Our Team

The founder

Heather R. Lee

Professor Heather R. Lee launched the Chinese Restaurant Database, a historical data-gathering project, in 2011. She is an Assistant Professor of History at NYU Shanghai, where she teaches courses on Asian migration and U.S. urban history. She earned her PhD in American Studies from Brown University and held the Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship at MIT. She is currently the David Lion Gardiner Fellow at the New-York Historical Society.

Her research has been featured in NPR, Atlantic magazine, and Gastropod, a podcast on food science and history. She has advised and curated exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society, the National Museum of American History, and the Museum of Chinese in America.

For more information about Professor Lee, visit HeatherRuthLee.com.

Project Coordinator

Hong Deng Gao

Hong Deng Gao is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. history at Columbia University, with interests in race and ethnicity, immigration, and public health. In 2015, she graduated from Pomona College with a degree in History and completed a senior thesis on Chinese restaurants in Honolulu, San Francisco and New York City.

She began working on the Chinese Restaurant Database project in 2014, focusing mainly on data collection. Since 2016, she has worked to recruit, train and manage student workers to collect and input data for the project.

Data Visualization

Sarah Tahir

Sarah is a passionate programmer, filmmaker and digital artist currently studying Interactive Media Arts at NYU. Her interests range from biotech to film noir. She is driven by innovation, efficiency and how those desires manifest themselves in our world.


Marina Victoria Pascual

Marina Victoria Pascual is a New York-born and Madrid-raised undergraduate student majoring in Interactive Media Arts at NYU Shanghai, with a minor in Studio Art and Psychological Studies. Most of her work involves either creative coding, 3D animations, video art or audiovisual performances.

As a young aspiring artist, Marina uses her digital skills to express her thoughts on the limits of the human body and our perception of the world.


Trevor Fraley

Trevor is an illustrator from New Jersey who has always been fascinated by art and animation. From a young age he found that drawing was something that would have a great presence in his life.

In 2016 he graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a Bachelors in Fine Arts. Since then he has worked on a number of freelance positions such as Character Designer for Silverclutch Games and Coloring Book Illustrator for Infinity Coloring Books.

Trevor provides illustration and design elements to aid others along their path to success.

Data Entry Participants

Alex Ngyuen

Dyadra Saulsberry

Elisabeth Fisher

Emira Sabanovic

Fiona Zhang

Kelly Yan

Jia Zhao

Jiahe Tian

Liam Han Shaw

Lichen Dong

Lu (Mandy) Guo

Nofar Hamrany

Shaoyu Zhang

Tian Tian Wedgewood Young

Vittoria Vitucci

Wanning (Victoria) Fu

Xiaoyue Luo

Yuchen Ye

Yunqi Song

Yunzhu (Casey) Pan

Zhebin (Daniel) Huang