O'Mara Group

Research at the interface of chemistry, biology, physics and computer science

Prof Megan O'Mara's highly interdisciplinary research lies at the interface of chemistry, biology, physics and computer science. While our knowledge of structural biology, systems biology and omics data has expanded rapidly in the last few years, significant gaps remain in our understanding of how proteins, lipids and other biomolecules come together to bring about the molecular regulation of living cells. Megan uses multiscale simulations and high performance computing techniques to understand how the chemical environment of the cell influences function, and how biochemical changes resulting from inflammatory or disease processes change the cell's biophysical properties. She is particularly interested in how these changes can lead to differences in the efficacy of pharmaceuticals and the design of biocompatible molecules that will improve targeted drug delivery. 

  • The impact of lipid modifications on cell membrane function

    Membrane lipid composition influences the localisation of membrane proteins and regulates their activity. The hundreds of chemically distinct lipids within cell membranes phase-separate to form microdomains that impact the localisation and interactions of membrane proteins.

  • Membrane mediated antimicrobial resistance

    Bacterial multidrug efflux pumps are the bacteria’s first line of defence against the action of antimicrobials. However, very little is currently known about the function and substrate range of these efflux pumps.

  • Computational design of biocompatable delivery systems

    ​Biocompatible delivery systems allow enhanced delivery of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other biological payload molecules, with varied effects including extending the pharmaceutical half-life of drugs, increasing adsorption and decreasing immunogenicity.