Prof Cliona O’Farrelly is known for asking questions. Questions that others might consider a bit ‘out there’ or even downright ‘ridiculous’, in her own words.
But, by asking those questions, she has made exciting discoveries about the liver having its own special immune system, and now she is asking what antiviral strategies we can learn from women whose immune systems seem to block the hepatitis C virus from establishing an infection.
O’Farrelly, who is today professor of comparative immunology at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), spent a portion of her career at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin in the 1990s, and it was there that her interest in the liver was piqued. “Vincent’s was the national treatment centre and they carried out the first liver transplant in Ireland in 1993,” she explained.