Tang, Dora

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (Germany)

Date of Birth:     31 December 1982

Institution:          Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology, Pfotenhauerstrasse. 108, 01307

Position:              Independent Research Group Leader

Email:                    tang@mpi-cbg.de



2007-2010                          PhD studies in Membrane Biophysics, Imperial College London, UK

Supervisors Profs. John Seddon and Richard Templer

2002-2006                          MSc in Chemistry, Imperial College London


Professional Career

Since 2016                          Independent Research Group leader, MPI-CBG, MaxSynBio, Dresden

2014-2016                          Post-doc in Synthetic Biology, with Prof. Stephen Mann and Dr. Ross Anderson,

University of Bristol, U.K.

2011-2014                           Post-doc in Origin of Life studies, with Prof. Stephen Mann, University of Bristol, U.K.

2010-2011                         Knowledge Transfer Secondee, Diamond Light Source, Oxfordshire, UK.


Fellowships and Awards

2019-present                     Fellow of Elisabeth-Schiemann Kolleg, Max Planck Society

2018                                       Fellow, Centre for Advanced studies, Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich

Since 2016                           Fellow, B Cube, Center for Molecular Bioengineering, TU Dresden

2010-2011                            EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Secondment

2006                                       Degussa Prize for Physical Chemistry


Coacervates as protocellular models?


In the 1920’s Oparin hypothesized that membrane free compartments formed by coacervation would have provided a viable route to compartmentalize prebiotic reactions as a precursor to the modern cell. Studies which support this hypothesis are limited in that the precise chemical composition and conditions on prebiotic earth remain a mystery. Despite this, using bottom-up approaches allows us to generate physically relevant protocell models in the lab. This provides a means to unravel the effect of compartmentalization by coacervation can have provided a selection pressure for facilitating the transition from a chemical world to a biological world.

Here, I will present strategies for the design and synthesis of protocell models based on liquid-liquid phase separation of oppositely charged components (coacervates) and describe how these compartments can provide alternative environments compared to buffer solution to tune reaction kinetics.

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