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Geoffrey McCaughan was born in Sydney, Australia, on 30 November 1950. He was educated at Cronulla High School, Sydney. In 1975 he graduated with first class honors in medicine and then completed a FRACP in Gastroenterology in 1980.
Professor McCaughan received his initial training in gastroenterology under Neil Gallagher, at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, and hepatology training under Neil Gallagher and Ruthven Blackburn.
He completed his PhD in cellular immunology in 1985, at the University of Sydney under Tony Basten. He then undertook postdoctoral training in molecular immunology at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, England, with Neil Barclay and Allan Williams.
In 1986 Professor McCaughan was appointed Staff Specialist in Hepatology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, at the setting up of the Australian National Liver Transplant Unit.
He is currently the AW Morrow Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology and Hepatology) at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney. He is also Director of Transplant Hepatology, the GE/Liver Diagnostic Laboratory, and the Liver Immunobiology Research Laboratory Centenary Research Institute for Cancer and Cell Biology.
Professor McCaughan's major clinical interests are in liver transplantation, viral hepatitis, and autoimmune hepatitis.
His major research interests are in liver transplant tolerance, molecular pathogenesis of liver inflammation, and fibrosis, pathogenesis of HCV infection, and structure and function of proteins in the oligopeptidase family of molecules. He is a current holder of NHMRC and NIH grants to study the aforementioned topics.
Professor McCaughan is married to Daphne, and they have 3 girls: Claire 19, Jemina 16, and Louisa 10.
- What made you decide to become a hepatologist?
- People such as Ruthven Blackburn who, with Steve Mistilis, had described major aspects of autoimmune hepatitis and published their experience in the American Journal of Medicine in the late 1960s influenced me. The combination of clinical signs and examination of biopsy material, rather than pressure measurements (e.g. cardiology), was much to my liking. Immunology also was involved and I liked that aspect of medicine a lot - I nearly became a clinical immunologist!
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- Neil Gallagher and Ruthven Blackburn were superb teachers in different ways. Both were demanding and tough. 'Blackie' was more of a lateral thinker. In research Tony Basten inflicted the cellular principles of immunology on me, whilst Allan Williams had no equal in passing on the principles and practice of exact and first class molecular science
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- Williams AF, Galfre G, Milstein C. Analysis of cell surfaces by xenogenic myeloma-hybrid antibodies: differentiation antigens of rat lymphocytes. Cell 1977; 12: 663-73.
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- At a personal level - that I am finite and the universe is finite. At a professional level - the human OX2 (now CD200) gene.
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- We discovered in 1994 that chronic HCV infection was associated with low intrahepatic IL-10 mRNA levels. We should have patented this finding. Recently IL-10 therapy has been shown to improve histological features in chronic HCV.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- To write decent poetry.
- What is your greatest regret?
- That I can't play music or paint with any skill at all.
- How do you relax?
- Swimming, listening to music, reading crime thrillers, watching cricket/football, sex (you can guess the order).
- What is your favorite sport?
- I don't like cricket - I LOVE IT!
- What is your best place in the world?
- Byron Bay.
- What is your favorite film?
- "2001: A Space Odyssey".
- What car do you drive?
- A Mitsubishi Lancer Coupe.
- Who are your favorite musicians?
- Dylan, Jonie Mitchell, CSNY, Leonard Cohen, and The Gadflys.
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- Two at once: "Mao" - a biography by Philip Short in parallel with "The Shape of Snakes" by Minette Walters.