Research Assistant Professor
I’m a multi-disciplinary vertebrate palaeontologist from Hong Kong. Over the last 8 years I have been a Research Assistant Professor leading the Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory. I earned a BSc in Geology from UCL in 2006 before progressing to an MSc in Geoscience (palaeobiology) in 2007. I pursued a PhD on ‘The evolution and biomechanics of dinosaurian tails’ with Profs. Paul Upchurch and John R Hutchinson (RVC), completing in 2012.
My primary research interest is the evolution of dinosaurs, particularly the dinosaur-bird transition and the origin of flight. My research has filled significant gaps in our understanding of early flight development and has uncovered pertinent voids that I actively pursue and will continue to investigate in the longer term. I also have research interests in palaeocolour reconstruction as well as dietary reconstruction, feeding mechanics and cranial organisation in dinosaurs and other reptiles.
I support my work with integrated study approaches involving modern anatomical imaging, chemical analysis, biomechanical modelling, developmental biology and phylogenetic reconstruction. Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence (LSF) is a laser-based imaging technique that I co-developed to reveal otherwise hidden anatomy preserved in fossils.
I have produced 32 peer-reviewed publications and the edited volume Pennaraptoran Theropod Dinosaurs: Past Progress and New Frontiers and achieved 725 citations and a h-index score of 15. I have published research in journals such as Systematic Biology, Biological Reviews, PNAS, Nature Ecology & Evolution, Science Bulletin, Nature Communications and Current Biology. My work has continuously received international media coverage including from the BBC and National Geographic.
I support my work through active collaborations with a range of leading international experts. These include Prof. Xu Xing (IVPP, China), Prof. Xiaoli Wang (Linyi University, China) and Prof. Xiaoting Zheng (Tianyu Museum, China). My fieldwork in the Chinese Gobi desert led to the discovery of the dromaeosaurid Linheraptor and the alvarezsaurid Linhenykus. I currently have a fieldwork project in Patagonia with Dr. Diego Pol (MEF, Argentina).
My strong teaching background is recognised by an HE Advance Fellowship (FHEA) that draws on experience teaching undergraduate to PhD level courses and the award-winning MOOC Dinosaur Ecosystems.
I contribute to university leadership and management as the Assistant Dean for E-Learning in the Faculty of Science, the Chairman of the departmental Outreach Committee and the departmental Advisory Board Secretary.
Prospective students and postdoctoral fellows with shared research interests are welcome to enquire about opportunities in my lab.