Associate Professor Geraldine O'Neill

Associate Professor
Paediatrics & Child Health, Children's Hospital, Westmead

C29 - Children's Hospital Westmead
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: 02 9845 1206
F: 02 9845 3078

W: Related website

Biographical details

Geraldine O'Neill is Group Leader of the Focal Adhesion Biology (FAB) group and holds a Conjoint Associate Professor appointment at the University of Sydney. Geraldine has attracted over $3.5 million in peer-reviewed funding from national (NHMRC), specialist (Cancer Council and Cancer Institute NSW) and local agencies, contributed highly cited research publications and formed international and national collaborations. Major awards received during her research career include an NHMRC Howard Florey Centenary Research Fellowship (2001 - 2002), NSW Cancer Council Career Development Fellowship (2003 - 2008) and AIPS Young Tall Poppy Award (2006). Regard for her research is reflected by invited speaker presentations at national conferences and at international and national institutes and leadership roles in major national conferences including symposia chair and stream coordinator. She is a Principle Investigator of The Kid’s Cancer Project Childhood Cancer Cytoskeleton Consortium (C4) and of the recently established Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative. Geraldine's standing in the field is recognized by membership of NHMRC grant review panels (2010-2012) and frequent grant reviewing for agencies including NHMRC, ARC, Cancer Council, Cure Cancer Australia, National Breast Cancer Foundation and Human Frontiers in Science Program, along with regular invitations to review manuscripts for international cancer and biochemistry journals. Included among key roles held in national societies, she has served as secretary, Australian and NZ Society for Cell and Developmental Biology. Her commitment to student mentoring is indicated by her a teaching award in 2006, prizes awarded to her Honours and PhD students and appointment as Deputy Post-graduate coordinator.

Research interests

The central theme of A/Prof Geraldine O'Neill's research is to understand how cancer cell interaction with the surrounding matrix leads to the progression to metastatic disease, one of the major causes of cancer patient mortality. Her team investigates the cell biology of cancer cell invasion, with a particular focus on brain tumours and neuroblastoma.

Project Grants/Funding (last 5 years)

  • Johns, Boyd, McDonald, O'Neill, Rose and Gottardo, Cure for Life Foundation (CLF),Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative (BCDC), 2013, $1M

  • Gaus and O’Neill, ARC Discovery Project, Nano-scale organisation of cellular adhesions, 2013-2015, $455K

  • O'Neill and Fabry, NSW Cancer Council Project Grant, A sting in the tail: Focal Adhesion Targetting and Mechanotransduction, 2012-2014, $325K

  • O’Neill, University of Sydney Bridging Grant, Investigating Cancer Cell Invasion, 2011, $50K

  • O’Neill, NHMRC Project grant, The cell biology of glioblastoma infiltration, 2010-2012, $508K

  • O’Neill and Golemis, NSW Cancer Council Project Grant,The signalling switch function of the pro-metastatic, adhesion adaptor protein HEF1, 2009-2011, $350K

  • O’Neill and Gunning, NHMRC Project Grant, Understanding focal adhesion dynamics in cell migration, 2008-2011, $267K

Funding to FAB team members (last 5 years)

  • Lees, Cure Cancer Australia Foundation & Cancer Australia (Co-funding) Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme, Inhibition of glioblastoma invasion by novel Dynamin ring stabilisers, 2012, $90K

  • Bach, The Kids Cancer Project C4 Fellowship, Cytoskeletal regulation of adhesion dynamics in metatastic neuroblastoma, $100K p.a. (2011 - present)

  • Lees, Ramaciotti Establishment Grant, The regulation of cancer cell migration within solid tissue, 2010, $75K

  • Zhong, NSW Cancer Institute Research Scholar Award, 2010-2012

  • Bach, NSW Cancer Institute Research Scholar Award, 2010-2011


Cell biology; Cancer


2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009


  • Zhong, J., Bach, C., Shum, M., O'Neill, G. (2014), NEDD9 Regulates 3D Migratory Activity Independent of the Rac1 Morphology Switch in Glioma and Neuroblastoma. Molecular Cancer Research. 12(2), 264-273. [Abstract]
  • Lees, J., Gorgani, N., Ammit, A., McCluskey, A., Robinson, P., O'Neill, G. (2014), Role of dynamin in elongated cell migration in a 3D matrix. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 1853(3), 611-618. [Abstract]
  • Bach, C., Murray, R., Owen, D., Gaus, K., O'Neill, G. (2014), Tropomyosin Tm5NM1 Spatially Restricts Src Kinase Activity Through Perturbation of Rab11 Vesicle Trafficking. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 34(24), 4436-4446. [Abstract]
  • Bradbury, P., Bach, C., Paul, A., O'Neill, G. (2014), Src Kinase Determines the Dynamic Exchange of the Docking Protein Neural precursor cell Expressed Developmentally Down-regulated gene 9 (NEDD9) at Focal Adhesions. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 289(36), 24792-24800. [Abstract]
  • Tabarin, T., Pageon, S., Bach, C., Lu, Y., O'Neill, G., Gooding, J., Gaus, K. (2014), Insights into adhesion biology using single-molecule localization microscopy. Chemphyschem. 15(4), 606-618. [Abstract]


  • Lees, J., Ching, Y., Adams, D., Bach, C., Samuel, M., Kee, A., Hardeman, E., Gunning, P., Cowin, A., O'Neill, G. (2013), Tropomyosin regulates cell migration during skin wound healing. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 133(5), 1330-1339. [Abstract]
  • Baquiran, J., Bradbury, P., O'Neill, G. (2013), Tyrosine Y189 in the Substrate Domain of the Adhesion Docking Protein NEDD9 Is Conserved with p130Cas Y253 and Regulates NEDD9-Mediated Migration and Focal Adhesion Dynamics. PloS One. 8(7), e69304. [Abstract]


  • Bradbury, P., Fabry, B., O'Neill, G. (2012), Occupy tissue: The movement in cancer metastasis. Cell Adhesion & Migration. 6(5), 424-432. [Abstract]
  • Bradbury, P., Mahmassani, M., Zhong, J., Turner, K., Paul, A., Verrills, N., O'Neill, G. (2012), PP2A phosphatase suppresses function of the mesenchymal invasion regulator NEDD9. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 1823(2), 290-7. [Abstract]
  • Zhong, J., Baquiran, J., Bonakdar, N., Lees, J., Ching, Y., Pugacheva, E., Fabry, B., O'Neill, G. (2012), NEDD9 stabilizes focal adhesions, increases binding to the extra-cellular matrix and differentially effects 2D versus 3D cell migration. PLoS One. 7(4), e35058. [Abstract]


  • Shum, M., Pasquier, E., Po'uha, S., O'Neill, G., Chaponnier, C., Gunning, P., Kavallaris, M. (2011), γ-Actin regulates cell migration and modulates the ROCK signaling pathway. The FASEB Journal. 25(12), 4423-4433. [Abstract]
  • Kopecki, Z., O'Neill, G., Arkell, R., Cowin, A. (2011), Regulation of focal adhesions by flightless i involves inhibition of paxillin phosphorylation via a Rac1-dependent pathway. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 131(7), 1450-1459. [Abstract]
  • Lees, J., Bach, C., Bradbury, P., Paul, A., Gunning, P., O'Neill, G. (2011), The actin-associating protein Tm5NM1 blocks mesenchymal motility without transition to amoeboid motility. Oncogene. 30, 1241-51. [Abstract]
  • Bradshaw, L., Zhong, J., Bradbury, P., Mahmassani, M., Smith, J., Ammit, A., O'Neill, G. (2011), Estradiol stabilizes the 105kD phospho-form of the adhesion docking protein NEDD9 and suppresses NEDD9-dependent cell spreading in breast cancer cells. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 1813(2), 340-5. [Abstract]
  • Lees, J., Bach, C., O'Neill, G. (2011), Interior decoration: Tropomyosin in actin dynamics and cell migration. Cell adhesion & migration. 5(2), 181-6. [Abstract]
  • O'Neill, G. (2011), Scared stiff: Stabilizing the actin cytoskeleton to stop invading cancer cells in their tracks. Bioarchitecture. 1(1), 29-31. [Abstract]


  • Bach, C., Schevzov, G., Bryce, N., Gunning, P., O'Neill, G. (2010), Tropomyosin isoform modulation of focal adhesion structure and cell migration. Cell adhesion & migration. 4(2), 226-34. [Abstract]
  • Zhong, J., Paul, A., Kellie, S., O'Neill, G. (2010), Mesenchymal migration as a therapeutic target in glioblastoma. Journal of Oncology. 2010, 430142. [Abstract]


  • Bach, C., Creed, S., Zhong, J., Mahmassani, M., Schevzov, G., Stehn, J., Cowell, L., Naumanen, P., Lappalainen, P., Gunning, P., O'Neill, G. (2009), Tropomyosin isoform expression regulates the transition of adhesions to determine cell speed and direction. Molecular and cellular biology. 29(6), 1506-14. [Abstract]
  • Garron, M., Arsenieva, D., Zhong, J., Bloom, A., Lerner, A., O'Neill, G., Arold, S. (2009), Structural insights into the association between BCAR3 and Cas family members, an atypical complex implicated in anti-oestrogen resistance. Journal of molecular biology. 386(1), 190-203. [Abstract]
  • O'Neill, G. (2009), The coordination between actin filaments and adhesion in mesenchymal migration. Cell adhesion & migration. 3(4), 355-7. [Abstract]