Dr Mark Robinson

Biology, Human Health Institute

Assistant Professor

Biosciences & Electronic Engineering Facility
(01) 708 3860


Dr Mark Robinson's research group studies the immunological changes that occur in humans during chronic disease. His group focuses on understanding the role of innate lymphocytes and inflammation in the progression of chronic liver disease and the development of liver cirrhosis.


Dr Mark Robinson obtained his PhD in Immunology from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. After postdoctoral fellowships in the UK MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, he was awarded an HRB Emerging Investigator Award in 2017. In 2018, Dr Mark Robinson moved to the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, where he is a faculty member in the Department of Biology and the Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health Research.

Research Interests

The Robinson Lab works on a number of research projects related to chronic liver disease, chronic inflammation, and the role of the innate cytotoxic lymphocytes.


1. Chronic Liver Disease and Liver Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis is the end stage of chronic liver disease and occurs when normal liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue, leading to the eventual failure of normal liver functions. Cirrhosis accounts for 170,000 deaths annually in Europe and presently the only treatment is liver transplantation, however many patients die while waiting on a transplant. Better markers of disease progression and new therapeutic strategies to combat cirrhosis are urgently needed. In collaboration with Dublin hepatology units we are investigating novel immune-based biomarkers and immunotherapeutic targets, capable of predicting and halting disease progression.


2. Chronic Inflammation

Low grade systemic inflammation is hypothesised to directly contribute to organ failure in patients with liver cirrhosis. While elevated circulating interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein are commonly measured clinically in patients with liver cirrhosis, it is unclear what is driving this low grade systemic inflammation. We are investigating how various pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), together with damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), induce low grade systemic inflammation and re-wire inflammatory signalling pathways in the context of chronic disease and biological aging.

3. Innate Cytotoxic Lymphocytes

Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes with the ability to directly kill stressed cells, senescent cells, infected cells and tumour cells. Our lab has described unique features of tissue-resident NK cell populations within the human liver and the role that the tumour microenvironment plays in altering NK cell function. We are currently investigating how glycosylation changes regulate cytotoxic functions and the factors influencing NK cell migration and survival in solid tumours.

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
DELAY-COVID: Dysregulated innatE immunity in Liver disease Amplifies the severitY of COVID-19 PI 01/12/2020 30/11/2021 281432.8
The liver neighbourhood watch: regulatory tissue-resident natural killer (NK) cells protect against liver decompensation in patients with chronic liver disease PI Award Transfer from TCD 01/12/2018 31/10/2021 608399

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2020 Harmon, C.; O’Farrelly, C.; Robinson, M.W. (2020) 'The Immune Consequences of Lactate in the Tumor Microenvironment' In: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. [Link] [DOI]
2020 Cathal Harmon, Cliona O'Farrelly, Mark W Robinson (2020) 'The Immune Consequences of Lactate in the Tumor Microenvironment' In: Tumor Microenvironment. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 1259. Cham, Switzerland : Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-43093-1_7 [Full-Text]

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2024 Greville, G.; Cremen, S.; O'Neill, S.; Azarian, S.; Brady, G.; McCormack, W.; Dyer, A.H.; Bourke, N.M.; Touzelet, O.; Courtney, D.; Power, U.F.; Dowling, P.; Gallagher, T.K.; Bamford, C.G.G.; Robinson, M.W. (2024) 'Type 1 interferon auto-antibodies are elevated in patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis'. Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 215 . [Link] [DOI]
2022 Jameson G.; Harmon C.; Santiago R.M.; Houlihan D.D.; Gallagher T.K.; Lynch L.; Robinson M.W.; O’Farrelly C. (2022) 'Human Hepatic CD56bright NK Cells Display a Tissue-Resident Transcriptional Profile and Enhanced Ability to Kill Allogenic CD8+ T Cells'. Frontiers in Immunology, 13 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2022 Naimimohasses S.; O'Gorman P.; McCormick E.; Ferguson D.; Monaghan A.; McGrath M.; Robinson M.W.; Gormley J.; Norris S. (2022) 'Prevalence of frailty in patients with non-cirrhotic non-alcoholic fatty liver disease'. Bmj Open Gastroenterology, 9 (1). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 Jameson G; Robinson MW; (2021) 'Insights Into Human Intrahepatic NK Cell Function From Single Cell RNA Sequencing Datasets'. Frontiers in Immunology, 12 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 Batten I.; Robinson M.W.; White A.; Walsh C.; Fazekas B.; Wyse J.; Buettner A.; D’Arcy S.; Greenan E.; Murphy C.C.; Wigston Z.; Gabhann-Dromgoole J.N.; Vital E.M.; Little M.A.; Bourke N.M. (2021) 'Investigation of type I interferon responses in ANCA-associated vasculitis'. Scientific Reports, 11 (1). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Harmon C; Jameson G; Almuaili D; Houlihan DD; Hoti E; Geoghegan J; Robinson MW; O'Farrelly C; (2019) 'Liver-Derived TGF-β Maintains the EomeshiTbetlo Phenotype of Liver Resident Natural Killer Cells'. Frontiers in Immunology, 10 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Harmon C; Robinson MW; Hand F; Almuaili D; Mentor K; Houlihan DD; Hoti E; Lynch L; Geoghegan J; O'Farrelly C; (2018) 'Lactate-mediated acidification of tumor microenvironment induces apoptosis of liver-resident NK cells in colorectal liver metastasis'. Cancer Immunology Research, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Swann RE; Cowton VM; Robinson MW; Cole SJ; Barclay ST; Mills PR; Thomson EC; McLauchlan J; Patel AH; (2016) 'Broad Anti-Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Antibody Responses Are Associated with Improved Clinical Disease Parameters in Chronic HCV Infection'. Virology, 90 (9). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Swann RE; Mandalou P; Robinson MW; Ow MM; Foung SK; McLauchlan J; Patel AH; Cramp ME; (2016) 'Anti-envelope antibody responses in individuals at high risk of hepatitis C virus who resist infection'. Journal of Viral Hepatitis, 23 (11). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Robinson MW; Hughes J; Wilkie GS; Swann R; Barclay ST; Mills PR; Patel AH; Thomson EC; McLauchlan J; (2016) 'Tracking TCRβ Sequence Clonotype Expansions during Antiviral Therapy Using High-Throughput Sequencing of the Hypervariable Region'. Frontiers in Immunology, 7 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Robinson MW; Harmon C; O'Farrelly C; (2016) 'Liver immunology and its role in inflammation and homeostasis'. Cellular and Molecular Immunology, 13 (3). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Harmon C; Robinson MW; Fahey R; Whelan S; Houlihan DD; Geoghegan J; O'Farrelly C; (2016) 'Tissue-resident Eomes(hi) T-bet(lo) CD56(bright) NK cells with reduced proinflammatory potential are enriched in the adult human liver'. European Journal of Immunology, 46 (9). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Kelly A; Robinson MW; Roche G; Biron CA; O'Farrelly C; Ryan EJ; (2016) 'Immune Cell Profiling of IFN-λ Response Shows pDCs Express Highest Level of IFN-λR1 and Are Directly Responsive via the JAK-STAT Pathway'. Journal Of Interferon & Cytokine Research : The Official Journal Of The International Society For Interferon And Cytokine Research, 36 (12). [DOI] [Full-Text]

Other Publication

Year Publication
2023 Cremen, S.; Santiago, R.M.; Robinson, M.W.; Gallagher, T.K. (2023) Biomarkers of biological aging in recipients of solid organ transplantation and clinical outcomes: A scoping review. [Link] [DOI]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Irish Society of Immunology Member -
British Society of Immunology Member -


Committee Function From / To
NREC CT-B Committee Member 01/05/2021 - 01/03/2024
PPI Ignite Network Ireland Steering Group Steering Group Member 01/03/2021 - 20/06/2024

Internal Collaborators

Name Company Role Country
Roisin O Flaherty Maynooth University Ireland

External Collaborators

Name Role Country
Conor Bamford, Queen's University Belfast United Kingdom
Lydia Lynch, Harvard Medical School United States
Cliona O’Farrelly, Trinity College Dublin Ireland
Suzanne Norris, St. James's Hospital Ireland
Tom Gallagher, St. Vincent's University Hospital Ireland
Nollaig Bourke, Trinity College Dublin Ireland