Tanja Mittag, Ph.D., associate member of the Department of Structural Biology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will receive the 2021 Michael and Kate Barany Award from the Biophysical Society. The award recognizes early to mid-career researchers for outstanding rigorous and foundational contributions to the field of biophysics.
Mittag is being honored for her work on phase separation of membrane-less organelles, structures in cells that lack a clear boundary from the surrounding cytoplasm. Membrane-less organelles, also called biomolecular condensates, extensively compartmentalize cells and play roles in ribosome assembly, RNA sequestration upon stress and RNA splicing. Mittag’s work has identified how genetic mutation can influence membrane-less organelles thus affecting the development of diseases such as cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“Tanja is a star among young biophysicists and her work has been central in identifying and highlighting the importance of intrinsically disordered regions in phase separation of membrane-less organelles,” said Catherine A. Royer, the Biophysical Society president, and a faculty member at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Mittag, who joined St. Jude in 2010 will be honored during the society’s 65th Annual Meeting held virtually Feb. 22-26, 2021.
“I am very honored to receive this prestigious award,” Mittag said. “My particular gratitude goes to the hard-working and brilliant members of my lab and to the many colleagues who have made our work in this highly disciplinary field possible and fun.”
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.