Lim Chwee Teck

Principal Investigator, MBI

lab: MechanoBioEngineering Laboratory

Provost’s Chair Professor; Deputy Head, Department of Biomedical Engineering; Group Head, Centre for Advanced 2D Materials, National University of Singapore

Collective cell migration; Human disease mechanobiology; Microfluidic technologies for disease detection and diagnosis, 2D materials for biomedical applications

Cell migration is central to the development and maintenance of multicellular organisms. Tissue formation during processes such as embryonic development and wound healing will require the orchestrated movement of cells in specific directions to specific locations and within geometrical constraints. Thus, understanding the mechanisms by which cells migrate may potentially lead to the development of therapeutic strategies for diseases such as cancer or for tissue repair. We are interested in developing various in-vitro assays to quantitatively investigate collective cell migration. We seek to understand how mechanical cues arising from spatial organisation of ECM proteins can regulate and coordinate collective migration of cells as well as force transmission across the cell sheet.

We also seek to develop biomedical microfluidic technologies for the disease detection, diagnosis and therapy. These microfluidic devices work on the principles of cell mechanics to distinguish and retrieve rare diseased cells with biophysical properties that are distinctly different from the larger population of other healthy cell types.

Professor Lim is a Provost’s Chair Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a Principal Investigator at the Mechanobiology Institute as well as a Faculty Fellow of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research & Technology. He is founding member of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the university’s Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative as well as the university’s Centre for Advanced 2D Materials. Prof Lim’s research interest are interdisciplinary and they include the mechanobiology of human diseases such as malaria and cancer, development of microfluidic technologies for disease detection, diagnosis and therapy and 2D materials for biomedical applications.

He has authored more than 320 peer-reviewed papers (including 49 invited/review articles), 28 book chapters and delivered more than 300 plenary/keynote/invited talks. He is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering as well as the Academy of Engineering, Singapore. He is also an elected member of the World Council of Biomechanics. He currently sits on the editorial boards of more than 14 international journals. Prof Lim has co-founded one incubator and five startups which are commercializing technologies developed in his lab.

He and his team have garnered more than 60 research awards and honors including the International Precision Medicine Conference Prize 2017, ASEAN Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award and Asian Scientists 100 in 2016, Vladimir K. Zworykin Award in 2015, University’s Outstanding Researcher Award and Outstanding Innovator Award in 2014, the Credit Suisse Technopreneur of the Year Award, Wall Street Journal Asian Innovation Award (Gold) in 2012, President’s Technology Award in 2011 and the IES Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award in 2010 among others. His research was cited by the MIT Technology Review magazine as one of the top ten emerging technologies of 2006 that will “have a significant impact on business, medicine or culture.”

1. Warkiani, M E, B L Khoo, L Wu, A Tay, A A S Bhagat, J Han, C T Lim, Ultra-fast, label-free isolation of circulating tumor cells from blood using spiral microfluidics, Nature Protocols, 14, 1, 128-37, 2016.

2. Wang, J, C-J Zhang, W N Chia, C C Y Loh, Z Li, Y M Lee, Y He, L-X Yuan, T K Lim, M Liu, C X Liew, Y Q Lee, J Zhang, N Lu, C T Lim, Z-C Hua, B Liu, H-M Shen, K S W Tan, Q S Lin, Haem-activated promiscuous targeting of artemisinin in Plasmodium falciparum, Nature Communications, 6, 10111, 2015.

3. Gupta, M, B R Sarangi, J Deschamps, Y Nematbakhsh, A Callan-Jones, F Margadant, R-M Mege, C T Lim, R Voituriez, B Ladoux, Nature Communications, 6, 7525, 2015.

4. Vedula, S R K, G Peyret, I Cheddadi, T Chen, A Brugués, H Hirata, H Lopez-Menendez, Y Toyama, L Almeida, X Trepat, C T Lim*, B Ladoux*, Mechanics of epithelial closure over non-adherent environments, Nature Communications, 6, 6111, 2015.

5. Lee, W C, H Shi, Z Poon, L M Nyan, T Kaushik, G Shivashankar, J K Y Chan, C T Lim, J Han, K J Van Vliet, Multivariate biophysical markers predictive of mesenchymal stromal cell multi potency, PNAS, 111(42):E4409-18, 2014.

6. Sun, W, C T Lim, N A Kurniawan, Mechanistic adaptability of cancer cells strongly affects anti-migratory drug efficacy, J Roy Soc Interface, 2014.

7. Yao, M, W Qiu, R Liu, A Efremov, P Cong, R Seddiki, M Payre, C T Lim, B Ladoux, R M Mège, J Yan, Force-dependent conformational switch of a-catenin controls vinculin binding, Nature Communications, 5, 4525, 2014.

8. Lim, C T, S B Hoon, Circulating tumor cells: Cancer’s deadly couriers, Physics Today, 67, 2, 26-30, 2014.

9. Vedula, S.R.K., H. Hirata, M.H. Nai, A. Brugés, Y. Toyama, X. Trepat, C.T. Lim*, B. Ladoux*, Epithelial bridges maintain tissue integrity during collective cell migration, Nature Materials, 13 (2014): 87-96.

10. Hou HW, Warkiani ME, Khoo BL, Li ZR, Soo RA, Tan DSW, Lim WT, Han JY, Bhagat AAS, Lim CT, Isolation and retrieval of circulating tumor cells using centrifugal forces, Scientific Reports, 3, 1259, 2013.

11. Thiery, J P, C T Lim, Tumor dissemination: An EMT affair, Cancer Cell, 23, 3, 272-273, 2013.

12. Wang, Y T, S Y Chang, Y C Huang, T C Tsai, C M Chen, C T Lim, Nanomechanics insights into the performance of healthy and osteoporotic bones, Nano Letters, 13, 11 (2013):5247-5254.

13. Vedula, S R K, M C Leong, T L Lai, P Hersen, A J Kabla, C T Lim*, B Ladou*x, Emerging modes of collective cell migration induced by geometrical constraints, PNAS, 109, 32 (2012):12974-12979. (F1000 recommended as being of special significance)

14. Wang, Y, C L Wong, K K Manga, P K Ang, J Lu, Y P Liu, C T Lim, K P Loh, Fluorinated Graphene for Promoting Neuro-Induction of Stem Cells, Advanced Materials, 31 (2012):4285-4290. (selected for frontispiece)

15. Ang, P, K P Loh, A Li, M Jaiswal, Y Wang, H W Hou, J Thong, C T Lim, Flow Sensing of Single Cell by Graphene Transistor in a Microfluidic Channel, Nano Letters, 11, 12 (2011):5240-5246.

16. Lee, W C, C H Y X Lim, H Shi, L A L Tang, Y Wang, C T Lim*, K P Loh*, The origin of enhanced stem cell growth and differentiation on graphene and graphene oxide, ACS Nano, 5, 9 (2011): 7334-7341.