Spotlight on Lei Tang, Nature Methods editor

Associate Editor Lei Tang handles papers in the areas of genomics, gene editing, DNA nanotechnology and microbiology - basically anything related to nucleic acids - for Nature Methods. Get to know a little more about her in this Q&A.

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Q: Where is your hometown? 

LT: I grew up in Xi’an - one of the oldest cities in China. Xi’an is also the home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Q: Where did you go for undergrad and PhD? 

LT: I did my undergrad in Tianjin University, and did my PhD work at Duke University under the supervision of Dr. Stefan Zauscher, where I studied template-free ssDNA synthesis methods using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase.


Q: When did you realize that you wanted to be a scientist?

LT: I realized that I wanted to become a scientist when I was working on my undergraduate research project. The project was about designing a nonviral vector for efficient gene transfection. At that moment, I realized that there are so many questions that we just do not have answers for and there is so much to explore in biology. I felt I would never get bored if I were a scientist. 


Q: Why did you decide to leave the bench and become an editor?

LT: Being honest – I did not enjoy pipetting or waiting for centrifugation. I feel, as an editor, I can have my favorite parts of science, and leave out the pipetting and centrifuging.


Q:  What do you like best about being an editor?

LT: As an editor, part of my job is to keep an eye on the cutting-edge research – I appreciate the opportunities to explore the broadness of science and constantly to update my “knowledge database”. 

Q: What is your favorite place in the world to visit?

LT: There are many places that I’d like to visit in the world. Amsterdam is one of my favorite places. When I visited Amsterdam with two friends in 2013, it was my first time traveling in Europe. We biked around the city while it was snowing – it was amazingly beautiful.


Q: What is your favorite cuisine?

LT: Of course, Chinese! I also like Korean cuisine, particularly bibimbap.


Q:  Have you read any good books lately?

LT: I like reading science fiction. Recently, I read Ted Chiang’s Exhalation that is a collection of short stories. I read Chiang’s “Story of your life” many years ago, which was adapted to the film Arrival in 2016. 

Allison Doerr

Chief Editor, Nature Methods, Springer Nature

Allison has been an editor with Nature Methods since 2005, and chief editor since November 2018. She has been responsible for all areas of biochemistry for the journal, including structural biology and proteomics. Prior to her editorial career, she completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Princeton University, where she studied de novo protein design and protein-ligand interactions using NMR spectroscopy.
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