University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Wendell Lim, PhD

Wendell Lim, PhD

Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
Biochemistry & Biophysics and Pharm. Chem
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Cancer Immunology

Research Summary

My laboratory is interested in the logic of cell signaling systems: understanding how the networks of signaling proteins found in eukaryotic cells have evolved to allow cells to make complex behavioral decisions. We use two broad approaches to attack this problem. First we use biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, and computational biology to dissect the mechanisms of signaling proteins and networks. We are particularly interested in understanding how nature’s toolkit of modular domains are recombined through evolution to generate new and diverse response behaviors. Second, we use synthetic biology: the redesign of biological systems. In particular, we are using various methods to create novel or modified signaling proteins and pathways, both to systematically understand network structure/function relationships and to develop engineered research tools and novel biotechnological and therapeutic applications.

Education

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, AB, 1986, Chemistry
Mass. Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, PhD, 1991, Biochem & Biophysics
Yale University, New Haven, CT, Postdoc, 1992-1996, Biophysics & Biochem


Professional Experience

  • 1996-2000
    Assistant Professor, Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF
  • 2000-2003
    Associate Professor, Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF
  • 2003-present Professor, Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF
  • 2006-present
    Deputy Director, NSF Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center
  • 2006-present
    Director, UCSF/UCB NIH Nanomedicine Development Center
  • 2008-present
    Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, San Francisco, CA
  • 2010-present
    Director, UCSF Center for Systems & Synthetic Biology (NIH Natl. SysBio Center)

Honors & Awards

  • 1982
    Westinghouse Science Talent Search
  • 1986
    Blumberg Creative Science Award, Harvard College
  • 1988-1991
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship
  • 1992-1994
    Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1994-1996
    Patrick & Catherine W. Donaghue Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1997
    Burroughs Wellcome Fund New Investigator in the Pharmacological Sciences
  • 1997
    Searle Foundation Scholar
  • 1997
    David and Lucille Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering
  • 2001
    Kirsch Foundation Medical Investigator
  • 2005-present
    Board of Advisors, Burroughs Wellcome Fund Scientific Interfaces Program
  • 2005
    Plenary Lecturer, Proteins Gordon Conference
  • 2006
    Rogers Family Foundation Award
  • 2006-present
    Board of Scientific Counselors, National Cancer Institute
  • 2009
    Keynote Speaker, National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, Synthetic Biology Conf.
  • 2009
    National Academies Committee, “A New Biology for the 21st Century”
  • 2010
    Hans Neurath Award, Protein Society
  • 2011
    NSF Synthetic Aesthetics Fellow, exchange between scientists and artists/designers
  • 2012
    Wired SmartList: 50 people who will change the world
  • 2012
    Frederic M. Richards Memorial Lecture

Selected Publications

  1. Wilson MZ, Ravindran PT, Lim WA, Toettcher JE. Tracing Information Flow from Erk to Target Gene Induction Reveals Mechanisms of Dynamic and Combinatorial Control. Mol Cell. 2017 Sep 07; 67(5):757-769.e5.
    View on PubMed
  2. Roybal KT, Lim WA. Synthetic Immunology: Hacking Immune Cells to Expand Their Therapeutic Capabilities. Annu Rev Immunol. 2017 Apr 26; 35:229-253.
    View on PubMed
  3. Lim WA, June CH. The Principles of Engineering Immune Cells to Treat Cancer. Cell. 2017 Feb 09; 168(4):724-740.
    View on PubMed
  4. Bugaj LJ, O'Donoghue GP, Lim WA. Interrogating cellular perception and decision making with optogenetic tools. J Cell Biol. 2017 Jan 02; 216(1):25-28.
    View on PubMed
  5. Esensten JH, Bluestone JA, Lim WA. Engineering Therapeutic T Cells: From Synthetic Biology to Clinical Trials. Annu Rev Pathol. 2017 Jan 24; 12:305-330.
    View on PubMed
  6. Gordley RM, Williams RE, Bashor CJ, Toettcher JE, Yan S, Lim WA. Engineering dynamical control of cell fate switching using synthetic phospho-regulons. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Nov 22; 113(47):13528-13533.
    View on PubMed
  7. Gao Y, Xiong X, Wong S, Charles EJ, Lim WA, Qi LS. Complex transcriptional modulation with orthogonal and inducible dCas9 regulators. Nat Methods. 2016 Dec; 13(12):1043-1049.
    View on PubMed
  8. Roybal KT, Williams JZ, Morsut L, Rupp LJ, Kolinko I, Choe JH, Walker WJ, McNally KA, Lim WA. Engineering T Cells with Customized Therapeutic Response Programs Using Synthetic Notch Receptors. Cell. 2016 Oct 06; 167(2):419-432.e16.
    View on PubMed
  9. Mitchell A, Lim W. Cellular perception and misperception: Internal models for decision-making shaped by evolutionary experience. Bioessays. 2016 Sep; 38(9):845-9.
    View on PubMed
  10. Gordley RM, Bugaj LJ, Lim WA. Modular engineering of cellular signaling proteins and networks. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2016 Aug; 39:106-114.
    View on PubMed
  11. Xiong X, Chen M, Lim WA, Zhao D, Qi LS. CRISPR/Cas9 for Human Genome Engineering and Disease Research. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2016 Aug 31; 17:131-54.
    View on PubMed
  12. Isaac RS, Jiang F, Doudna JA, Lim WA, Narlikar GJ, Almeida R. Nucleosome breathing and remodeling constrain CRISPR-Cas9 function. Elife. 2016 Apr 28; 5.
    View on PubMed
  13. Morsut L, Roybal KT, Xiong X, Gordley RM, Coyle SM, Thomson M, Lim WA. Engineering Customized Cell Sensing and Response Behaviors Using Synthetic Notch Receptors. Cell. 2016 Feb 11; 164(4):780-91.
    View on PubMed
  14. Roybal KT, Rupp LJ, Morsut L, Walker WJ, McNally KA, Park JS, Lim WA. Precision Tumor Recognition by T Cells With Combinatorial Antigen-Sensing Circuits. Cell. 2016 Feb 11; 164(4):770-9.
    View on PubMed
  15. Coyle SM, Lim WA. Mapping the functional versatility and fragility of Ras GTPase signaling circuits through in vitro network reconstitution. Elife. 2016 Jan 14; 5.
    View on PubMed
  16. Chen B, Hu J, Almeida R, Liu H, Balakrishnan S, Covill-Cooke C, Lim WA, Huang B. Expanding the CRISPR imaging toolset with Staphylococcus aureus Cas9 for simultaneous imaging of multiple genomic loci. Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 May 05; 44(8):e75.
    View on PubMed
  17. Dominguez AA, Lim WA, Qi LS. Beyond editing: repurposing CRISPR-Cas9 for precision genome regulation and interrogation. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2016 Jan; 17(1):5-15.
    View on PubMed
  18. Mitchell A, Wei P, Lim WA. Oscillatory stress stimulation uncovers an Achilles' heel of the yeast MAPK signaling network. Science. 2015 Dec 11; 350(6266):1379-83.
    View on PubMed
  19. Wu CY, Roybal KT, Puchner EM, Onuffer J, Lim WA. Remote control of therapeutic T cells through a small molecule-gated chimeric receptor. Science. 2015 Oct 16; 350(6258):aab4077.
    View on PubMed
  20. Wu CY, Rupp LJ, Roybal KT, Lim WA. Synthetic biology approaches to engineer T cells. Curr Opin Immunol. 2015 Aug; 35:123-30.
    View on PubMed

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