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2009 Sontag Award Recipient

"The sense of community that the Foundation has created among the group of Sontag researchers is truly extraordinary. After every retreat, I am newly inspired by the collegiality and collaborative interactions that have developed over the years. Together, we will make important things happen."

About DSA-Funded Research

The focus of Dr. Lim’s research is on neural stem cells and neurogenesis. He is particularly interested in the molecular biology of the population of neural stem cells found in the subventricular zone (SVZ). For neural stem cells to make neurons, daughter cells need to express certain sets of genes while repressing others. The maintenance of such lineage-specific transcriptional programs is in part regulated by chromatin structure – the “packaged” state of DNA with histone proteins. Recently, Dr. Lim’s work has revealed that the chromatin remodeling factor called Mixed Lineage Leukemia-1 (MLL1) is essential for postnatal neural stem cells to make new neurons. Currently, his work focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which MLL1 specifies a transcriptional program instructive for neurogenesis.

Current Appointment(s)
  • Professor of Neurological Surgery, UCSF
  • Director, Restorative Neurosurgery, Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF


  • University of California, Berkley, A.B., Biochemistry
  • Rockefeller University, Ph.D., Neurobiology
  • Cornell University, M.D., Medicine
  • University of California, San Francisco, Resident, Neurological Surgery
  • University of California, San Francisco, Postdoctoral Fellow