Ai Ing Lim
As a Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr. Ai Ing Lim will study how maternal helminth partnership shapes the offspring’s immune system in the long term. Understanding helminth driven maternal-offspring immune crosstalk in unique developmental window will pave the way to prevent and treat immune disorders, such as allergy and autoimmune diseases.
- Assistant Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, USA, 2022-present
- Postdoctoral Researcher in Immunology and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, USA, 2017–2022
- PhD in Immunology, Institut Pasteur Paris, France, 2013–2017
- MPhil in Nephrology, University of Hong Kong, 2011–2012
- BSc in Biology, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2007–2010
- ACTERIA Prize for Immunology, 2020
- L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science International Rising Talent Award, 2018
- Human Frontier Science Program Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2018–2021
- L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science National Award in France, 2017
Branco Weiss Fellow Since
Immunology, Developmental Biology
Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, USA
Mammals and their immune system evolved in the face of a microbially rich environment, in particular constitutive helminth colonization. Although over a billion people worldwide remain infected, worms have been largely eliminated in high-income countries. The removal of these evolutionary partners has been proposed to contribute to the dramatic increase in allergy and autoimmune diseases, a phenomenon referred to as the ‘hygiene hypothesis’. Epidemiological evidence has revealed that early-life exposures play a pivotal role in shaping long-term immune function. How the removal of helminths during critical developmental window associate with fetal development remains elusive.
The aim of Dr. Ai Ing Lim’s research is to uncover how maternal helminth exposure shapes the offspring immune system in the long term. She hypothesized that the maternal-helminth partnerships may direct offspring immune development toward immunoregulation, thereby reducing susceptibility to inflammatory disorders, termed as ‘pre-birth hygiene hypothesis’. Using complementary approaches and physiological model, she will assess the impact of maternal worm infection on the offspring immunity and susceptibility to immune disorders. She will integrate the roles of the microbiota, lactation, and epigenetic inheritance on maternal helminth-offspring immune crosstalk. This cross-disciplinary project at the intersection of immunity, infection and developmental biology represents a novel and frontier research with profound implications to prevent and treat immune disorders.