Research & Teaching


I work on the boundaries and individualities of organisms and their environments. How do organisms construct their niches? How should we conceptualize the processes involved in a multi-cellular host organism and its trillions of microbiota?

Areas of Specialization: Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Science, Science Communication

Areas of Competence: Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science, Intro to Philosophy, Logic and Reasoning

Research positions

  • Postdoc Researcher, Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Vienna, 2021 - present

  • Visiting Scholar, Laland Lab, University of St. Andrews, 2019 June - 2021 July

  • Associated Researcher, University of Bordeaux/CNRS (ImmunoConcept), 2018 Nov - 2019 Nov

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Bordeaux/CNRS (PI: Thomas Pradeu's ERC-IDEM), 2015 Oct - 2018 Oct


  • 2017 ISHPSSB Callebaut Prize for Interdisciplinarity

  • 2015 Biosemiotic Achievement Award for the Year 2015 (with Scott Gilbert)

  • 2010 Association for the Scientific Studies of Consciousness Poster Prize (Philosophy Category)

current research projects

Minding the Gut

I'm co-leading several projects in philosophy of biology and philosophy of cognitive science on re-conceptualizing the gut complex (the gut-neuro-endocrin-immun-microbiota unit) and the gut-brain-microbiota axis.


Physiology team: Jan-Pieter Konsman (Bordeaux), Gregor Greslehner (Vienna), Federico Boem (Florence)

Psychology team: Su-Ling Yeh (NTU), Tony Cheng (NCCU), Yi-Chuan Chen (Mackay Medical College), Linus Huang (Hong Kong), Ying-Tung Lin (NYMCTU)



  • Chiu, L., & Gilbert, S. F. (2020). Niche construction and the transition to herbivory: Phenotype switching and the organization of new nutritional modes. In H. Levine, M. K. Jolly, P. Kulkarni, & V. Nanjundiah (Eds.), Phenotypic Switching (pp. 459–482). Academic Press.

  • Chiu, L. (2019). Decoupling, commingling, and the evolutionary significance of experiential niche construction. In T. Uller & K. N. Laland (Eds.), Evolutionary Causation: Biological and Philosophical Reflections (p. 299). MIT Press.

  • Laurent, P., Jolivel, V., Manicki, P., Chiu, L., Contin-Bordes, C., Truchetet, M.-E., & Pradeu, T. (2017). Immune-mediated repair: A matter of plasticity. Frontiers in Immunology, 8, 454.

  • Chiu, L., Bazin, T., Truchetet, M.-E., Schaeverbeke, T., Delhaes, L., & Pradeu, T. (2017). Protective microbiota: From localized to long-reaching co-immunity. Frontiers in Immunology, 8, 1678.

  • Chiu, L., & Eberl, G. (2016). Microorganisms as scaffolds of host individuality: An eco-immunity account of the holobiont. Biology & Philosophy, 31(6), 819–837.

  • Chiu, L., & Gilbert, S. F. (2015). The birth of the holobiont: Multi-species birthing through mutual scaffolding and niche construction. Biosemiotics, 8(2), 191–210.

Philosopher in the lab

As a philosopher, I've worked in the following labs as a philosopher "in" biology, cognitive science, and medicine.

ImmunoConcept Lab at University of Bordeaux/CNRS

  • Project: Host-microbiota immune interactions, individuality of the holobiont

  • Skills: interdisciplinary philosophy in biology and medicine

Suling Yeh's Explorer of Perception and Attention Lab (EPA) (2006-2009)

  • Thesis: visual motion illusions

  • Skills: psychophysics, Adobe Flash animation

Allen Houng's Consciousness Research Center (2003-2007)

  • Thesis: phenomenal consciousness

  • Skills: philosophy of mind


I mainly teach philosophy in an undergraduate setting.

Traditional Classroom Instructor

  1. Logic and Reasoning (2014 Fall) [syllabus]

  2. Philosophy and Human Nature (2014 Spring) [syllabus]

  3. Introductory Bioethics (2013 Spring) [syllabus]

  4. General Introduction to Philosophy (2012 Fall) [syllabus]

Two classes (30-35 students each), 3 credit hours

Online Instructor

  1. General Introduction to Philosophy (2015 Fall) [syllabus]

  2. General Introduction to Philosophy (2015 Spring) [syllabus]

  3. Contemporary Moral Issues (2012 Summer) [syllabus]

One class (~10 students), 3 credit hours

Teaching Assistant, University of Missouri

  1. Senior Seminar in Philosophy: Darwinism and its Impact on Philosophy (2012 Spring. Dr. André Ariew)

  2. Introduction to Ethics (2010 Fall. Dr. Robert Johnson)

  3. Introduction to Philosophy (2010 Spring. Dr. Claire Horisk)

  4. Logic and Reasoning (2009 Fall. Dr. André Ariew)

Three sections (30-35 students each), 1 credit hour

Teaching Assistant, National Yang Ming University

With Dr. Allen Y. Houng

  1. Animal Mind and Consciousness (2009)

  2. First-Order Logic (2009)

  3. From Science to Humanity-The Unity of Worldview (2008)

  4. Globalization: A Philosophical Reflection (2008)

  5. Introduction to Philosophy (2008)

  6. Philosophy of Consciousness (2006 or -07)

  7. Philosophy of Science (2006 or -07)

One classes per semester (15-30 students), in Mandarin Chinese