Dr Tanja Mittag

Tanja Mittag’s lab studies the sequence/conformation/function relationships of intrinsically disordered proteins, in particular with respect to the roles they play in liquid-liquid phase separation and in the formation of membrane-less cellular organelles. She received her Ph.D. from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, where she studied protein-ligand interaction mechanisms with Ulrich Guenther using line shape analysis and relaxation dispersion NMR techniques. She then did Postdoctoral work at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and characterized the highly dynamic complex between Sic1 and Cdc4 in Julie Forman-Kay's laboratory, in collaboration with Lewis Kay and Mike Tyers. Multiple phosphorylation sites in Sic1 interact, one at a time, with the binding pocket in Cdc4, leading only to transient ordering of directly bound motifs while the rest of Sic1 remains disordered. This dynamic complex is crucial for regulating cell cycle progression in an ultrasensitive manner and may aid in "counting" phosphorylation sites through poly-electrostatic interactions. Tanja Mittag joined the Structural Biology Department at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis in 2010 and is now an Associate Member. She has received a V Foundation Scholar Award and her lab is NIH funded.