Tang graduated with a BAgSc (Hons) from Zhejiang Agricultural University (now Zhejiang University), China in 1982. He was then appointed as an Associate Lecturer at the same University. After obtaining a scholarship from the University of Western Australia in 1988, he carried out research on the role of iron in nodulation and nitrogen fixation in legumes and was awarded a Ph.D. Since 1991, he worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition at the University of Western Australia, and was later appointed as a Research Fellow in the Cooperative Research Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture, and in the Cooperative Research Centre for Plant-Based Management of Dryland Salinity. He joined the staff as a Senior Lecturer in 2003, and was promoted to Reader and Associate Professor in 2005, and to Professor in 2008.
His research interests include soil acidity and acidification, plant-soil interactions, rhizosphere chemistry and plant root exudation, subsoil constraints, and nutrient dynamics in natural and agro-ecosystems. He has supervised many Honours and Ph.D. students, Postdoctoral Fellows and visiting Scientists, and published 180+ papers in refereed international journals, 8 book chapters and 100+ conference papers/abstracts. He has been invited to give over 40 talks internationally and to chair conference sessions. Currently, he is an editorial board member of international journals "Plant and Soil", "Environmental & Experimental Botany" (2010-2015), "Frontiers in Plant Nutrition" and "Australian Journal of Soil Research" (2007-2010), an associate editor of "Crop & Pasture Science" and "Journal of Soils & Sediments", and referees papers for 30 international journals. He currently holds four guest/adjunct Professor posts at overseas institutions.