Graduate Students

  • Tyler Cann
    PhD Student

    Tyler Cann received his BA (2003) from McGill University in Economics and Religious Studies and his MA (2009) from Mahachulalongkorn University in Bangkok in Buddhist Studies. His PhD research interests include Sanskrit and Pali Buddhist literature; nuns in South Asian Buddhism; discord between Indian Buddhist praxis and the literary/canonical tradition; Buddhist, economic, and political institutional interrelation.

  • Caleb Carter
    PhD Candidate

    Caleb Carter received his BA (2000) in Philosophy from Colorado College, his MA (2008) in Buddhist Studies from UCLA, and is currently finishing his dissertation. His main focus lies in Japanese religions, particularly Shugendō (Japan’s tradition of mountain asceticism). Other interests include Esoteric Buddhism, Chinese religions, place studies, pilgrimage, and gender, intellectual history. Caleb’s research focuses on the formation of religious thought, practice and schools in the mountains of Japan from the fifteenth through mid-nineteenth centuries.  Centered on the site of Mt. Togakushi (Nagano Prefecture, central Japan), his dissertation considers the emergence of Shugendō as well as a cult devoted to a nine-headed dragon.  He conducted this research at Keio University (Tokyo) and Mt. Togakushi under fellowships from the Japan Foundation (2011-2012) and the Fulbright-Hays (2012-2013). Outside of studies, he’s usually hanging out with his kids and occasionally outside rock climbing or attempting to surf.


  • Lindsey Dewitt
    PhD Candidate

    Lindsey DeWitt’s dissertation research interest concerns the social and historical dimensions of Japanese Buddhism, particularly as it relates to the place of women and gender at pilgrimage and mountainous worship sites. She is broadly trained in Japanese religions, art history, history, and language, as well as Chinese religions and history. She holds an M.A. in International Studies/Comparative Religion from the University of Washington (2008) and a B.A. in Political Science/Asian Studies from Colorado State University (2004). In addition to scholarly pursuits, Lindsey is an avid photographer and purveyor of the arts and music.

  • Jessica Farquhar
    PhD Student

    Jessica Farquhar received her BA (2007) from George Mason University. She recently presented a paper based on her MA thesis, The Bald and the Beautiful: Ganikas and the Monastic Community in Early Buddhist Hagiographic Literature and Art, at the 43rd Annual Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast Conference. Her PhD focus at UCLA lies in both Art History and Buddhist studies. Jessica is currently examining regional variations of the Buddha's conception scene and representations of Maya (second century BCE–second century CE) at sites including Bharhut, Sanchi, Amaravati and Gandhara.

  • Matthew Hayes
    PhD Student

    Matthew Hayes received his BA (2006) in Religious Studies from the University of Oregon, where he returned for his MA (2012) in Asian Studies.  He is broadly interested in the interplay between ritual practice and social change in Japan during the Tokugawa period, as well as intersections of Japanese religion and ideology, economy, and geography.  He is currently exploring kōshiki (Buddhist ceremonial) texts with some of these issues in mind, and hopes to include facets of the kōshiki commentarial tradition in his future research.  In his free time he enjoys expanding his music collection, cooking, and exploring Los Angeles.

  • Soyeon Kim
    PhD Student

    Soyeon Kim is a PhD student in Art History.  Her research focuses on Buddhist paintings from the Choson Dynasty.

  • Sumi Lee
    PhD Candidate

    Sumi Lee received both her BS (1996) and MA (2000) from Seoul National University, first in Pharmacy and later in Philosophy. She received a second MA in Buddhist Studies from University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign (2006) before coming to UCLA. Her research interests include Korean Buddhism, East Asian Buddhism, and the broader Yogācāra tradition. She is currently working on her dissertation, tentatively entitled, "Toward a New Paradigm of East Asian Yogācāra Buddhism: Taehyŏn 大賢 (ca. 8th century CE), a Korean Yogācāra monk, and his Predecessors."

  • Britt Marlowe
    PhD Student

    Britt Marlow received an MA in Religious Studies, focusing on Tang dynasty Buddhism, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He spent the past three years living and working in Taiwan. His main research interest is the intersection of politics and religion, particularly during the Tang dynasty, and especially the roles that women played in this interaction.

  • Jason McCombs
    PhD Candidate

    Jason McCombs received his BS (1999) in Biology and Religion from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Education (2003) from Harvard University, and his MA (2009) in Buddhist Studies at UCLA. His PhD research interests include Mahayana Buddhist history and sutra literature, Indian epigraphy, religious and social identity, and religious giving. Jason’s extracurricular interests include reading literature, philosophy, and science, playing basketball and baseball, and most recently, hanging out with his new baby daughter.

  • Frederick Ranallo-Higgins
    PhD Student

    Frederick M. Ranallo-Higgins graduated from the University of Colorado in 2005 with a BA in Art History and Religious Studies and received his MA in Korean History from Columbia University in 2010; he is currently a PhD student in Buddhist Studies and Korean Religions. His research interests include Korean intellectual and religious history; subversion and dissent in Choson-period Korea; new religious and intellectual movements from Late Choson to the early years of Japanese occupation; Korean shamanism; and Won Buddhism. Frederick is also an active painter and is interested in occult studies.

  • Julie Romain
    PhD Candidate

    Julie Romain is currently a PhD Candidate in Art History and Assistant Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She received her BA (1995) in Art History at UC, San Diego, an MA (2001) in Humanities at the University of Chicago, and a second MA in Art History at UCLA in 2007. Her main areas of focus are South and Southeast Asian art and Buddhist art. She is presently working on her dissertation, which centers on Indian temple sculpture and courtly culture of the seventh to ninth century. Her most recent publication is “Art and Identity in the ‘Sanskrit Cosmopolis’” (Proceedings from the Conference on Early Indian Influences in Southeast Asia, Institute for Southeast Asia Studies, Singapore, forthcoming 2011).

  • Yu-Chen (Guo-Xing) Tsui
    PhD Student

    Yu-Chen Tsui (Guo Xing fashi) received her MA (1995) in Latin American Studies from Tamkang University, with the thesis, “Reforms in Church-State Relationship during Salinas’s Presidency in Mexico.” She received a second MA (2010) in Religious Studies from Columbia University before coming to UCLA for her PhD in Buddhist Studies. She is primarily interested in Chan Buddhism during the Song period. Outside of her studies, Guo Xing actively practices sitting meditation.

  • Dermott Walsh
    PhD Student

    Dermott J. Walsh received his BA (2003) in Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin, and his MA (2009) from Leiden University, the Netherlands, in Japanese Studies.  His research interests include early Zen in Japan, monastic regulations, and techniques of meditation in East Asian Buddhism.  Dermott has published on the Kyoto school of Japanese philosophy in the journal Asian Philosophy, and has recently contributed a co-authored article and translation to From the Things Themselves: Architecture and Phenomenology (2013, Kyoto University Press).

  • Jessica Woo
    PhD Student

    Jessica Woo received her BA (2003) in English and Korean Literature at Yonsei University and an MA (2005) in Premodern Japanese Literature at Columbia University. Her research interests include premodern Japanese religion and literature, formation and functions of sacred texts, Tokugawa period mysticism, and the ‘Three Teachings’ discourses of China, Japan and Korea. Her dissertation will focus on the history of the interpretation of Nihon shoki.

Center for Buddhist Studies • 11385 Bunche Hall • Box 951487 • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1487
Tel: (310) 825-2089 • Fax: (310) 206-3555 • Email:

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