Ting Li (李婷)

Assistant Professor
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of Toronto
50 St George Street
Toronto, ON M5S 3H4

Office: +1-416-946-7291

Email: ting [.] li [AT] astro [.] utoronto [.] ca

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and an Associated Faculty Member of the Dunlap Institute, at the University of Toronto.

Before joining the University of Toronto in 2021, I was the 2019 NASA Hubble Fellow at Carnegie Observatories, with a joint appointment in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University as a Carnegie-Princeton Fellow. I was a Leon Lederman Fellow at the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics during 2016-2019. I earned my PhD at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Texas A&M University. I received the Eramus Mundus Scholarship for a Joint European Master in Space Science and Technology (SpaceMaster), during which I stayed in Germany, Sweden, France and Japan for 6 months each. I completed my undergraduate at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, with a major in Physics and a minor in Diplomacy.

I'm an observational astrophysicist working on near-field cosmology, Galactic archaeology, and metal-poor stars. My main interest is to study the Milky Way halo and use that to understand the formation history of the Milky Way and the nature of dark matter. In particular, I study interesting substructures in our local Universe, including stellar streams and dwarf galaxies, with modern imaging surveys such as the Dark Energy Survey (DES). After finding them, I follow up the stars in the streams and galaxies to study their kinematic and chemical properties, using large optical telescopes all over the world. In Summer 2018, I initiated the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey, or S5, to map the kinematics and chemistry of stellar streams in the Southern Hemisphere. I was the convenor of the DES Milky Way Working Group in 2018-2021.

Apart from the science interest, I am also an instrument builder. During my postdoc, I was actively involved in the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Survey. In particular, I am building the focus and alignment system for DESI, which is an essential component for the survey commissioning and operation. In my graduate school, I worked in the Munnerlyn Astronomical Instrumentation Lab, where I helped design and built the auxiliary calibration systems, namely aTmCam and DECal, for DES, which are used to improve the precision of the photometric calibration to better than 1%. I have also worked on a few other instrumentation projects, such as the Giant Magellan Telescope and the HETDEX project, etc.

For Students and Postdocs

I have several research projects suitable for undergrad and graduate students at UofT, either through Supervised Courses or Summer Programs at UofT. Feel free to send me an email if you are interested in. I am always happy to talk to the students if there is anything you wish to discuss or chat about, e.g. research, teaching, career development, etc. Feel free to either shoot me an email, or message me on the UofT Astro Slack.

I have an open postdoctoral position starting Sept 2022. Job Ads can be found here. If you are looking for a postdoctoral position, feel free to email me.

If you are interested in learning more about my research field in dwarf galaxies, here are some good articles for beginners: Dwarf galaxies yesterday, now and tomorrow (by Denija Crnojević and Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil), Illuminating the Darkest Galaxies (Joshua Simon and Marla Geha).

More about me

Recent Travel Schedule

Curriculum Vita (Latest Update: Dec 15, 2020)

Publication on ADS and Google Scholar
(Ting Li is really the most common name in China, so it's really a pain to find my own papers. I therefore decided to go with T. S. Li or Ting S. Li from 2015. )

Languages spoken: Chinese, Japanese, English

Media Press Coverage

07/2020: Phoenix Stream: The ancient stars that time forgot, published by Nature, featured in Nature, ABC, c|net, Space Australia, The Register, Vice and more. The images/videos are available here.

11/2019: S5-HVS1: Discovery of 1700 km/s star from Galactic center, covered by NYTimes, CBSNews, Independent, Forbes, Guardian, Newsweek, ABC, etc. The images/videos are available here.

04/04/2019: 2019 recipient of the NASA Hubble Fellowship (short bio)

03/16/2016: 2016 recipient of the Fermilab's Lederman Fellowship

04/17/2015: Fermilab Today: The first confirmed dwarf galaxy in DES.

03/23/2015: An interview of me by College of Science at Texas A&M.

01/06/2015: Fermilab Today: One of the best Supernova nights in DES while I was the run manager.

10/31/2014: An aTmCam story featured on PHYS.ORG