I am an Astronomy professor at the University of Iowa who studies the diverse population of massive galaxies and their environments. I obtained my B.S. from Nanjing University in 2003 and my Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Hawai’i (Advisor: Alan Stockton). After two postdocs at California Institute of Technology and University of California, Irvine, I joined the faculty of the University of Iowa in 2013.

I was born and raised in Xinjiang, near the border between Kazakhstan and China. I have been an amateur astronomer since teenage years. My first telescope is a 6-cm (2.4-in) refractor. I moved to the US to pursue a PhD in Astronomy in 2003. I enjoy reading and outdoor activities. I live in Iowa City with my wife May Guo (a social work professor) and our son Tian-Rui.


Research Interests

Galaxies like our Milky Way are the building blocks of the Universe. After decades of research, we now know that, over the past 13.7 billion years, massive galaxies like our Milky Way have grown from tiny overdensities in an essentially homogeneous universe to large ensembles of stars, gas, and dark matter. But it’s a complex process, because galaxies do not evolve in isolation and they exhibit large diversities. To make progress in this quest, astronomers divide the galaxy population into various categories at different epoches and study each category in great detail, hoping that eventually we will piece together a coherent story.

Previously, I have studied quasar extended emission-line regions (EELRs), the co-evolution of black holes and galaxies, double-peaked emission-line active galactic nuclei, and the brightest dusty star-forming galaxies. I have observed these fascinating objects with integral-field spectroscopy, adaptive optics, radio interferometers, and space-based telescopes.

Currently, my research interests focus on understanding the effects of galaxy mergers with SDSS-IV/MaNGA integral-field spectroscopy, probing dark matter in high-redshift star-forming galaxies with gas kinematics from ALMA, and tracing the large-scale gas supply of high-redshift starburst galaxies with quasar absorption-line spectroscopy.