Elly Tanaka

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Elly Margaret Tanaka
Elly Margaret Tanaka
Alma mater
Scientific career
Fieldsmolecular biology, regeneration
Thesis (1993)
Doctoral advisorMarc W. Kirschner

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.

Early life and education[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.[1] She then became a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Jeremy Brockes at University College London and Ludwig Institute.[1]

Research and career[edit]

Tanaka started her own lab at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden (Germany) in 1999.[1] Her research focused on axolotl spinal cord regeneration.[1]

In 2008, Tanaka became a professor at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) of the Technische Universität Dresden.[1] She became director of the center in 2014,[2] before becoming senior scientist at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna in 2016.[3] The Mexican salamander species axolotl is Tanaka's main model system for her research and is also working to translate them to mouse and human tissue.[4] Using innovative molecular biology and microscopy methods, she identified those stem cells that underlie the regeneration of limbs and the spinal cord.[5] She is a member of the Editorial Board for Developmental Cell.[6]

Awards and honours[edit]

Tanaka was elected a member of the Academia Europaea in 2015,[2] of the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 2017, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 2021[7].[8] She was awarded the Ernst Schering Prize in 2017, highlighting Tanaka as "the leading expert in the field of regeneration biology".[5] In 2018, she was awarded the Erwin Schrödinger Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences for lifetime achievements.[9] In 2020, she was awarded the FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Oral History | Elly Tanaka". library.cshl.edu. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Academy of Europe: CV". Academia Europaea. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Press Release: Elly Tanaka joins the IMP as Senior Scientist". The Research Institute of Molecular Pathology. Archived from the original on 27 September 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Elly Tanaka • iBiology". iBiology. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Imaging Regeneration of Limbs and Neuronal Damage - Schering Stiftung". www.scheringstiftung.de. Archived from the original on 27 September 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Editorial Board: Developmental Cell". www.cell.com. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  7. ^ Pathology, Research Institute of Molecular. "Elly Tanaka elected member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences". The Research Institute of Molecular Pathology. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  8. ^ Jukic, Igor. "EMBO welcomes 65 new members". EMBO. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Höchste Akademie-Preise für Neurowissenschafter, Biologen und Historiker" (in German). Der Standard. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Elly Tanaka receives the FEBS". EMBO. 18 February 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2021.