Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Greatest Singaporean Hero Part 3: Robert Kho-Seng Lim 3

The Scientist
Robert Kho-Seng Lim received the M.B. and Ch.B. degrees from Edinburgh University in 1919.

In the Medical School of Edinburgh University, Lim quickly established himself as a protégé of Sir Edward Sharpey-Schafer, the Professor of Physiology, and as an undergraduate he worked in the Physiology Laboratory on problems suggested by Sharpey-Schafer. Immediately upon graduation, he was appointed Lecturer in Physiology with responsibility for teaching histology. The next year Lim presented the results of his research to earn the Ph.D.

Going to China
In the autumn of 1922, Lim applied to the China Medical Board of New York for a fellowship to enable him to study in European and American universities. His application was immediately welcomed by Roger S. Greene, the Board's Secretary. Greene knew Lim Boon Keng by reputation, and the day before he received Lim's letter he had been told about Lim by the Chinese Minister to the United States. Greene asked Lim whether, if he received a fellowship, he would be willing to take a year's appointment at the Peking Union Medical College.

The best Medical School and hospital in China (even today)
The Peking Union Medical College PUMC had been developed by the China Medical Board with an endowment from the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1915 the Board, with the advice of W. H. Welch and Simon Flexner, had bought the missionary-founded Union Medical College in Peking and had begun to build a medical school along Western lines. The aims of the school were "to give medical education comparable with that provided by the best medical schools in the United States and Europe

Working in University of Chicago
Lim received the fellowship and worked only in the Department of Physiology of the University of Chicago. That laboratory was the only one in the country with a current reputation in gastrointestinal physiology.

Working in China, the first Chinese HOD in PUMC
In 1924, Lim left Chicago for Peking, China. China Medical Board recommended that Lim be made an Associate Professor in physiology at P.U.M.C. P.U.M.C. made him a Visiting Professor with no increase in salary over that previously offered. In September of 1925 the trustees of the school made him Head of the Department of Physiology.

By means of transplanted and perfused stomachs, Lim studied gastric metabolism and the control of secretion. His most important result was the demonstration that feeding olive oil inhibits secretion by a transplanted pouch of the stomach.

Working with pupils and colleagues from other departments, Lim did three other substantial pieces of physiological research at P.U.M.C. He found a pressor center in the lateral parts of the floor of the IV th ventricle between the levels of the acoustic stria and the inferior fovea.

After 1949
After the defeat of KMT by communist in 1949, Lim went to USA where he spent his final years in relative seclusion in research lab.

All info taken from NAS website

1 comment:

L Terh said...

Good writeup. He was one of four sons of Dr Lim Boon Keng, another well known Singaporean -- from Hai Teng district of Fujian Province.