Yao joined the Oxford Robotics Institute in October 2020 as a MSc student at Jesus College and is supervised by Prof. Perla Maiolino in the Soft Robotics Lab. She obtained her BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute. During the last year of her bachelor time, she worked as an intern in a self-driving excavator company called BuilderX, which introduced her into the robotics field.
Her current research interests at the Oxford Robotics Institute are centred around bio-inspired, origami-inspired soft robotics in medical or surgical application.
Outside of academia, Yao enjoys fitness, dancing and music.