Dr Mark Robinson

Biology, Human Health Institute

Lecturer
Assistant Professor

Biosciences & Electronic Engineering Facility
B1.21
(01) 708 3860

Biography

Dr Mark Robinson's research group studies the immunology of chronic disease. His group focuses on understanding the role of tissue-resident innate lymphocytes in the progression of chronic liver disease and 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 Maynooth University Human Health Institute.

Research Interests

The Robinson Lab works on a number of research projects related to chronic liver disease, tissue-resident natural killer cell function, and the role of the immune response in chronic human diseases.  

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 three Dublin hospitals we are investigating novel immune-based biomarkers and immunotherapeutic targets, capable of predicting and halting disease progression. In addition, we are using hospital in-patient records to map the changing trends in chronic liver disease in Ireland. 

Liver Resident Natural Killer Cell Function
While numerous studies have focused on the functions of peripheral blood immune cells, we now know that each organ has a highly specialised immune system of its own. This tissue-resident immune system plays an essential role in maintaining organ function and contributing to overall health. We have described a tissue-resident natural killer (NK) cell population, unique to the human liver, with distinct functional abilities. We are currently investigating how this liver-resident immune cell population changes in disease and we are developing novel 3-D in vitro systems to model liver-specific cellular interactions in the context of fatty liver disease and alcohol abuse.

Immunosenescence and Chronic Disease
Cellular senescence is a tightly regulated biological process by which old or damaged cells enter into a state of cell cycle arrest. Accelerated biological ageing refers to the build up of senescent cells within an organism. This accumulation of senescent cells, results in gradual organ dysfunction and is the causative biological process underlying reduced physical strength, endurance, and increased frailty observed in chronic disease and old age. Accelerated biological ageing has been identified in a number of chronic diseases including viral infection, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, and chronic liver disease. We are investigating how immune cells interact with senescent cells and how paracrine signals led to the development of immunosenescence.

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
2018 'Lactate-mediated acidification of tumor microenvironment induces apoptosis of liver-resident NK cells in colorectal liver metastasis'
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] [Details]
2016 'Tissue-resident Eomes(hi) T-bet(lo) CD56(bright) NK cells with reduced proinflammatory potential are enriched in the adult human liver'
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] [Details]
2016 'Liver immunology and its role in inflammation and homeostasis'
Robinson MW;Harmon C;O'Farrelly C; (2016) 'Liver immunology and its role in inflammation and homeostasis'. Cellular and Molecular Immunology, 13 (3) [DOI] [Details]
2016 'Tracking TCRβ Sequence Clonotype Expansions during Antiviral Therapy Using High-Throughput Sequencing of the Hypervariable Region'
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] [Details]
2016 'Anti-envelope antibody responses in individuals at high risk of hepatitis C virus who resist infection'
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] [Details]
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'
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] [Details]
2016 'Broad Anti-Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Antibody Responses Are Associated with Improved Clinical Disease Parameters in Chronic HCV Infection'
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] [Details]
2015 'Viral genotype correlates with distinct liver gene transcription signatures in chronic hepatitis C virus infection'
Robinson MW;Aranday-Cortes E;Gatherer D;Swann R;Liefhebber JM;Filipe Ada S;Sigruener A;Barclay ST;Mills PR;Patel AH;McLauchlan J; (2015) 'Viral genotype correlates with distinct liver gene transcription signatures in chronic hepatitis C virus infection'. Liver International : Official Journal Of The International Association For The Study Of The Liver, 35 (10) [DOI] [Details]
2015 'Elevated interferon-stimulated gene transcription in peripheral blood mononuclear cells occurs in patients infected with genotype 1 but not genotype 3 hepatitis C virus'
Robinson MW;Swann R;Sigruener A;Barclay ST;Mills PR;McLauchlan J;Patel AH; (2015) 'Elevated interferon-stimulated gene transcription in peripheral blood mononuclear cells occurs in patients infected with genotype 1 but not genotype 3 hepatitis C virus'. Journal of Viral Hepatitis, 22 (4) [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Non cell autonomous upregulation of CDKN2 transcription linked to progression of chronic hepatitis C disease'
Robinson MW;McGuinness D;Swann R;Barclay S;Mills PR;Patel AH;McLauchlan J;Shiels PG; (2013) 'Non cell autonomous upregulation of CDKN2 transcription linked to progression of chronic hepatitis C disease'. Aging Cell, 12 (6) [DOI] [Details]

Professional Associations

  Association Function From / To
Irish Society of Immunology Member /
European Association for the Study of the Liver Member /

External Collaborators

  Name Role / Description Country
Cliona O’Farrelly, Trinity College Dublin IRELAND
Suzanne Norris, St. James's Hospital IRELAND
Lydia Lynch, Harvard Medical School U.S.A.
Tom Gallagher, St. Vincent's University Hospital IRELAND
Stephen Stewart, The Mater Hospital IRELAND
Diarmaid Houlihan, St. Vincent's University Hospital IRELAND