photo_lim2Hui-Ying Lim, Ph.D.


  • Assistant Professor

 Special Interests:

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


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

 Research Summary:

My lab focuses on the study of disease mechanisms centering on cardiomyopathy, obesity and diabetes, using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as an experimental model. Ongoing research includes: (1) ROS-based paracrine signaling on cardiac physiology and pathophysiology, (2) Novel roles of genes in the pathogenesis of diet-induced obesity and diabetes.

 (1) The heart is a muscular pump, and as such, much of the studies on cardiac function and structure have focused on the heart muscle cell or cardiomyocyte. However, the majority of the heart cells are non-myocytes, including endocardial and epicardial cells as well as cells of the coronary vessels. It is now increasingly recognized that non-myocytes have important signaling roles that contribute to cardiac development and function. My lab studies how physiological ROS produced in the non-myocytic pericardial cells regulate the normal development and function of the adjacent cardiomyocytes in a paracrine manner in the Drosophila heart.

(2) Obesity and diabetes are major health problems that have reached epidemic proportions. In this research, we aim to identify new regulators of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism that could facilitate the counteracting of the obesity and diabetes epidemic. My lab has established high fat and high sugar screening regimens that generate diet-induced Drosophila models of obesity and diabetes. We have utilized these platforms in large-scale genetic screens and identified a number of genes with novel roles in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Our current efforts are focused on defining the mechanisms of action of these novel genes in the regulation of energy homeostasis. My lab also collaborates closely with Dr. Weidong Wang’s lab in the Department of Medicine to study the roles of genes that we identified in Drosophila in mammalian metabolic regulation.     

 Relevant Publications:

  • Griffin, TM., Humphries, KM., Kinter, M., Lim, H-Y., Szweda, LI (2015) Nutrient sensing and utilization: Getting to the heart of metabolic flexibility. Biochemie., S0300-9084(15)00331-4. PMCID: 26476002. (Review) All authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Lim, H-Y., Wang, W., Chen, J., Ocorr, K., Bodmer, R (2014) ROS regulate cardiac function via a distinct paracrine mechanism. Cell Rep., 7:35-44. Corresponding author (selected for Cover Image). PMCID: PMC4164050.
  • Lim, H-Y and Bodmer, R (2011) Phospholipid homeostasis and lipotoxic cardiomyopathy:A matter of balance. Fly (Austin)., 5:234-236. PMCID: PMC3225766.
  • 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 Dev., 25:189-200.PMCID:PMC3022264.
  • Lim, H-Y., Bodmer, R. and Perrin, L (2006) Drosophila Ageing 2005/2006. Exp. Geront., 41:1213-1216. PMCID:PMC1855203.
  • 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., 33: 3529-3537. (Highlighted in Development 2006 133: 1802. A Snail trail to Wg-induced death).

Funding Agencies:

  • NIH NHLBI R01 (PI:Lim)
  • NIH P20GM103636
  • NIH P20GM104934
  • American Heart Association
  • Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology