Dr Adam O'Neill
Dr Adam O’Neill is a research fellow within the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health at the University of Otago with interests in deciphering the genetic heterogeneity of neurodevelopmental conditions such as intellectual disability, developmental delay and ADHD.
After completing his PhD at the University of Otago with Professor Stephen Robertson and through funding from the Philip Wrightson Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Neurological Foundation, Adam travelled to Munich to work with Professor Magdalena Goetz. Here, he pioneered the use of stem-cell-based technologies to catalogue and analyse the proteins and genes forming networks within specific brain cells. Adam’s aim is to assess how disturbance in these networks provide vital clues for understanding neurodevelopmental conditions.
At the end of 2019, with the aid of the Roy Austin Fellowship from Cure Kids, Adam returned to New Zealand to extend this work. Using skin cells from children with neurodevelopmental conditions, we can “programme” them into brain stem-cells for laboratory study – mapping the development of a child’s brain condition from onset to maturation. Ultimately, he aims to more accurately classify these childhood disorders using molecular methods. His work will help stratify these children’s phenotypes at the molecular level, improving diagnostics and management.