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Luke O’Neill

Immunologist and Chair of Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, Science Communicator of the Year

One of the world’s most influential scientists, multi award-winning Professor Luke O’Neill is passionate about engaging the general public on scientific topics. And with every audience, whether on stage, in the lecture hall or on radio, he succeeds. The recipient of the Science Communicator of the Year Award in 2020, Luke has made contributions regarding Covid-19 on Sky News, The Washington Post, Channel 4, Euronews and the Wall Street Journal.

In school, O’Neill’s strongest subject was English, but he soon turned to science for its potential for discovery, and today he very much sees himself - and other scientists - as an explorer. As a leading immunologist (he’s in the top 1% in the world), O’Neill is obsessed with the very basics of how things work, right down to the molecular level. That passion is palpable wherever he speaks, as he visibly bubbles over with enthusiasm, excitement and energy in his quest to explain how science works in the service of humanity.

O’Neill is an accessible, warm and witty speaker, rarely working from a script and often bringing his audience on tangents that are by turns illuminating and compelling. Seduced by his infectious enthusiasm and belief in the power of science to help people live longer, healthier lives, people always come away having learnt something new, or with a different perspective on something they thought they knew.

As well as a weekly slot on Pat Kenny’s radio show with one of Ireland's leading broadcasters, Newstalk, Luke is in demand globally as a  contributor on scientific developments.  Wherever he speaks, his incredible knowledge and familiar wit are palpable.

He has also written three books: Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here’s the Science (October 2020, Gill Books); Humanology: A Scientist’s Guide to our Amazing Existence; and The Great Irish Science Book.

In November 2020 Luke was named Science Communicator of the Year for his work on the Covid-19 pandemic.  In 2018 he was named by Clarivates as one of the world’s most influential scientists, being in the top 1% in Immunology. He is co-founder of 3 Spin-out companies - Opsona Therapeutics, Inflazome and Sitryx, which are developing new treatments for inflammatory diseases. He has won numerous awards for his research including the European Federation of Immunology Societies medal, the International Cytokine and Interferon Society Milstein Award, The Royal Dublin Society Boyle Medal for Scientific Excellence, The Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for Life sciences. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016.

"Thank you so much for appearing at our virtual conferences. I really appreciate you giving us some of your valuable time.The feedback on your segment has been amazingly strong with attendees really appreciating access to your enormous knowledge and your accessible, down to earth communication style. " Cormac Barry, CEO, Car Trawler

“Luke spoke at both our conferences, for international customers and for suppliers. On both occasions, he was outstanding – and the feedback (and marking) from our international attendees reflected that.  He combined deep subject matter expertise, with a very engaging style, and an ability to communicate in a manner that all could understand” Patrick Kennedy, Chairman, Car Trawler

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