Tanya Dahms was born and schooled in Guelph, Ontario. She specialized in Biology and Chemistry at the University of Waterloo (B. Sc. 1990) and then doctoral studies as a National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) scholar in the area of protein fine structure and dynamics (Ph. D. 1996) at Ottawa University and the Institute for Biological Sciences at the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada. Subsequently she was awarded an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship to study protein architecture by X-ray crystallography at Purdue University. It was there that she worked with and became interested in membrane proteins and the associated cell interfaces and began to seek out microscopy techniques to facilitate their study, leading her to the Steacie Institute of Molecular Sciences at NRC as an NSERC/NRC visiting fellow. Tanya was appointed to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Regina (UofR) as an Assistant Professor in 1999 to teach and establish a biochemistry laboratory focusing on cell interfaces.
She launched and maintains the UofR scanning probe microscopy that specializes in atomic force microscopy (AFM), and which she has recently expanded to include integrated AFM and confocal/fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). She is currently full professor in the same department and her work focuses on the surface architecture of various microbes as a function of growth, development and xenobiotics (i.e. antifungal drugs, herbicides). Together with her group, she has pioneered the high resolution imaging of live fungal hyphae for studying polarized growth. Her current work focuses on evaluating microbial growth and development, and dysfunction in response to biosynthetic cell wall/envelope mutants and xenobiotics by atomic force microscopy (AFM), force spectroscopy, scanning electron-, confocal microscopy, FCS and metabolomics. Dahms has been a visiting fellow to NIH, co-recipient of the AstraZeneca award in Chemistry, has served on numerous grant selection committees, at the international (NSF), national (NSERC) and provincial (SHRF) levels, regularly reviews for wide-readership international journals and has been an invited speaker in Europe and Korea. She was awarded the 2012 UofR President’s Teaching and Learning Scholar with Drs. Gendron and Pontes-Ferriera, acknowledging her highly innovative teaching practice. Tanya is grateful to the students, postdoctoral fellows, collaborators, University of Regina staff, collaborators, University of Regina staff, and granting agencies that make her research program possible.