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 2006, and to Professor in 2009.
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 250 papers in refereed international journals, 8 book chapters and 100+ conference papers/abstracts. He has been invited to give over 50 talks internationally and to chair conference sessions. Currently, he has been an editorial board member of "Environmental & Experimental Botany" (2010-2015), "Frontiers in Plant Nutrition" (2011-2017) and "Australian Journal of Soil Research" (2007-2010), and currently consulting editor of "Plant and Soil" (2001-), associate editor of "Crop & Pasture Science" (2007-) and "Journal of Soils & Sediments" (2007-), and referees papers for 30 international journals. He currently holds four guest/adjunct Professor posts at overseas institutions.
Prof Tang is the coordinator and lecturer of the core subject AGR3LS (Land and Soil Management). In the last 15 years, he has supervised/co-supervised 50 Honours and 27 PhD students, and many visiting scientists to successful completion. Among these, five PhD graduates were awarded the Nancy Millis PhD Excellence Prize which is awarded to the top 5% of theses. Tang has received the Dean’s Award for excellence in teaching (2005), Vice-Chancellor’s commendation for teaching excellence (2007) and Inaugural La Trobe University Excellence in Research Supervision Award (2019). He was elected as a Fellow of Soil Science Australia in 2018.