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Ai Ing Lim, Ph.D.
How a single cell divides and differentiates into specialized tissues and organs, constituting a whole organism, is a seminal scientific question that has ceaselessly fascinated me. Specifically, I am intrigued by how a single hematopoietic stem cell gives rise to diverse immune cells with distinct coordinating functions to optimally respond to a multitude of infectious and environmental challenges.
After my early education in Malaysia, I moved to Hong Kong for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. As a European Union Marie Curie Fellow, I joined Prof. James Di Santo at Pasteur Institute (Paris) for my PhD training. There, we identified innate lymphocyte precursors from the blood of healthy individuals. These precursors can give rise to diverse mature innate lymphocytes within tissues, depending on microenvironmental signals. This finding sparked my interest in tissue immunity, where I was eager to understand how immune cells integrate with tissue development, and how tissue microenvironments and resident microbiota reciprocally wire immune function.
A critical boost to my scientific career was being recognized as an International Rising Talents by the L’Oreal-UNESCO and the best European Immunology Thesis (Acteria Doctoral Prize) by the European Federation of Immunological Societies. These awards, together with Human Frontier Science Program fellowship, allowed me to join the laboratory of Dr. Yasmine Belkaid at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for my postdoctoral training.
Given that the development of the immune system begins in utero, the central question driving my research is how maternal environmental exposures impact offspring tissue immunity and predisposition to diseases. We showed that maternal infection can provide pre-birth immune education to the offspring in a tissue-specific manner. My research team at Princeton University aims to further dissect the mechanisms underlying maternal-offspring immune crosstalk.
Krist H. Antunes, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
I received my B.Sc. in Nutrition Science from La Salle University (Brazil) and then obtained my M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Medicine/Pediatrics and Child Health from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) and Imperial College London (UK). Most part of my research was focused in understanding the role of diet and gut microbiota in respiratory viral infections. In the LIMmunity I am exploring the influence of maternal helminth infection and maternal microbiota in the offspring immune response later in life. Outside of the lab I enjoy watching TV series and movies, going to the gym, playing the French horn, and going out for drinks.
I received my B.S. at Tsinghua University, where I worked in a tissue-engineering lab to study human stem cell differentiation and generation of liver organoids. Here at Princeton, I am interested in exploring the maternal physiological and immune changes that occur during pregnancy and lactation, seeking to dissect the underlying mechanisms. Outside of the lab, I can usually be found reading, hanging out with friends, or taking a walk with my headphones on.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
I received my B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of the Philippines Manila and my M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Rutgers School of Graduate Studies Newark. Under the mentorship of Dr. George S. Yap, I studied how the immune response contributes to infection-induced weight loss using a murine model of avirulent Toxoplasma gondii infection. In the LIMmunity lab, I am interested in understanding how pregnancy affects the immune landscape in tissues. In my free time, I enjoy going to concerts and live shows, hanging out with my friends, and playing video games.
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