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Fabian Lim

Fabian Lim (Custom).jpg


Associate Professor Fabian CL Lim
BSc, MSc, MBA, PhD
Assistant Dean, Research
Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology
Programme Director for Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine
Principal Investigator, Exercise Physiology Laboratory​​

 

 

Team

  • Dr Goh Jor Ming, PhD, Senior Research Fellow (ARISE)
  • Ms Margaret Yap, Laboratory Manager
  • Mr Fam Kai Deng, Research Assistant
  • Ms Chia Kar Ling, Research Assistant
  • Ms Lee Shuen Yee, PhD Student

  

Introduction

Associate Professor Fabian Lim graduated from the Universities of Oregon (BSC, MSc), Surrey (MBA) and Queensland (PhD) and is a recipient of the Defence Science Scholarship from DSTA.  He is now the Assistant Dean for Research and Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology in Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University. Prior to this appointment, A/Prof Lim set up the Singapore Sport Institute (SSI) as the first Executive Director, where he developed Sport Science and Medicine capabilities to support Singapore’s sport talent pool. Before SSI, A/Prof Lim spent 20 years in Military Physiology Research, focusing on soldier health, safety and performance at DSO National Labs, where he held various senior research and management appointments. A/Prof Lim was also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore.


A/Prof Lim is recognised internationally for introducing the Dual Pathway Model of heat stroke, which draws attention to the role of immune disturbances, instead of heat stress, as the primary trigger and driver of exertional heat stroke. This model of heat stroke challenges the classical paradigm of heat stroke that has been held for centuries. A/Prof Lim has also conducted research and published internationally on Exercise Immunology, Thermoregulation, Nutrition, Bioenergetics and Obesity. His professional experience includes establishing the Singapore Sport Science and Medicine Research Grant and Academic Scholarship. A/Prof Lim is also a member of the Singapore Armed Forces Fitness Advisory Board and the National Sports Safety Committee.


Research Focus

The Exercise Physiology Laboratory is positioned to conduct translational research by bridging the knowledge gap between basic science and applied research. The laboratory focuses on whole-human experimentation in both ill and healthy populations and our mission is to investigate the medicinal properties of habitual exercise in preventing and treating age-associated chronic disease and the physiological mechanisms that promote and limit work tolerance.

Exercise and Age-Associated Chronic Disease
The strategic space for A/Prof Lim's research in age-associated chronic disease (ACD) is to investigate the mechanisms and effects of exercise as a key mediator in preventing, impeding and reversing neuro-cognitive impairments, musculoskeletal decline and the development of metabolic syndrome in the ageing continuum. These ACD are commonly reported in older individuals and they have a common set of mediators, which interacts mechanistically with both acute and chronic adaptations to exercise stimulus (Fig 1).  We collaborates strategically with investigators who provide expertise in the biomarkers and mechanisms of non-exercise mediators that influence the risks and development of these ACD.
 
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Research Projects

Occupation and Metabolic Health
A/Prof Lim's lab is interested in using occupation as platform to investigate the interaction between exercise and metabolic disease. The development of metabolic disease involves the complex interaction between the host, environment and disease mechanisms over time. While much is known about the biological pathways of metabolic disease, knowledge on the primary environment of the host and the risks of metabolic disease expression are less known. The occupation-based model provides a useful platform for investigating the host-environment-disease interaction because workers spend a significant amount of their wakeful hours in the work environment. Unlike the general population approach, the occupation-model also provides a more uniform set of opportunities and limitations in implementing health-related interventions.  In this regards, the taxi driver vocation provides an ideal living laboratory for investigating these research questions because the known risk factors for metabolic disease expression are found in the environment of the trade. If proven to be successful, this investigation model can be extended to other occupations that promote the development metabolic syndromes.

Self-reported Habitual Exercise and Metabolic Disease
A/Prof Lim's lab is also interested in gaining deep understanding on the opposing effects of habitually sedentary and active lifestyles on metabolic disease development in young, middle-aged and older populations. As metabolic disease is observed to be occurring in younger individuals, we are particularly curious about the changing effects of habitual exercise on risks of metabolic disease across lifespan. These research questions address the current knowledge gaps on the need to vary management strategies for the same disease at different life stages. The roles of vascular health, inflammatory cytokines, microbes and regulation of dietary behaviour in metabolic disease development will also be investigated.

Exercise Modality and Protection of Musculoskeletal Health
Ageing leads to the loss of bone density and muscle mass, which are major risk factors for the development of osteopenia, osteoporosis, sarcopenia and frailty in older men and women. In Singapore about 20.3% of women >50 years old meet the criteria of osteoporosis and the incidence of hip fracture between 1991 and 1998 was 152 per 100,000 for men and 402 per 100,000 in women >50 years old. Compared to 1960, the current incidence rate of osteoporotic fracture is higher by 1.5 fold in men and 5-fold in women. Notably, the main non-clinical key risk factors identified for hip fracture was the lack of load bearing activity in the immediate past and the absence of vigorous sport activities in young adulthood. Since our musculoskeletal system responds and adapts to physical stressors, we are interested in understanding the effects of different exercise modalities on musculoskeletal health of older men and women. This study will recruit participants (>50 years of age) who have been participating in brisk walking, running, tai qi, gym exercises and exercises dance classes. The participants will undergo a series of measurements to measure their musculoskeletal health status (e.g, body fat, bone density, hand grip and upper body strength, walking speed, balance test, flexibility and cognitive functions).

Human Movement and Work Tolerance
A/Prof Lim is also interested in the physiological mechanisms that promote and limit work tolerance in extreme environment. In this domain, A/Prof Lim investigates the interaction of physiological pathways that regulate body temperature, fluid balance, metabolism, gastrointestinal and immune responses during prolonged physical work exposure in the tropical environment. Besides enhancing work performance, this domain of research also enhances the understanding on the mechanisms of heat injury, which is an increasing health threat due to climate changes, especially in Asia. Between 2013 and 2014, there were 3 bouts of heat waves that resulted in approximately 30 deaths cases in China and Japan.


Selected Publications


Lim CL, Wilson G, Brown L, et al. (2007). Pre-existing inflammatory state compromises heat tolerance in rats exposed to heat stress. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 292(1);R186-R194.

Lim CL, Byrne C & Lee JK (2008). Human thermoregulation and measurement of body temperature in exercise and clinical settings. ANNALS Academy of Medicine Singapore, 37(4):347-353.

Lim CLPyne D, Horn P, et al. (2009). The effects of increased endurance training load on biomarkers of  heat intolerance during intense exercise in the heat. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 34(4):616-624.

Lim CL (2011). Do​ not underplay the roles of VO2max and central fatigue in the 2-h marathon. Journal of Applied Physiology, 110(1):292-293.

Lai, ZX, Why YP, ..., Lim CL (2012). Body fat fluctuations among female adolescents with restrained eating behaviours. Appetite, 59(1):17-20.

Yeh YJ, Law LYL & Lim CL (2013). Gastrointestinal response and endotoxemia during intense exercise in hot and cool environments. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(6);1575-1583.

Lim CL (2014). Health and Physical Activity.​ The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior and Society, 1024-1031.

Lim CL (2016). Look beyond thermoregulation in the diagnosis of heat stroke. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48(12):2583.

Fang SH, Suzuki K, Lim CL, et al. (2016). Associations between sleep quality and inflammation markers in patients with schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research, 246:154-160.

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