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 you 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, audiences always come away having learnt something new, or with a different perspective on something they thought they knew.
O'Neill has a weekly slot on Pat Kenny’s radio show on Newstalk in which he explores the world of science with his incredible knowledge and familiar wit.
He has also written two books: Humanology: A Scientist’s Guide to our Amazing Existence and The Great Irish Science Book .
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.