Tianyi Xu

Graduate Student


Hi! My name is Tianyi and I joined the Kemp lab in Fall 2022. I was born and raised in Shanghai, China. When I was a kid, my parents would often take me on long road trips across the country, visiting different parts of China with cool natural history museums and natural wonders. I fell in love with the fascinating wildlife that I encountered in nature and decided to study biology, and more specifically, ecology and evolutionary biology, to better understand how organisms interact between themselves and with the environment.

I moved to the United States after high school and received my Bachelor of Science in Biology with Highest Honors from Emory University in 2022. I had the opportunity to volunteer and work in a variety of labs in my undergraduate career, including microbial ecology, evolutionary ecology, and paleobiology labs. I played around with gut microbiome and diets of bean beetles for almost two years of college. With experiences in labs in different fields, I notice how important interdisciplinary skills are and hope to incorporate different methods in my graduate research.

I have always been enthusiastic about conservation, vertebrate biology and paleobiology, and was thrilled when I learned that paleontological methods can be used to inform conservation and restoration strategies. As a new graduate student in the Kemp lab, I am interested in phenotypic variations and changes in biodiversity through time in the Caribbean, using reptilian systems. I also look forward to participating in scientific outreach and education, to help establish the bridge between scientists and the general public.

I have many interests and hobbies - I spend most of my free time doing photography, mostly on landscapes and wildlife, especially when I am traveling and visiting national parks. Nature photography has helped me record my footprints and further embrace the beauty of the world. I also like learning new cultures, designing graphics, building legos, playing with my pet leopard gecko and parakeets, and doing outdoor sports such as hiking and kayaking.