Associate Curator of Fossil Reptiles
The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.


Personal

I grew up in Pasadena, CA. I’m first generation Chinese and second generation Irish. I first became interested in Geology through my mom, who also has a PhD in Earth Science. I was introduced to Paleontology by Dr. Donald Prothero while studying at Occidental College (Class of ’04). Inspired by the mind-blowing process of evolution and the amazing feathered dinosaurs being unearthed in China, I decided to study paleontology and focus on Chinese fossils. I did my PhD studying Mesozoic birds at the University of Southern California (2009) with Drs David Bottjer and Luis Chiappe (Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History). After graduation I moved to Beijing, China where I worked for almost 11 years with Dr. Zhonghe Zhou at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology. In 2020 I returned to the US, where I now live in Chicago with my husband and two dogs. I love dancing, reading, good food and wine, and traveling. 

Research

My research explores the repeated evolution (and parallel refinement) of flight in the Dinosauria, the dinosaur-bird transition, and the biology of stem-avians, not through any one aspect but exploring Paraves through the evolution of feathers and complex plumages, aerodynamics, reproduction, respiration, trophics, systematics, ontogeny, and taxonomy. Taking advantage of the exceptional soft tissue preservation of the Jehol Biota, I seek to go beyond skeletal anatomy, to understand the biology of stem birds and their closest relatives and trace the evolution of modern avian features.