Elly Tanaka

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Elly Margaret Tanaka
Born Elly Margaret Tanaka
Alma mater
Scientific career
Fields molecular biology, regeneration
Thesis  (1993)
Doctoral advisor Marc W. Kirschner
Website www.imp.ac.at/groups/elly-tanaka/

Elly Margaret Tanaka (born 1965) is a biochemist and senior scientist at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, Austria. Tanaka studies the molecular cell biology of limb and spinal cord regeneration as well as the evolution of regeneration.

Research and career[edit]

Tanaka was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and obtained a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1987 and a PhD from the University of California, San Francisco in 1993, where she had worked in the lab of Marc W. Kirschner. She then became a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Jeremy Brockes at University College London until she started her own lab at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden (Germany) in 1999. In 2008, Tanaka became a professor at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) of the Technische Universität Dresden. She became director of the center in 2014,[1] before becoming senior scientist at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna in 2016.[2] The Mexican salamander species axolotl is Tanaka's main model system for her research. Using innovative molecular biology and microscopy methods, she identified those stem cells that underlie the regeneration of limbs and the spinal cord.[3]

Awards and honours[edit]

Tanaka was elected a member of the Academia Europaea in 2015[4] and of the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 2017.[5] She was awarded the Ernst Schering Prize in 2017, highlighting Tanaka as "the leading expert in the field of regeneration biology."[3]


  1. ^ Hoffmann, Ilire Hasani, Robert. "Academy of Europe: CV". www.ae-info.org.
  2. ^ Pathology, The Research Institute of Molecular. "Press Release: Elly Tanaka joins the IMP as Senior Scientist".
  3. ^ a b "Imaging Regeneration of Limbs and Neuronal Damage - Schering Stiftung". www.scheringstiftung.de.
  4. ^ Hoffmann, Ilire Hasani, Robert. "Academy of Europe: Tanaka Elly". www.ae-info.org.
  5. ^ Jukic, Igor. "EMBO welcomes 65 new members".