Lobsang Yongdan was born and brought up in Tibet. As a young boy, he was trained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, studying at Kumbum Monastery, where he graduated from its Buddhist College in 1992. He then studied in the United States and the United Kingdom, finally completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge in October 2014. During the fall of 2016, he was a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany. From December 2016 to November 2020, he was a member of the Social History of Tibetan Societies research group at the Department of Mongolian & Tibetan Studies at the University of Bonn in Germany, a stay jointly funded by the ANR (French National Research Agency) and the DFG (German Research Council). He focused during this time on writing a biography of Lama Karpo (1835–1895), a Tibetan military general in Xinjiang.
Over the course of his educational and research career, Yongdan has developed a wide range of interests and research topics that include subjects drawn from intellectual history, Buddhism and the history of science, as well as medical history. He has published on how Tibetan lamas at the imperial Qing court (1642–1911) translated European scientific texts and transmitted European ideas to Tibet, and how this transmission influenced Tibetan intellectual traditions. He also has been interested in the history of smallpox in Tibet, and has published and given talks on various aspects of smallpox in Tibet at a number of universities and research institutions.
Yongdan has joined the IKGA within the framework of the ERC-funded research project “The Dawn of Tibetan Buddhist Scholasticism (11th–13th c.)” (TibSchol).