Jiaqi Yao obtained a B.A. in Chinese language and literature from East China Normal University. Afterwards, she studied at Division of Humanities of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and achieved her M.A. in Asian studies from University of British Columbia.

Her primary research interests lie in modern Chinese literature and culture, including studies of popular magazines, urban literature, and theatre in the Republican era. Her current project is about the mobility of Chinese literature and culture during World War II and Civil War period.