Shuhai Xiao obtained his BSc (1988) and MSc (1991), both in Geology, from Peking University, and his PhD (1998) in Biology from Harvard University. He was an assistant professor at Tulane University (2000-2003), an assistant professor (2003-2005) and an associate professor (2005-2008) at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (also known as Virginia Tech), and has been a Professor of Geobiology at Virginia Tech since 2008. He was a recipient of the Charles Schuchert Award (2006) from the Paleontological Society, John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2010), and Mary Clark Thompson Medal (2021) from the National Academy of Sciences. He is a fellow of the Paleontological Society, Geological Society of America, and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Research Interests

Dr. Xiao studies the early evolution of eukaryotes, multicellularity, and animals, as well as environmental changes in the Proterozoic Eon, using integrated sedimentological, geochemical, and paleobiological data. His recent research projects are focused on the interactions between environmental changes and evolutionary innovations at critical transitions in Earth history, particularly the Ediacaran-Cambrian transition. These research projects have brought him to examine the rock record and fossil archive in many parts of the world, including Australia, Canada, China, India, Mongolia, Namibia, and Siberia.

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Primary Section

Section 15: Geology

Secondary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology