Associate Professor Greg Neely

A12 - Macleay Building
The University of Sydney


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Biographical details

I completed my PhD in human immunology at the University of Calgary, Canada and went on to train in conserved functional genomics in Vienna, Austria. Since 2011 I have been running a lab in Sydney Australia using conserved functional genomics approaches to find novel human disease genes and pathways. My main interest is in age-related diseases involving the nervous system, including pain, neurodegeneration, and strategies to extend lifespan while preserving overall health.

Research interests

Functional Genomics:Our lab is focused on the systematic functional annotation of the genome. The long-term objective of our research is to identify genes and coding mutations that participate in major age-related and neurological diseases. Our overall research strategy is to combine human population genomics (GWAS or sequencing) data with high throughput functional validation in fruit flies and mammalian systems to identify new genes that contribute to human disease.

Our Lab has developed novel functional genomics strategies that we use to identify genes involved in various normal or disease states. Currently we have projects that relate to heart function, pain perception, neurodegeneration, lifespan and metabolic disorders, kidney function, and cancer. In the end our goal is to rapidly improve patient treatment, and many of the new genes we have identified appear to be viable drug targets.

Gene x environment interactions:While our genetics certainly influence what diseases we may be susceptible to, many major human diseases are increasing at a rate faster than genetics alone can explain. Thus an emerging research interest in our lab is what environmental factors are contributing to human disease, and how do our genes interact with these factors to cause disease in some but not others.

Current research students

Project title Research student
Lipid regulation if inflammatory pain John MANION

Current projects

We currently have several honors or PhD projects available in the lab.

#1. Genes and Neural Circuits Controling Pain Perception

Summary: This project involves combining human genomics data for chronic pain disease with high throughput behavioral genomics techniques in fruit fly in order to better understand how chronic pain develops after injury.

This project will involve using high throughput genetics and genomics approaches to better understand how animals become sensitized to pain after injury. The project will involve use of fruit fly behavioral genetics techniques, and potentially bioinformatics, transgenic mice or human stem cells, and the successful applicant will be trained in these techniques.

#2. Lifespan Extension

Summary: This project will combine human genomics with behavioral genetic and molecular biology in order to characterize new pathways that can extend lifespan and preserve cognitive function with age.

This project involves testing human genomics data on longevity to find new genes that can extend lifespan in the fruit fly. We focus on genes that when targeted specifically in the brain, can extend lifespan while also preserve cognitive function with age. We have identified 40 new targets that can extend lifespan, and the project will involve working on some of these new lifespan extending genes. Project will involve lifespan assays, behavioral genetics, molecular biology, and electrophysiology, and the successful candidate will be trained in all of these techniques.

#3. Whole genome CRISPR screening

Summary: This project will involve new whole genome CRISPR editing strategies, coupled with bioinformatics analysis, to identify the complete molecular mechanism of action for relevant human drugs or disease genes.

Recently CRISPR-based approaches have revolutionized functional genomics techniques. We have set up new whole genome CRISPR screening, and using this technique we have defined the molecular mechanism of action for over 20 relevant human drugs or venoms from deadly Australian creatures. This project involves working with our functional genomics team to continue these efforts. The successful candidate will learn state of the art whole genome CRISPR screening, as well as advanced molecular biology and potentially also basic bioinformatics analysis.

Awards and honours

2011 NHMRC Marshall and Warren Award (National award for innovative research)
2011 NHMRC Marshall and Warren Award (National award for innovative research)

2011: NHMRC Marshall and Warren Award (National award for innovative research)

In the media

Selected grants

2017

  • Functional genomics to overcome cancer drug resistance; Neely G, Pajic M, Wu J; Cancer Council New South Wales/Research Project Grants.
  • Neuronal integration of taste and energy; Herzog H, Neely G; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
  • Functional genomic dissection of motor neuron disease; Neely G, Khuong T, Lin Y; Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia/Grants in aid.

2016

  • Advanced Microfluidics for Live Cell Imaging; James D, Palomba S, Neely G; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Equipment Grants.
  • Genomic investigation of major human diseases and lifespan; Neely G; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Career Development Fellowships.
  • Functional genomics approach to extend lifespan while preventing age-related cognitive decline; Neely G, Simpson S; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
  • Transcriptional regulation of nociceptor function and extreme genetic pain disease; Neely G; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
  • Conserved regulators of synaptic transmission and MND; Neely G, Khuong T, Lin Y; Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia/Grants in aid.

2015

  • Conserved Regulators of Disease; Neely G; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Career Development Fellowships.
  • USYD Research Support; Neely G; University of Sydney/Internal Scheme.
  • USYD Research Support; Neely G; University of Sydney/Internal Scheme.
  • Defining factors that contribute to individual diversity in the diet-health axis; James D, Neely G, Neely G, Simpson S; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.

2013

  • The role chromatin remodeling factors in epigenetic regulation of cardiac arrhythmia; Neely G; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.

2012

  • Conserved regulators of appetite; Herzog H, Neely G; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Wang, Q., Simpson, S., Herzog, H., Neely, G. (2017). Chronic Sucralose or L-Glucose Ingestion Does Not Suppress Food Intake. Cell Metabolism, 26(2), 279-280.
  • Wong, A., Wang, Q., Morimoto, J., Senior, A., Lihoreau, M., Neely, G., Simpson, S., Ponton, F. (2017). Gut Microbiota Modifies Olfactory-Guided Microbial Preferences and Foraging Decisions in Drosophila. Current Biology, in press.
  • Loh, K., Zhang, L., Brandon, A., Wang, K., Begg, D., Qi, Y., Fu, M., Kulkarni, R., Cooney, G., Neely, G., et al (2017). Insulin controls food intake and energy balance via NPY neurons. Molecular Metabolism, 6(6), 574-584. [More Information]
  • Wang, Q., Lin, Y., Zhang, L., Wilson, Y., Oyston, L., Cotterell, J., Qi, Y., Khuong, T., Bakhshi, N., Planchenault, Y., Lau, M., Cole, T., Wong, A., Simpson, S., Neely, G., et al (2016). Sucralose Promotes Food Intake through NPY and a Neuronal Fasting Response. Cell Metabolism, 24(1), 75-90. [More Information]
  • Slocumb, M., Regalado, J., Yoshizawa, M., Neely, G., Masek, P., Gibbs, A., Keene, A. (2015). Enhanced Sleep Is an Evolutionarily Adaptive Response to Starvation Stress in Drosophila. PloS One, 10(7), 1-16. [More Information]
  • Nagy, V., Cole, T., Van Campenhout, C., Khoung, T., Leung, C., Vermeiren, S., Novatchkova, M., Wenzel, D., Cikes, D., Polyansky, A., Neely, G., et al (2015). The evolutionarily conserved transcription factor PRDM12 controls sensory neuron development and pain perception. Cell Cycle, 14(12), 1799-1808. [More Information]
  • Peters, M., Joehanes, R., Pilling, L., Schurmann, C., Conneely, K., Powell, J., Reinmaa, E., Sutphin, G., Zhernakova, A., Schramm, K., Wilson, Y., Bakhshi, N., Wang, K., Oyston, L., Neely, G., et al (2015). The transcriptional landscape of age in human peripheral blood. Nature Communications, 6, 1-14. [More Information]
  • Robinson, J., Leshchyns'ka, I., Farghaian, H., Hughes, W., Sytnyk, V., Neely, G., Cole, A. (2014). PI4KIIα phosphorylation by GSK3 directs vesicular trafficking to lysosomes. Biochemical Journal, 464, 145-156. [More Information]
  • Moustaqim-barrette, A., Lin, Y., Pradhan, S., Neely, G., Bellen, H., Tsuda, H. (2014). The amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 8 protein, VAP, is required for ER protein quality control. Human Molecular Genetics, 28(8), 1975-1989. [More Information]
  • Khuong, T., Neely, G. (2013). Conserved systems and functional genomic assessment of nociception. The FEBS Journal, 280(21), 5298-5306. [More Information]
  • Leung, C., Wilson, Y., Khuong, T., Neely, G. (2013). Fruit flies as a powerful model to drive or validate pain genomics efforts. Pharmacogenomics, 14(15), 1879-1887. [More Information]
  • Neely, G., Rao, S., Costigan, M., Mair, N., Racz, I., Milinkeviciute, G., Meixner, A., Nayanala, S., Griffin, R., Belfer, I., et al (2012). Construction of a Global Pain Systems Network Highlights Phospholipid Signaling as a Regulator of Heat Nociception. PLoS Genetics, 8(12), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Xiong, B., Bayat, V., Jaiswal, M., Zhang, K., Sandoval, H., Charng, W., Li, T., David, G., Duraine, L., Lin, Y., et al (2012). Crag Is a GEF for Rab11 Required for Rhodopsin Trafficking and Maintenance of Adult Photoreceptor Cells. PLoS Biology, 10(12), 1-18. [More Information]
  • Milinkeviciute, G., Gentile, C., Neely, G. (2012). Drosophila as a tool for studying the conserved genetics of pain. Clinical Genetics, 82(4), 359-366. [More Information]
  • Schramek, D., Kotsinas, A., Meixner, A., Wada, T., Elling, U., Pospisilik, A., Neely, G., Zwick, R., Sigl, V., Forni, G., et al (2011). The stress kinase MKK7 couples oncogenic stress to p53 stability and tumor suppression. Nature Genetics, 43(3), 212-219. [More Information]
  • Neely, G., Keene, A., Duchek, P., Chang, E., Wang, Q., Aksoy, Y., Rosenzweig, M., Costigan, M., Woolf, C., Garrity, P., et al (2011). TrpA1 regulates thermal nociception in Drosophila. PloS One, 6(8), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Neely, G., Hess, A., Costigan, M., Keene, A., Goulas, S., Langeslag, M., Griffin, R., Belfer, I., Dai, F., Smith, S., et al (2010). A Genome-wide Drosophila screen for heat nociception identifies α2δ3 as an evolutionarily conserved pain gene. Cell, 143(4), 628-638. [More Information]
  • Neely, G., Kuba, K., Cammarato, A., Isobe, K., Amann, S., Zhang, L., Murata, M., Elmen, L., Gupta, V., Arora, S., et al (2010). A Global In Vivo Drosophila RNAi Screen Identifies NOT3 as a Conserved Regulator of Heart Function. Cell, 141(1), 142-153. [More Information]
  • Pospisilik, A., Schramek, D., Schnidar, H., Cronin, S., Nehme, N., Zhang, X., Knauf, C., Cani, P., Aumayr, K., Todoric, J., et al (2010). Drosophila Genome-wide Obesity Screen Reveals Hedgehog as a Determinant of Brown versus White Adipose Cell Fate. Cell, 140(1), 148-160. [More Information]
  • Haubner, B., Neely, G., Voelkl, J., Damilano, F., Kuba, K., Imai, Y., Komnenovic, V., Mayr, A., Pachinger, O., Hirsch, E., et al (2010). PI3Kγ protects from myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury through a kinase-independent pathway. PloS One, 5(2), e9350. [More Information]
  • Cronin, S., Nehme, N., Limmer, S., Liegeois, S., Pospisilik, A., Schramek, D., Leibbrandt, A., De Simoes, R., Gruber, S., Neely, G., et al (2009). Genome-wide RNAi screen identifies genes involved in intestinal pathogenic bacterial infection. Science, 325(5938), 340-343. [More Information]
  • Phillipson, M., Heit, B., Parsons, S., Petri, B., Mullaly, S., Colarusso, P., Grower, M., Neely, G., Simon, S., Kubes,, P. (2009). Vav1 is essential for mechanotactic crawling and igration of neutrophils out of the inflamed microvasculature. The Journal of Immunology, 182(11), 6870-6878. [More Information]

2017

  • Wang, Q., Simpson, S., Herzog, H., Neely, G. (2017). Chronic Sucralose or L-Glucose Ingestion Does Not Suppress Food Intake. Cell Metabolism, 26(2), 279-280.
  • Wong, A., Wang, Q., Morimoto, J., Senior, A., Lihoreau, M., Neely, G., Simpson, S., Ponton, F. (2017). Gut Microbiota Modifies Olfactory-Guided Microbial Preferences and Foraging Decisions in Drosophila. Current Biology, in press.
  • Loh, K., Zhang, L., Brandon, A., Wang, K., Begg, D., Qi, Y., Fu, M., Kulkarni, R., Cooney, G., Neely, G., et al (2017). Insulin controls food intake and energy balance via NPY neurons. Molecular Metabolism, 6(6), 574-584. [More Information]

2016

  • Wang, Q., Lin, Y., Zhang, L., Wilson, Y., Oyston, L., Cotterell, J., Qi, Y., Khuong, T., Bakhshi, N., Planchenault, Y., Lau, M., Cole, T., Wong, A., Simpson, S., Neely, G., et al (2016). Sucralose Promotes Food Intake through NPY and a Neuronal Fasting Response. Cell Metabolism, 24(1), 75-90. [More Information]

2015

  • Slocumb, M., Regalado, J., Yoshizawa, M., Neely, G., Masek, P., Gibbs, A., Keene, A. (2015). Enhanced Sleep Is an Evolutionarily Adaptive Response to Starvation Stress in Drosophila. PloS One, 10(7), 1-16. [More Information]
  • Nagy, V., Cole, T., Van Campenhout, C., Khoung, T., Leung, C., Vermeiren, S., Novatchkova, M., Wenzel, D., Cikes, D., Polyansky, A., Neely, G., et al (2015). The evolutionarily conserved transcription factor PRDM12 controls sensory neuron development and pain perception. Cell Cycle, 14(12), 1799-1808. [More Information]
  • Peters, M., Joehanes, R., Pilling, L., Schurmann, C., Conneely, K., Powell, J., Reinmaa, E., Sutphin, G., Zhernakova, A., Schramm, K., Wilson, Y., Bakhshi, N., Wang, K., Oyston, L., Neely, G., et al (2015). The transcriptional landscape of age in human peripheral blood. Nature Communications, 6, 1-14. [More Information]

2014

  • Robinson, J., Leshchyns'ka, I., Farghaian, H., Hughes, W., Sytnyk, V., Neely, G., Cole, A. (2014). PI4KIIα phosphorylation by GSK3 directs vesicular trafficking to lysosomes. Biochemical Journal, 464, 145-156. [More Information]
  • Moustaqim-barrette, A., Lin, Y., Pradhan, S., Neely, G., Bellen, H., Tsuda, H. (2014). The amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 8 protein, VAP, is required for ER protein quality control. Human Molecular Genetics, 28(8), 1975-1989. [More Information]

2013

  • Khuong, T., Neely, G. (2013). Conserved systems and functional genomic assessment of nociception. The FEBS Journal, 280(21), 5298-5306. [More Information]
  • Leung, C., Wilson, Y., Khuong, T., Neely, G. (2013). Fruit flies as a powerful model to drive or validate pain genomics efforts. Pharmacogenomics, 14(15), 1879-1887. [More Information]

2012

  • Neely, G., Rao, S., Costigan, M., Mair, N., Racz, I., Milinkeviciute, G., Meixner, A., Nayanala, S., Griffin, R., Belfer, I., et al (2012). Construction of a Global Pain Systems Network Highlights Phospholipid Signaling as a Regulator of Heat Nociception. PLoS Genetics, 8(12), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Xiong, B., Bayat, V., Jaiswal, M., Zhang, K., Sandoval, H., Charng, W., Li, T., David, G., Duraine, L., Lin, Y., et al (2012). Crag Is a GEF for Rab11 Required for Rhodopsin Trafficking and Maintenance of Adult Photoreceptor Cells. PLoS Biology, 10(12), 1-18. [More Information]
  • Milinkeviciute, G., Gentile, C., Neely, G. (2012). Drosophila as a tool for studying the conserved genetics of pain. Clinical Genetics, 82(4), 359-366. [More Information]

2011

  • Schramek, D., Kotsinas, A., Meixner, A., Wada, T., Elling, U., Pospisilik, A., Neely, G., Zwick, R., Sigl, V., Forni, G., et al (2011). The stress kinase MKK7 couples oncogenic stress to p53 stability and tumor suppression. Nature Genetics, 43(3), 212-219. [More Information]
  • Neely, G., Keene, A., Duchek, P., Chang, E., Wang, Q., Aksoy, Y., Rosenzweig, M., Costigan, M., Woolf, C., Garrity, P., et al (2011). TrpA1 regulates thermal nociception in Drosophila. PloS One, 6(8), 1-9. [More Information]

2010

  • Neely, G., Hess, A., Costigan, M., Keene, A., Goulas, S., Langeslag, M., Griffin, R., Belfer, I., Dai, F., Smith, S., et al (2010). A Genome-wide Drosophila screen for heat nociception identifies α2δ3 as an evolutionarily conserved pain gene. Cell, 143(4), 628-638. [More Information]
  • Neely, G., Kuba, K., Cammarato, A., Isobe, K., Amann, S., Zhang, L., Murata, M., Elmen, L., Gupta, V., Arora, S., et al (2010). A Global In Vivo Drosophila RNAi Screen Identifies NOT3 as a Conserved Regulator of Heart Function. Cell, 141(1), 142-153. [More Information]
  • Pospisilik, A., Schramek, D., Schnidar, H., Cronin, S., Nehme, N., Zhang, X., Knauf, C., Cani, P., Aumayr, K., Todoric, J., et al (2010). Drosophila Genome-wide Obesity Screen Reveals Hedgehog as a Determinant of Brown versus White Adipose Cell Fate. Cell, 140(1), 148-160. [More Information]
  • Haubner, B., Neely, G., Voelkl, J., Damilano, F., Kuba, K., Imai, Y., Komnenovic, V., Mayr, A., Pachinger, O., Hirsch, E., et al (2010). PI3Kγ protects from myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury through a kinase-independent pathway. PloS One, 5(2), e9350. [More Information]

2009

  • Cronin, S., Nehme, N., Limmer, S., Liegeois, S., Pospisilik, A., Schramek, D., Leibbrandt, A., De Simoes, R., Gruber, S., Neely, G., et al (2009). Genome-wide RNAi screen identifies genes involved in intestinal pathogenic bacterial infection. Science, 325(5938), 340-343. [More Information]
  • Phillipson, M., Heit, B., Parsons, S., Petri, B., Mullaly, S., Colarusso, P., Grower, M., Neely, G., Simon, S., Kubes,, P. (2009). Vav1 is essential for mechanotactic crawling and igration of neutrophils out of the inflamed microvasculature. The Journal of Immunology, 182(11), 6870-6878. [More Information]

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