Projects per year
Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Science
Head of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy
Module Co-ordinator for PHAP 6015B (Advanced Drug Discovery, Pharmacology and Toxicology)
Maria obtained a BSc in human nutrition at Trinity College Dublin and a diploma in dietetics at Dublin Institute of Technology. She then undertook a PhD and post-doc position in Trinity College investigating mechanisms of action of tumour necrosis factor alpha. She moved to The Scripps Research Institute in California as an American Heart Association research fellow in Nigel Mackman's lab, studying gene regulation in inflammation.
From 1999-2006, Maria was a senior research scientist and deputy head of the Micronutrient Research Section at the Medical Research Council’s Human Nutrition Research Centre in Cambridge, working on the regulation of gene expression in inflammation and vascular disease and the role of cellular and dietary antioxidants in disease.
From 2006-2016, Maria was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Pharmacy at UEA and her research focused on preventing and treating inflammation and cancer. In 2016, she was promoted to Professor of Cell Biology.
Areas of Expertise
Maria has studied: regulation of pro-inflammatory mediators (cytokines, adhesion molecules, coagulants, growth factors and matrix metalloproteinases) in chronic inflammation and age-related diseases; characterisation of the NFkappaB, Nrf2 and Egr-1 signalling pathways in inflammation; mechanisms of action of micronutrients and phytochemicals; novel therapeutics and therapeutic targets in age-related diseases and cancer.
Key Research Interests
Natural products and age-related diseases: characterising the mechanisms of action and investigating the potential of plant and marine-based compounds and their derivatives as nutraceuticals and therapeutics
- Bioactive peptides, triterpenoids, organosulfur compounds, flavonoids, vitamins, novel leads from natural product libraries, biosynthesised phytochemicals
Targeting inflammation - regulation of gene expression and novel therapeutics targeting these proteins:
- Nrf2 and other NFE2 family members
- NFkappaB family members
Novel therapeutics in cancer:
- Metal-based compounds
- Novel leads from natural product-based libraries
- Targeted peptides disrupting protein/protein and protein/DNA interactions
Research Group or Lab Membership
Ellie Hyde (with A Beekman)
Salonee Banerjee (with A Sobolewski)
Daria Golubova (with N Patron)
Rebecca Casson (with A Osbourn)
Sherif Hamdallah (with S Qi)
Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):
Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years
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1/06/23 → 31/05/26
30/03/21 → 29/03/24
3/01/23 → 28/02/23
1/10/21 → 31/10/21
Euglenatides, potent antiproliferative cyclic peptides isolated from the freshwater photosynthetic microalga Euglena gracilisGanesan, A., Aldholmi, M., Ahmad, R., Carretero-Molina, D., Pérez-Victoria, I., Martín, J., Reyes, F., Genilloud, O., Gourbeyre, L., Gefflaut, T., Carlsson, H., Maklakov, A., Field, R. A., O'Neill, E., Wilkinson, B. & O'Connell, M., 7 Jun 2022, In: Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 61, 23, e202203175.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile3 Citations (Scopus)6 Downloads (Pure)
Amino DSA analogues as payloads for antibody-drug conjugates with multiple sites for conjugation. Initial studies and solid phase synthesisM. M. D. Cominetti, M., Goddard, Z. R., Howman, C. E., O'Connell, M. A. & Searcey, M., 25 May 2021, In: Tetrahedron Letters. 72, 153058.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile11 Downloads (Pure)
Peptide directed phthalocyanine-gold nanoparticles for selective photodynamic therapy of EGFR overexpressing cancersGoddard, Z. R., Beekman, A. M., Cominetti, M. M. D., O'Connell, M. A., Chambrier, I., Cook, M. J., Marin, M. J., Russell, D. A. & Searcey, M., 1 Feb 2021, In: RSC Medicinal Chemistry. 12, 2, p. 288-292 5 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile9 Citations (Scopus)26 Downloads (Pure)
Wright, M. A., O'Connell, M. A. & Wright, J. A., 24 May 2021, In: Inorganica Chimica Acta. 520, 120283.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile1 Citation (Scopus)9 Downloads (Pure)
Wright, M., Wooldridge, T., O'Connell, M. & Wright, J., 21 Apr 2020, In: Chemical Communications. 56, 31, p. 4300-4303 4 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile4 Citations (Scopus)4 Downloads (Pure)
Maria O'Connell (Member)2021 → …
Activity: Membership › Peer review panel
Maria O'Connell (Member)2020
Activity: Membership › Committee