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Hui-Ying Lim, PhD

Hui-Ying Lim, PhD

Associate Professor of Physiology



The overall goal of the research in the Lim lab is to understand the molecular genetic mechanisms that govern cardiac physiology and energy metabolism, by utilizing an integrated approach of cell biology, biochemistry, sophisticated optical imaging and the power of Drosophila genetics. One of the research directions in the lab is to understand how physiological amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are produced in the non-myocytes mediate paracrine non-myocyte–myocyte communication that is essential for proper heart function. Another research interest is to study the emerging role of the heart on systemic lipid metabolic control. We have recently discovered that a class of transcription factors acts specifically in the heart to regulate systemic lipid homeostasis. We will interrogate how these factors cooperate with other transcriptional regulators in the heart to govern systemic lipid metabolism, which could involve the cardiac production of secreted circulating effectors including innate immune modulators. We are further investigating how the circulating effectors modulate signaling pathways in the peripheral metabolic tissues to exert systemic regulatory metabolic control. Furthermore, given that the heart is the sole pumping engine crucial for maintaining fluid circulation and nutrient distribution throughout the whole body, it is possible that the heart has evolved adaptive mechanisms that counter metabolic disorders induced by high fat diet (HFD) so as to maintain its normal function. If so, what are these cardiac adaptive responses? Could they involve the HFD-activation of the cardiac regulatory programs that normally maintain normal systemic lipid homeostasis? If so, our studies of the cardiac control of metabolic homeostasis could provide an entry point for us to explore the adaptive functions of the heart against HFD, which will reveal new insights in the cardio-metabolic fields.   


  • B.S. Microbiology, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Ph.D. Pathobiology, Columbia University, New York
  • Postdoctoral. Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, San Diego

Clinical/Research Interests:

  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling on heart function and development
  • Molecular mechanisms of obesity and diabetes regulation


  • 07/01/2015 - 06/30/2022 -National Institutes of Health
    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
    “ROS signaling, intercellular communication and heart development and function”
    Role: PI
  • 04/01/2020 - 03/31/2025 -National Institutes of Health
    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
    “A cardiac Wingless-Snail-Tep2 axis directs normal lipid homeostasis and protects against diet-induced obesity”
    Role: PI

Select Publications:

  1. Li, Y, Wang, W, Lim, H-Y(2021) Drosophila Solute Carrier 5A5 regulates systemic glucose homeostasis by mediating glucose absorption in the Midgut. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. DOI: 10.3390/ijms222212424 (In press) Corresponding author
  2. Lim, H-Y, Wang W, Nakagawa Y, Pierzchala-Koziec K. (2020) The Endocine Regulation of Systemic Energy Homeostasis Under Physiological and Pathological Conditions. Front Physiol. PMCID:PMC 33192620. (Editorial) Corresponding author
  3. Liu, Y, Bao H, Wang, WLim, H-Y(2019) Cardiac Snail family of transcription factors direct systemic lipid metabolism in Drosophila. PLOS Genetics. PMCID:PMC 31725726. Corresponding author
  4. Lim, H-Y., Bao, H., Wang, W. (2019) Select septate junction proteins direct ROS-mediated paracrine regulation of Drosophila cardiac function. Cell Reports. PMCID:PMC6703176. Corresponding author
  5. Lee, SJ., Bao, H., Ishikawa, Z., Wang, W., and Lim, H-Y (2017) Cardiomyocyte regulation of systemic lipid metabolism by the apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins in DrosophilaPLOS Genetics. PMCID:PMC5283750. Corresponding author
  6. Griffin, TM., Humphries, KM., Kinter, M., Lim, H-Y., Szweda, LI (2015) Nutrient sensing and utilization: Getting to the heart of metabolic flexibility. Biochemie. PMCID: 26476002. (Review) All authors contributed equally to this work.
  7. Lim, H-Y., Wang, W., Chen, J., Ocorr, K., Bodmer, R (2014) ROS regulate cardiac function via a distinct paracrine mechanism. Cell Reports. PMCID: PMC4164050. Corresponding author (selected for Cover Image).
  8. Lim, H-Y and Bodmer, R (2011) Phospholipid homeostasis and lipotoxic cardiomyopathy:  A matter of balance. Fly (Austin). PMCID: PMC3225766.
  9. Lim, H-Y., Wang, W., Wessells, RJ., Ocorr, K., Bodmer, R (2011) Phospholipid homeostasis regulates lipid metabolism and cardiac function through SREBP signaling in Drosophila. Genes and Development. PMCID:PMC3022264.
  10. Wessells, R., Fitzgerald, E., Piazza, N., Ocorr, K., Morley, S., Davies, C., Lim, H-Y., Elmén, L., Hayes, M., Oldham, S., Bodmer, R (2009) d4EBP acts downstream of both dTOR and dFOXO to modulate cardiac functional aging in Drosophila. Aging Cell. PMCID: PMC2832479.
  11. Ocorr, K., Perrin, L., Lim, H-Y., Qian, L., Wu, X., Bodmer, R (2007) Genetic Control of heart function and aging in Drosophila. Trends Cardiovascular Medicine. PMCID:PMC1950717.
  12. Lim, H-Y., Bodmer, R. and Perrin, L (2006) Drosophila Ageing 2005/2006. Experimental Gerontology. PMCID:PMC1855203.
  13. Lim, H-Y and Tomlinson, A (2006) Organization of the peripheral fly eye: the roles of Snail family transcription factors in peripheral retinal apoptosis. Development. PMCID:PMC16914498.