About the Author
She was born and brought up in Calcutta, India, in the post-Raj era while her father was working for Lipton's Tea. She spent her early childhood in India and went to boarding school in Dublin when she was 12 years old. She first decided to become a doctor at the age of 8 and despite much opposition from family and nuns at her convent school, persisted and went to Trinity College Dublin to study medicine in 1967.
She originally planned to be a General Practitioner but in her Senior House Officer days was encouraged to take an academic line and apply for General Medicine rotations and take the membership exams. She trained first in adult medicine, and then in gastroenterology and hepatology in Dublin with Professor Donald Weir who encouraged her to do an MD thesis on folate catabolism with Professor John Scott, a world authority on folate metabolism.
While in Dublin she had her two delightful sons while juggling research/academic medicine/clinical practice and discovered the joys of being a mother.
In 1982, she moved to London to work with Dame Sheila Sherlock at the Royal Free Hospital, where she became interested in pediatric hepatology. Dr Kelly retrained in pediatrics with Professor Otto Wolff at Great Ormond Street and Professor John Walker Smith at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hackney.
In 1987 she went to work as an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Nebraska in Omaha US.
Dr Kelly used this time to learn about caring for children undergoing liver transplantation. Equipped with these new skills she returned to Birmingham in 1989 to set up a National Liver Unit to care for children with liver disease and undergoing liver transplantation.
The Unit has been very successful and is one of the busiest pediatric liver transplant programmes with survival rates of > 90%. Dr Kelly now has three other consultant colleagues and a team of junior doctors, research fellows, specialist nurses and other valuable members of the multidisciplinary team.
They have achieved international standards for care of children with liver disease and liver transplantation and currently are the only unit in the UK to provide small bowel transplantation for children.
They have expanded their research programme to look at mechanisms which control the development of biliary epithelial cells, the underlying mechanisms for the pathophysiology of malnutrition in children with liver disease and the natural history and management of chronic viral hepatitis in childhood. They have a major interest in the outcome and quality of life following transplantation.