Department of
Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

Grace Lim, MD, MS

  • Associate Professor
  • Chief, Division of Obstetric & Women's Anesthesiology

Dr. Lim is a board-certified obstetric (OB) anesthesiologist and physician scientist who is passionate about eliminating pain and suffering in special populations, optimizing perioperative medication use, and creating innovative and personalized approaches to care. She accomplishes these goals using a mix of clinical and translational approaches. Her methods focus on individualized (e.g., genetic, liquid biopsy, pharmacokinetic, patient-reported, quantitative sensory) and population-based approaches (e.g., large administrative data sets, integrated electronic health record analyses) to gain a holistic understanding of a health problem from both a population and personalized perspective.

Dr. Lim’s clinical practice and research work are dedicated to improving pain management and post-birth recovery by identifying safe and effective therapies. She has extensive formal and practical experience with clinical trials, prospective longitudinal cohort studies, observational research using administrative data sets, and patient-reported outcomes, pain measurement, psychological and psychophysical dimensions of pain and analgesia, and observational methods. Dr. Lim’s publications in high-impact journals cover topics including labor pain in vulnerable populations, depression, and perioperative and anesthesia-related outcomes. She has led complex and multidisciplinary teams across UPMC’s large health system on implementation to disseminate best practices for anesthesiology, at scale. These efforts include the widespread implementation of enhanced recovery after cesarean protocols, nitrous oxide labor analgesia, hemorrhage bundles, and postpartum analgesia bundles across UPMC maternity hospitals.

Education & Training

  • University of Missouri, Combined BA/MD
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Anesthesiology Residency
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Obstetric Anesthesiology Fellowship
  • University of Pittsburgh, NIH NRSA T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
  • University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education, Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSci), Comparative Effectiveness Track

Representative Publications

Dr. Lim's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Research, clinical, and/or academic interests

Clinical and translational research in obstetric and women’s anesthesiology at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital seeks to optimize women’s health, maternal and neonatal health by developing novel, personalized, and patient-centered clinical management strategies. Research from the Lim lab continues to focus on the primary themes of OB anesthesia and perinatology, perinatal mood disorders and pain, and outcomes optimization in special populations.

Research Grants

Selected Noncomprehensive List of Current Funding

  • “Ketamine to reduce postpartum depression and pain after cesarean delivery,” NIMH R01MH134538 (Lim) / PI, 07/01/2023 – 07/11/2028: Postpartum depression (PPD) affects 28 million mothers worldwide annually and there are no effective preventative therapies. These investigations will identify a patient-informed acceptable dose and pharmacokinetics of ketamine infusion after cesarean delivery, a common mode of birth, and will provide novel data on trajectories of PPD symptoms after CD. The results of these investigations will inform optimal dosing strategies for postpartum ketamine.
  • “Optimizing the Use of Ketamine to Reduce Chronic Postsurgical Pain,” NIH/NINDS UH3CA261067 (Doan, Wang) / Site PI, 9/17/2021 – 09/16/2025: Phase III, three-arm, placebo-controlled, randomized (1:1:1) clinical trial that aims to study the effectiveness of ketamine in reducing post-mastectomy pain and determine the effect of infusion vs. single- bolus ketamine on pain, function, and mood        

Selected Noncomprehensive List of Completed Funding

  • "Reducing Pain's Impact on Perinatal Depression" (Lim) / PI, CTSI Pain Research Challenge/Virginia Kaufman Award, PI, 2016 – 2017
  • "Ketamine to Reduce the Burden of Postpartum: Lactation Pharmacokinetic Trial (KINETIC)" (Lim) / PI, CTSI Pain Research Challenge/Virginia Kaufman Award, PI, 2018 – 2021
  • "Quantifying Genetic Variation in Postpartum Women for Pain and Postpartum Depression" (Lim) / PI, UPitt – UGC Precision Medicine Pilot Grants, PI, 2018 – 2020
  • "BRIDGE Device: Alternative Postpartum Analgesia" (Lim) / PI, CTSI Research Initiative for Special Populations (CRISP), PI, 2020 – 2021
  • "Obstetric pain management for women with opioid use disorder: A longitudinal, qualitative mixed-methods evaluation of patients and provider perspectives" (Lim) / PI, CTSI Research Initiative for Special Populations (CRISP), PI, 2020 - 2021
  • “Labor Pain and Maternal, Infant, and Parent-Infant Psychological and Psychosocial Health” (Lim) / PI, University of Pittsburgh Physicians (UPP) Academic Foundation, PI, 2015-2017