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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

 Choon Kiat Lim

Choon Kiat Lim

PhD researcher

 Geoffrey Pope Mezzanine Laboratory


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


I’m a PhD researcher with a wide interest in plant science and its applications. My principal research interest lies in the field of plant stress (abiotic and biotic) and the tolerance mechanisms involved in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana.


2009: Master of Research (MRes) in Plant Science with Distinction, University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
2008: BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology (First Class Honours), Tunku Abdul Rahman University (UTAR), Malaysia


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Research projects

Project Title: In silico simulations of the Ascorbate Redox Reaction & the Function of Ascorbate Oxidase in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Supervisors: Prof. Nick Smirnoff (primary), Dr. Ozgur Akman and Prof. Murray Grant.

Funding Body: PhD studentship under university science strategy (Systems Biology theme), University of Exeter (2009 – 2012).

Project Description:

In addition to its significance in human diet, ascorbate (AsA; other names: vitamin C, ascorbic acid) is a multi-functional molecule. AsA is involved in plants development and stress responses, mainly by regulating its redox status and controlling reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism.

I’m investigating the function of apoplastic enzyme, ascorbate oxidase (AO) in Arabidopsis thaliana. Apoplast (cell wall and intracellular region) is external barrier of plant cell and it facilitates cell to cell communication. Since AsA is the most abundant antioxidant in the apoplast and AO is active in this compartment, the regulation of apoplastic AsA redox status by AO and its role in development and environmental perturbations has become a subject of interest.

Since AsA redox cycles present in various plant compartments (i.e. apoplast, cytosol, chloroplast, etc.), therefore interesting questions arise: - how’s one compartment affecting AsA redox status of another compartment, what are the relative contributions of individual cycle against ROS and which compartment is more sensitive to perturbations?  Systems biology approach is employed to address these questions, i.e. by constructing computational models of AsA redox cycles.


Chen ZH, Hills A, Lim CK, Blatt MR (2010) Dynamic regulation of guard cell anion channels by cytosolic-free Ca2+ concentration and protein phosphorylation. The Plant Journal 61: 816–825

Lim CK and Smirnoff N (2011) Ascorbate oxidase expression and activity during development and in response to stress in Arabidopsis thaliana. Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) annual meeting, Glasgow Science Centre, Scotland, UK. Oral presentation

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