Professor Cliona O’ Farrelly

Professor of Comparative Immunology, Trinity College Dublin


Cliona’s research focuses on innate anti-viral and cancer immunology in humans and other species, with a particular focus on the liver and reproductive tract. She has been trying to discover why the immune system functions differently in males and females, in different organs and in different species for a long time. Cliona has a long-standing track record in viral infection including hepatitis C, and Sars-Cov-2, recently uncovering a Defective type I interferon immunity is associated with increasing COVID-19 severity. She is a PI on the TCD SFI CoVID19 Research Hub, is a member of the National Covid Advisory Group of Ireland and is on the steering group of the National Irish Covid Biobank.

Cliona was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in Immunology in Ireland (1982) and was the first female President of the Irish Society of Immunology (1999-2006). Cliona was chair of Cancer Research Ireland and Co-Chair of the Dept of Health’s CoVID19 Research Subgroup of the Expert Advisory Group. She has been a member of Amnesty International and has served on its Board for over 8 years.  She is passionate about public understanding of science and contributes regularly to radio, tv, printed and social media on science related topics.

In recognition of her research achievements, Cliona has been recently appointed as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Talk Overview

Professor O’ Farrelly will shed light on the many discoveries she has made over the course of career from a novel avian TLR to antimicrobial peptides. She will shed light on the complexities of working across species and in her own inimitable style will inspire young researchers with some of her research and life experiences.