have about going to college?

Fear of failure was a big one for me. Being the first in my family to attend college, I felt the pressure to serve as a role model for my younger brother and sister and carry out my future for myself and my parents. Another thing that gave me anxiety was the fear and uncertainty of college. As a freshman, I wasn't familiar with how higher education worked, nor did I understand the inner workings of college. I didn’t realize the importance of seeking out help from professors when I was overwhelmed. In addition, I was unsure if I wanted to major in occupational therapy; and if not, what path I wanted to take.


  • Ph.D., University of Kentucky

College is not meant to be easy. You are supposed to be challenged, so you can grow in all aspects of life. First, try to understand yourself and your fear of failure. Go out of your comfort zone, overcome your anxiety, prioritize, and make wise choices. In addition, study and stay on top of all your work, which will prevent you from falling behind and creating extra anxiety. It is really hard to catch up and bring up your GPA once you have fallen behind. Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it because most faculty are willing to help.

Gardening, karaoke, listening to music, reading, walking, and watching movies.

  1. Knife
  2. Satellite phone
  3. Matches

Using mice as a model system, my research focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms underlying brain sexual differentiation, a critical developmental process that creates anatomical differences in neural structures and accompanying physiological differences between the sexes. Besides broadening the participation of graduate and undergraduate students at CSULB in basic biomedical research, our research projects aim to advance the understanding of the biological basis for sex differences, which will ultimately improve healthcare for both men and women. My primary instructional activities have been focused on teaching three biology courses, BIOL 213 (Introduction to Ecology and Physiology), BIOL 342 (Human/Mammalian Physiology), and BIOL 448/548 (Principles of Neurobiology). I also teach BIOL 342L (Laboratory in Human/Mammalian Physiology), BIOL 443/543 (Endocrinology), and BIOL 666 (Seminar in Physiology).