Prof. Cora O’Neill is Deputy Head of the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Director of the Cork Neuroscience Centre, and a funded investigator in APC Microbiome Ireland. She is principal investigator of a research team whose major focus is Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson's disease, and related brain degenerative disorders. She graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from University College Dublin and PhD in Biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin (1985). She conducted her post-doctoral training at the Swedish Brain Bank in Umea Sweden (1986-87), where she started to work on Alzheimer’s disease, and subsequently in the Department of Geriatric Medicine, Karolinska Institute Sweden (1987-93) where she became a group leader in Alzheimer’s disease research. She was appointed as a College Lecturer (1993) Senior Lecturer (2001) and Professor (2017) in University College Cork. As previous Chair of Graduate Studies in the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, she is a leader in research-led teaching and post-graduate education.
Dr. O’Neill’s major research interests are to understand the basic mechanisms that cause neurodegeneration with age in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related neurodegenerative diseases. Her research pinpointing defects in insulin signalling in the brain as an early cause of Alzheimer’s disease is highly cited and translating to new therapies and biomarkers for the disease. This feeds into the ultimate goal of her research which is to develop better drug therapies, diagnostic tools and lifestyle interventions to treat and prevent neurodegeneration. She is a major advocate for increased investment in Alzheimer’s and neurodegeneration research nationally, has organised several national and international conferences and served on a number of scientific and advisory boards including the Irish National Steering Committee on Neurodegenerative diseases, the Royal Irish Academy National Committee for Biochemistry, the Irish Bioindustries Association committee and as Chair of the Irish Area Section of the Biochemical Society.