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Elly Tanaka to become Scientific Director of IMBA

14 Mar 2024
Good-bye, axolotl! Elly Tanaka will become IMBA Scientific Director next month. Credit: IMP/T. Kulcsar.

After more than seven highly successful years as IMP Senior Group Leader, Elly Tanaka will leave the institute to become Scientific Director of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA). IMP management is excited about the opportunities for furthering campus cohesion at the Vienna BioCenter.

The Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) announced this week that it selected IMP Senior Group Leader Elly Tanaka as Scientific Director of its Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA), the IMP’s partner institute. The IMP management welcomed the announcement and the opportunities for further cohesion of the Vienna BioCenter’s growing campus.

“Elly Tanaka’s seven years at the IMP were extremely fruitful scientifically, they also made her an integral part of the Vienna BioCenter community,” says IMP Scientific Director Jan-Michael Peters. “Elly combines an extremely distinguished international career with being a highly respected member of our community with an excellent understanding of the campus dynamics. Even though we are sad about Elly leaving the IMP, we are also very proud of her and happy since I could not imagine a more suitable director for IMBA, and I really look forward to continuing working with Elly in her new role.”

Harald Isemann, IMP Managing Director for Finance and Administration and chairman of the Vienna BioCenter association, says: “Since the creation of IMBA more than 20 years ago, IMBA and IMP were the pacemakers for turning the Vienna BioCenter into the dynamic innovation hub we see today. Close links and synergies between the two institutes benefit the entire campus, and I am convinced that Elly’s visionary leadership and dynamic energy will significantly strengthen our position at the forefront ofof biomedical research in Europe.”

Elly Tanaka will take up her new position with IMBA in April.

About Elly Tanaka

Elly Tanaka was born in Boston (United States) and studied biochemistry at Harvard University before doing a PhD at the University of California San Francisco. She turned her attention to regeneration in salamanders during a postdoctoral fellowship at University College London (UK). Tanaka started her own lab at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden (Germany) in 1999. She became a professor at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) in 2008, an institution of which she later became director. In 2016, Elly Tanaka joined the IMP as a Senior Group Leader.

Tanaka’s research interests seek to improve our understanding of regeneration and investigating the differences in regenerative abilities between species and at different phases of the life cycle drawing primarily from work on axolotls, frogs, mice, and tissue culture.

Tanaka has received many awards for her work, including the German Stem Cell Network Female Scientist Award (2017), the Ernst Schering Award (2017), the Schrödinger Award of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2018), and the FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award (2020). Elly Tanaka is an elected full member of the Academia Europaea (2015), the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO, 2017), the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW, 2021), and the US National Academy of Sciences (2023).

Further Reading

IMBA - Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences