Luke A. J. O'Neill

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Luke O'Neill

Professor Luke O'Neill FRS.jpg
Luke O'Neill at the Royal Society admissions day in London in 2016
Alma mater
AwardsEMBO Member (2005)
Scientific career
ThesisCharacterisation of interleukin-1-induced prostaglandin E₂ release in human synovial cells (1988)

Luke Anthony John O'Neill FRS[2] is professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry[3] and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin.[4][5][6][7]


O'Neill was educated at Trinity College Dublin where he was awarded an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences (Biochemistry) in 1985.[8] He completed his postgraduate study at the University of London where he was awarded a PhD in Pharmacology for the research investigating the characterisation of interleukin-1-induced prostaglandin E₂ release in human synovial cells in 1988.[9] Following his PhD, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Strangeways Research Laboratory in Cambridge funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).[8]


O'Neill's research investigates inflammation, a highly complex process that is provoked in the body during infection by bacteria and viruses but also in response to major trauma and injury. Inflammation restores us to health but for largely unknown reasons it can go rogue and give rise to a whole range of inflammatory diseases which remain difficult to treat.[2][10]

He has worked on the innate immune system, which lies at the heart of inflammation. He has uncovered new molecules and biochemical processes that are triggered by sensors of infection and tissue injury, including the toll-like receptors[11][12][13][14] and inflammasomes, and the signals they drive that stimulate inflammation, notably cytokines in the interleukin-1 family. He has made pioneering discoveries in the area of metabolic reprogramming in immunity and immunometabolism. He is using his findings to help in the effort to develop novel anti-inflammatory medicines.[2] He has co-founded Inflazome with Matt Cooper and Sitryx with Houman Ashrafian, Johnathan Powell, Jeff Rathmell and Mike Rosenblum.

His research has been funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the European Research Council (ERC), the Wellcome Trust and GlaxoSmithKline.[4]

Awards and honours[edit]

O'Neill was awarded the Royal Dublin Society & The Irish Times Robert Boyle Medal for scientific excellence in 2009,[15] the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for Life Sciences in 2012 and the European Federation of Immunology Societies (EFIS) Medal in 2014. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA) in 2004[16] and the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in 2005.[17] O'Neill was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2016.[2] He received The Milstein Award from the International Cytokine and Interferon Society and the Barcroft Medal from Queen's University Belfast in 2018. In 2019 he gave the Landsteiner lecture at the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

Public engagement[edit]

O’Neill has a passion to engage with the general public on scientific topics. He has a weekly science slot with Pat Kenny on the Irish national radio station Newstalk. In 2018 he published Humanology: A Scientist’s Guide to our Amazing Existence with Gill publishers.[18]


  1. ^ Brint, Elizabeth K; Xu, Damo; Liu, Haiying; Dunne, Aisling; McKenzie, Andrew N J; O'Neill, Luke A J; Liew, Foo Y (2004). "ST2 is an inhibitor of interleukin 1 receptor and Toll-like receptor 4 signaling and maintains endotoxin tolerance". Nature Immunology. 5 (4): 373–9. doi:10.1038/ni1050. PMID 15004556.
  2. ^ a b c d Anon (2016). "Professor Luke O'Neill FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

  3. ^ Luke A. J. O'Neill publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b "Professor Luke O'Neill: Chair of Biochemistry (1960)". Dublin: Archived from the original on 15 September 2015.
  5. ^ Interview with Professor Luke O'Neill of Trinity College Dublin on YouTube
  6. ^ In Conversation: Professor Luke O'Neill on YouTube
  7. ^ "Luke Anthony John O'Neill". Archived from the original on 23 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Luke A. J. O'Neill" (PDF). Journal of Biological Chemistry. 284: 8209. doi:10.1074/jbc.R800070200. PMC 2659175. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2016.
  9. ^ O'Neill, Luke Anthony John (1988). Characterisation of interleukin-1-induced prostaglandin E₂ release in human synovial cells (PhD thesis). University of London. OCLC 940166978.
  10. ^ O'Neill, L.A.J; Kaltschmidt, C. (1997). "NF-kB: a crucial transcription factor for glial and neuronal cell function". Trends in Neurosciences. 20 (6): 252–258. doi:10.1016/S0166-2236(96)01035-1. PMID 9185306.
  11. ^ Fitzgerald, Katherine A.; Palsson-McDermott, Eva M.; Bowie, Andrew G.; Jefferies, Caroline A.; Mansell, Ashley S.; Brady, Gareth; Brint, Elizabeth; Dunne, Aisling; Gray, Pearl; Harte, Mary T.; McMurray, Diane; Smith, Dirk E.; Sims, John E.; Bird, Timothy A.; O'Neill, Luke A. J. (2001). "Mal (MyD88-adapter-like) is required for Toll-like receptor-4 signal transduction". Nature. 413 (6851): 78–83. doi:10.1038/35092578. PMID 11544529.
  12. ^ Palsson-McDermott, Eva M.; O'Neill, Luke A. J. (2004). "Signal transduction by the lipopolysaccharide receptor, Toll-like receptor-4". Immunology. 113 (2): 153–162. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2567.2004.01976.x. PMC 1782563. PMID 15379975. open access
  13. ^ O'Neill, Luke A. J.; Bowie, Andrew G. (2007). "The family of five: TIR-domain-containing adaptors in Toll-like receptor signalling". Nature Reviews Immunology. 7 (5): 353–364. doi:10.1038/nri2079. PMID 17457343.
  14. ^ Liew, Foo Y.; Xu, Damo; Brint, Elizabeth K.; O'Neill, Luke A. J. (2005). "Negative regulation of Toll-like receptor-mediated immune responses". Nature Reviews Immunology. 5 (6): 446–458. doi:10.1038/nri1630. PMID 15928677.
  15. ^ Boyle Medal Laureates Royal Dublin Society
  16. ^ Downes, John (17 March 2004). "20 new members elected to Royal Irish Academy". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  17. ^ Anon (2005). "EMBO Member Luke O'Neill: Trinity College, Dublin, EMBO 2005". Heidelberg:
  18. ^ O'Neill, Luke (2018). Humanology: A Scientist’s Guide to our Amazing Existence. Gill Books. ISBN 978-0-7171-8015-8.