Associate Professor Geraldine O'Neill

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

Telephone 02 9845 1206
Fax 02 9845 3078

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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

Selected grants

2014

  • Controlling the adhesome to regulate cell fate on biomaterials; Cooper-White J, Frith J, O'Neill G; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2013

  • nanoIR - nanoscale bioimaging with continuous mapping of chemical and physical properties; Gomes V, Dehghani F, Gan Y, Chang L, Jabbarzadeh-Khoei A, McKenzie D, Hanaor D, Zhou F, Chrzanowski W, Braet F, Bilek M, Chan K, Perrier S, O'Neill G, Ammit A, Brand-Miller J, McEwan A, Hawkett B, Kondyurin A, Li Q, Burgess J, Li Z; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Equipment Grants.

2012

  • A sting in the tail: focal adhesion targeting and mechanotransduction; O'Neill G; Cancer Council New South Wales/Research Project Grants.

2011

  • Investigation Cancer Cell Invasion; O'Neill G; DVC Research/Bridging Support Grant.

2010

  • Westmead Correlative Light and Electron Microscope Suite; North K, Jones C, Christodoulou J, Murray R, O'Neill G, Cantrill L, Cunningham A, Kefford R, Clarke C, Henderson B, Bendall L, Turville S, Reddel R, Tam P, Robinson P, Bryan T, Braithwaite A; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Equipment Grants.
  • The cell biology of glioblastoma infiltration; O'Neill G; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.

2009

  • The signalling switch function of the pro-metastatic, adhesion adaptor protein HEF1; O'Neill G; Cancer Council New South Wales/Research Project Grants.
  • Deltavision (DV) Core Image Restoration; Cunningham A, Turville S, Clarke C, Henderson B, Kefford R, North K, O'Neill G, Murray R, Reddel R, Tam P, Robinson P, Chircop M; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Equipment Grants.

2008

  • Understanding focal adhesion dynmics in cell migration; O'Neill G, Gunning P; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.

2007

  • Cytoskeletal Regulation of Adhesion Structure and Migration; O'Neill G; University of Sydney/Bridging Support.

2005

  • Adhesion regulation of pro-migratory factors in breast cancer.; Ammit A, O'Neill G; University of Sydney/Cancer Research Fund.

2004

  • Cas proteins and breast cancer cell response to chemotherapy; O'Neill G; Cancer Council New South Wales/Research Project Grants.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • 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: a European journal of chemical physics and physical chemistry, 15(4), 606-618. [More Information]
  • Zhong, Z., 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. [More Information]
  • Lees, J., Ching, Y., Adams, D., Bach, C., Samuels, 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. [More Information]
  • 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), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Zhong, Z., 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), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Bradbury, P., Fabry, B., O'Neill, G. (2012). Occupy tissue: The movement in cancer metastasis. Cell Adhesion and Migration, 6(5), 424-432. [More Information]
  • Bradbury, P., Mahmassani, M., Zhong, Z., Turner, K., Paul, A., Verrills, N., O'Neill, G. (2012). PP2A phosphatase suppresses function of the mesenchymal invasion regulator NEDD9. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids), 1823 (2), 290-297. [More Information]
  • Cowell, L., Zhong, Z., 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. BBA: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1813 (2), 340-345. [More Information]
  • Lees, J., Bach, C., O'Neill, G. (2011). Interior decoration: Tropomyosin in actin dynamics and cell migration. Cell Adhesion and Migration, 5(2), 181-186. [More Information]
  • 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. [More Information]
  • O'Neill, G. (2011). Scared stiff: Stabilizing the actin cytoskeleton to stop invading cancer cells in their tracks. Bioarchitecture, 1(1), 29-31. [More Information]
  • 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 F A S E B Journal, 25(12), 4423-4433. [More Information]
  • Zhong, Z., Paul, A., Kellie, S., O'Neill, G. (2010). Mesenchymal Migration as a Therapeutic Target in Glioblastoma. Journal of Oncology, 2010 (430142), 430142-1-430142-17. [More Information]
  • Lees, J., Bach, C., Bradbury, P., Paul, A., Gunning, P., O'Neill, G. (2010). The actin-associating protein Tm5NM1 blocks mesenchymal motility without transition to amoeboid motility. Oncogene, , 1-11. [More Information]
  • Bach, C., Schevzov, G., Bryce, N., Gunning, P., O'Neill, G. (2010). Tropomyosin isoform modulation of focal adhesion structure and cell migration. Cell Adhesion and Migration, 4(2), 226-234. [More Information]
  • Garron, M., Arsenieva, D., Zhong, Z., 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. [More Information]
  • O'Neill, G. (2009). The coordination between actin filaments and adhesion in mesenchymal migration. Cell adhesion & migration, 3(4), 355-7. [More Information]
  • 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), 1506-1514. [More Information]
  • Schevzov, G., Fath, T., Vrhoski, B., Vlahovich, N., Rajan, S., Hook, J., Joya, J., Lemckert, F., Puttur, F., Lin, J., Hardeman, E., O'Neill, G., Gunning, P., et al (2008). Divergent regulation of the sarcomere and the cytoskeleton. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 283(1), 275-283. [More Information]
  • Schevzov, G., O'Neill, G. (2008). Tropomyosin gene expression in vivo and in vitro. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 644, 45-59. [More Information]
  • Gunning, P., O'Neill, G., Hardeman, E. (2008). Tropomyosin-Based Regulation of the Actin Cytoskeleton in Time and Space. Physiological Reviews, 88(1), 1-35. [More Information]
  • O'Neill, G., Stehn, J., Gunning, P. (2008). Tropomyosins as interpreters of the signalling environment to regulate the local cytoskeleton. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 18(1), 35-44. [More Information]
  • O'Neill, G., Seo, S., Serebriiskii, I., Lessin, S., Golemis, E. (2007). A New Central Scaffold for Metastasis: Parsing HEF1/Cas-L/NEDD9. Cancer Research, 67(19), 8975-8979. [More Information]
  • Singh, M., Cowell, L., Seo, S., O'Neill, G., Golemis, E. (2007). Molecular basis for HEF1/NEDD9/Cas-L action as a multifunctional co-ordinator of invasion, apoptosis and cell cycle. Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics, 48(1), 54-72. [More Information]
  • Stehn, J., Schevzov, G., O'Neill, G., Gunning, P. (2006). Specialisation of the tropomyosin composition of actin filaments provides new potential targets for chemotherapy. Current Cancer Drug Targets, 6(3), 245-256. [More Information]
  • Cowell, L., Graham, J., Bouton, A., Clarke, C., O'Neill, G. (2006). Tamoxifen treatment promotes phosphorylation of the adhesion molecules, p130Cas/BCAR1, FAK and Src, via an adhesion-dependent pathway. Oncogene, 25(58), 7597-7607. [More Information]
  • Graham, J., Yager, M., Hill, H., Byth Wilson, K., O'Neill, G., Clarke, C. (2005). Altered progesterone receptor isoform expression remodels progestin responsiveness of breast cancer cells. Molecular Endocrinology, 19(11), 2713-2735. [More Information]
  • Bargon, S., Gunning, P., O'Neill, G. (2005). The Cas family docking protein, HEF1, promotes the formation of neurite-like membrane extensions. BBA - Bioenergetics, 1746 (2), 143-154. [More Information]
  • Schevzov, G., Vrhovski, B., Bryce, N., Elmir, S., Qiu, M., O'Neill, G., Yang, N., Verrills, N., Kavallaris, M., Gunning, P. (2005). Tissue-specific Tropomyosin Isoform Composition. Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry: imaging the spectrum of cell biology, 53(5), 557-570. [More Information]
  • McGowan, E., Weinberger, R., Graham, J., Hill, H., Hughes, J., O'Neill, G., Clarke, C. (2003). Cytoskeletal responsiveness to progestins is dependent on progesterone receptor A levels. Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, 31(2), 241-253.
  • Yager, M., Hughes, J., Lovicu, F., Gunning, P., Weinberger, R., O'Neill, G. (2003). Functional analysis of the actin-binding protein, tripomyosin 1, in neuroblastoma. British Journal of Cancer, 89(5), 860-863.

2014

  • 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: a European journal of chemical physics and physical chemistry, 15(4), 606-618. [More Information]
  • Zhong, Z., 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. [More Information]

2013

  • Lees, J., Ching, Y., Adams, D., Bach, C., Samuels, 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. [More Information]
  • 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), 1-10. [More Information]

2012

  • Zhong, Z., 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), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Bradbury, P., Fabry, B., O'Neill, G. (2012). Occupy tissue: The movement in cancer metastasis. Cell Adhesion and Migration, 6(5), 424-432. [More Information]
  • Bradbury, P., Mahmassani, M., Zhong, Z., Turner, K., Paul, A., Verrills, N., O'Neill, G. (2012). PP2A phosphatase suppresses function of the mesenchymal invasion regulator NEDD9. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids), 1823 (2), 290-297. [More Information]

2011

  • Cowell, L., Zhong, Z., 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. BBA: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1813 (2), 340-345. [More Information]
  • Lees, J., Bach, C., O'Neill, G. (2011). Interior decoration: Tropomyosin in actin dynamics and cell migration. Cell Adhesion and Migration, 5(2), 181-186. [More Information]
  • 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. [More Information]
  • O'Neill, G. (2011). Scared stiff: Stabilizing the actin cytoskeleton to stop invading cancer cells in their tracks. Bioarchitecture, 1(1), 29-31. [More Information]
  • 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 F A S E B Journal, 25(12), 4423-4433. [More Information]

2010

  • Zhong, Z., Paul, A., Kellie, S., O'Neill, G. (2010). Mesenchymal Migration as a Therapeutic Target in Glioblastoma. Journal of Oncology, 2010 (430142), 430142-1-430142-17. [More Information]
  • Lees, J., Bach, C., Bradbury, P., Paul, A., Gunning, P., O'Neill, G. (2010). The actin-associating protein Tm5NM1 blocks mesenchymal motility without transition to amoeboid motility. Oncogene, , 1-11. [More Information]
  • Bach, C., Schevzov, G., Bryce, N., Gunning, P., O'Neill, G. (2010). Tropomyosin isoform modulation of focal adhesion structure and cell migration. Cell Adhesion and Migration, 4(2), 226-234. [More Information]

2009

  • Garron, M., Arsenieva, D., Zhong, Z., 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. [More Information]
  • O'Neill, G. (2009). The coordination between actin filaments and adhesion in mesenchymal migration. Cell adhesion & migration, 3(4), 355-7. [More Information]
  • 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), 1506-1514. [More Information]

2008

  • Schevzov, G., Fath, T., Vrhoski, B., Vlahovich, N., Rajan, S., Hook, J., Joya, J., Lemckert, F., Puttur, F., Lin, J., Hardeman, E., O'Neill, G., Gunning, P., et al (2008). Divergent regulation of the sarcomere and the cytoskeleton. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 283(1), 275-283. [More Information]
  • Schevzov, G., O'Neill, G. (2008). Tropomyosin gene expression in vivo and in vitro. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 644, 45-59. [More Information]
  • Gunning, P., O'Neill, G., Hardeman, E. (2008). Tropomyosin-Based Regulation of the Actin Cytoskeleton in Time and Space. Physiological Reviews, 88(1), 1-35. [More Information]
  • O'Neill, G., Stehn, J., Gunning, P. (2008). Tropomyosins as interpreters of the signalling environment to regulate the local cytoskeleton. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 18(1), 35-44. [More Information]

2007

  • O'Neill, G., Seo, S., Serebriiskii, I., Lessin, S., Golemis, E. (2007). A New Central Scaffold for Metastasis: Parsing HEF1/Cas-L/NEDD9. Cancer Research, 67(19), 8975-8979. [More Information]
  • Singh, M., Cowell, L., Seo, S., O'Neill, G., Golemis, E. (2007). Molecular basis for HEF1/NEDD9/Cas-L action as a multifunctional co-ordinator of invasion, apoptosis and cell cycle. Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics, 48(1), 54-72. [More Information]

2006

  • Stehn, J., Schevzov, G., O'Neill, G., Gunning, P. (2006). Specialisation of the tropomyosin composition of actin filaments provides new potential targets for chemotherapy. Current Cancer Drug Targets, 6(3), 245-256. [More Information]
  • Cowell, L., Graham, J., Bouton, A., Clarke, C., O'Neill, G. (2006). Tamoxifen treatment promotes phosphorylation of the adhesion molecules, p130Cas/BCAR1, FAK and Src, via an adhesion-dependent pathway. Oncogene, 25(58), 7597-7607. [More Information]

2005

  • Graham, J., Yager, M., Hill, H., Byth Wilson, K., O'Neill, G., Clarke, C. (2005). Altered progesterone receptor isoform expression remodels progestin responsiveness of breast cancer cells. Molecular Endocrinology, 19(11), 2713-2735. [More Information]
  • Bargon, S., Gunning, P., O'Neill, G. (2005). The Cas family docking protein, HEF1, promotes the formation of neurite-like membrane extensions. BBA - Bioenergetics, 1746 (2), 143-154. [More Information]
  • Schevzov, G., Vrhovski, B., Bryce, N., Elmir, S., Qiu, M., O'Neill, G., Yang, N., Verrills, N., Kavallaris, M., Gunning, P. (2005). Tissue-specific Tropomyosin Isoform Composition. Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry: imaging the spectrum of cell biology, 53(5), 557-570. [More Information]

2003

  • McGowan, E., Weinberger, R., Graham, J., Hill, H., Hughes, J., O'Neill, G., Clarke, C. (2003). Cytoskeletal responsiveness to progestins is dependent on progesterone receptor A levels. Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, 31(2), 241-253.
  • Yager, M., Hughes, J., Lovicu, F., Gunning, P., Weinberger, R., O'Neill, G. (2003). Functional analysis of the actin-binding protein, tripomyosin 1, in neuroblastoma. British Journal of Cancer, 89(5), 860-863.

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