Associate Professor Fabian C.L. Lim


fabian lim.jpg
Associate Professor Fabian C.L. 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






Laboratory Staff

  • ​Dr Terry Tong Yoke Yin, PhD, Senior Research Fellow
  • Mr Fam Kai Deng, Research Assistant
  • Ms Aisyah Binte Latib, Research Assistant
  • Mr Shadiq Al-Hussain S/O Nazeer Hussain, Research Assistant
  • Ms Chia Kar Ling, Research Assistant
  •  Ms Lee Shuen Yee, Graduate Research Officer
  • Ms Serene Lee Jer Ling, Graduate Research Officer



Associate Professor Fabian C.L. Lim is 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, Assoc Prof Lim was the pioneer Executive Director at the Singapore Sport Institute, where he developed Sport Science and Medicine capabilities to support Singapore’s sport talent pool. He was also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. After graduating from the Universities of Oregon and Queensland, he spent 20 years in Exercise Physiology Research to enhance health, safety and performance of military personnel at DSO National Labs.

Assoc Prof Lim is internationally recognised 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 current paradigm in the understanding, prevention and management of heat stroke. Assoc Prof Lim has also conducted research and published internationally on Exercise Immunology, Nutrition, and Bioenergetics and Obesity.   

His professional experience includes establishing the Singapore Sport Science and Medicine Research Grant and Academic Scholarship.  Assoc 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 gap between basic science and applied research at the integrative biology level, i.e. human as a whole organism. The mission of the laboratory is to investigate the interaction between habitual physical activity, health and aging, and the physiological mechanisms that promote or limit work tolerance.

 Human Movement and Metabolic Disease

Assoc Prof Lim is interested in using occupation as platform to investigate the interaction between human movement and metabolic disease development. The development of metabolic disease involves the complex interaction of the biological host, environment and disease mechanisms over time. While much has been known about the biological pathways of metabolic disease, knowledge on the roles of the host and the environment in metabolic disease expression are less known. The occupational-based model provides a more consistent platform, over time, in terms of lifestyle and environmental stressors, for investigating the host-environment-disease interaction. The taxi driver vocation is ideal for investigating the host-environment-disease complex because the known risk factors for metabolic disease expression are found in the environment of the trade. Once proven to be successful, this investigation model can be extended to other occupations that promote the development metabolic syndromes.

A survey and epidemiological study will be conducted to establish the lifestyle, health and disease profiles of taxi drivers in Singapore. The dichotomy between the effects of sedentary and active lifestyles on metabolic disease development will also be investigated in a laboratory study.  These studies will provide the basis for developing research questions and study designs in future investigations, and for identifying opportunities for intervention in the context of taxi driver vocation. The roles of inflammatory cytokines, microbes in the gut and regulation of dietary behaviour in metabolic disease development will also be investigated.  In the longer term, Assoc Prof Lim would like to contribute to the capability for identifying good and poor responders to lifestyle interventions, which will have a significant impact on the management of metabolic disease in the future, along the lines of stratified and personalised medicine.


Human Movement and Work Tolerance

Assoc Prof Lim is also interested in the physiological mechanisms that promote or limit work tolerance in extreme environment. In this domain, Assoc 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. The capability developed through research in this domain will help Singapore and Asia to be better prepared to mitigate the health threats due to global warming.     


Key Publications 

  1. Lim C.L. and L. Mackinnon.  The role of exercise-induced immune disturbances in the pathology of heat Stroke: The dual    pathway model of heat stroke. Sports Med. 2006. 36(1): 39–64.
  2. Lim C.L. Wilson G., Brown L., Coombes S.J., and Mackinnon L. Pre-existing inflammatory state compromises heat tolerance in rats exposed to heat stress.  Am J Physiol. 2007. 292(1): R186 – R194.
  3. Lim C.L. and C. Byrne.  Human thermoregulation and measurement of body temperature in exercise and clinical settings. Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2008. 37(4):347−353.
  4. Lim C.L., D. Pyne, P. Horn, P. Saunders, J. Peake, K. Suzuki, G. Wilson, L.T. Mackinnon. The effects of increased endurance training load on biomarkers of  heat intolerance during intense exercise in the heat. Appl Physiol Nutri Metab. 2009. 34(4): 616 – 624.
  5. Lim C.L.  Do not underplay the roles of VO2max and central fatigue in the 2-h marathon. J Appl Pysiol. 2011. 110(1): 292 – 293.
  6. Lai, Z.X., Y.P. Why, D.S.Q. Koh, V.A.C. Ng and C.L. Lim. Body fat fluctuations among female adolescents with restrained eating behaviours. Appetite. 2012. 59(1): 17 – 20.
  7. Yeh, Y.J., L.Y.L. Law and C.L. Lim. Gastrointestinal response and endotoxemia during intense exercise in hot and cool environments. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2013. 113(6): 1575 – 1583.
  8. Lim C. L. “Physical Activity and Health”. In WC Cockerham, R Dingwall and SR Quah, eds., The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior and Society. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014​.
  9. Lim C.L. Look beyond thermoregulation in the diagnosis of heat stroke. Med Science Sports Exerc, 48: 2583, 2016.
  10. Fang S.H., Suzuki K., Lim C.L., Chung M.S., Ku, P.W., and Chen L.J. Associations between sleep quality and inflammation markers in patients with schizophrenia. Psych Res 246: 154 – 160, 2016