Profile – Clíona Farrell, University College London

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Clíona Farrell


Clíona Farrell

Job title:

PhD Student

Place of work / study:

UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London

Area of Research:

Alzheimer’s disease in the context of Down syndrome, with a particular focus on understanding the genetic and cellular mechanisms. My work focuses on understanding neuroinflammation in Down syndrome, both prior to, and in response to, Alzheimer’s disease pathology. To do this, I use mouse models of Down syndrome, work with human post-mortem brain tissue, or generate organotypic brain slices as a cells-in-a-dish model to interrogate cellular and molecular mechanisms.

How is your work funded?

My PhD is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am from Dublin, Ireland, and completed my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience in Trinity College Dublin. I worked as a research assistant in the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland studying ALS and Parkinson’s disease. From there, I decided I wanted to pursue a PhD and moved to London to research neuroinflammation in Down syndrome. When not in the lab, I enjoy spending time in the outdoors, and am a keen rock climber and hiker, and spend these trips greeting all the dogs I meet on route. I love watching stand-up comedy, as well as baking and (mainly) eating!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

I worked in an ice-cream parlour all throughout school and university and have mastered the art of making the perfect 99 ice-cream cone!

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

Dementia is a terrifying disorder bringing heartbreak to the people who suffer from it, as well as their loved ones. I wanted to be part of the research community fighting to bring reprieve to these families and would encourage other young researchers to join us.

What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?

Sometimes it feels like everyone has it figured out except you. Speak to the other ECRs around you. Almost everyone has gone through or is going through similar struggles – whether it be imposter syndrome, supervisor problems or being nervous to ask how to use a piece of equipment – we all need to help each other out!

What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?

I am reading “The man who died twice”, the sequel to Richard Osman’s “Thursday murder club”. This is the perfect light read after an intense day in the lab, full of mystery and laughs.

Can we find you on Twitter & Instagram?

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