Dr Deborah O'Neil holding a stack of petri dishes.

I‘m an Immunologist by training and believe that fighting infection through the same or similar mechanisms which the body’s immune system employs to combat bacteria and fungi, is one solution to this enormous infectious disease challenge. I have always been fascinated by biology; how the body functions in health and disease. I fell in love with immunology from my first university lecture, despite (or because of?) the fascinating complexity and criticality of the immune system to our health.

Dr Deborah O’Neil

I invent and develop new medicines for life-threatening and life-limiting diseases. These are inflammatory, respiratory and infectious diseases caused by bacteria, fungi and also viruses. I am the Chief Executive and Scientific Officer of NovaBiotics Ltd, the company I founded in 2004 in order to research and study the therapeutic potential of these new medicines, through laboratory testing and in clinical trials in healthy volunteers and patients. The medicines that I am developing are novel classes of therapy for a range of socioeconomically significant conditions including pneumonia caused by COVID, drug-resistant bacterial infections, life-threatening fungal infections and cystic fibrosis. The therapies I have invented are based on the effector molecules that are deployed by the body’s immune system as a first line of defence against infection by bacteria and fungi and as a means of resolving the inflammatory consequences of viral and bacterial infection. There is an urgent need for new medicines to combat infectious and inflammatory disease. We are in the midst of a global antimicrobial resistance crisis and must be prepared for any future viral pandemic.

Deborah is holding petri dishes where she grows life-threatening bacteria and fungi.