Dr Ellis O’Neill

Independent Research Fellow
Ellis O'neill

Tel +44 (0)1865 275130

(Room N115)

Group Leader

Dr Steven Kelly.

Research Area

Biomolecular engineering of microbes for natural product discovery and production.

Research Description

My research is focussed on developing and applying synthetic biology approaches to the Euglenozoa, a monophylletic group including both free living algae and parasitic eukaryotes. I am taking a multidisciplinary approach to establish metabolic capacity and utility of different species in this group. This includes developing transformation protocols, characterising metabolic capacity and applying high-throughput sequencing approaches for novel pathway discovery. These disparate approaches are used to facilitate targeted engineering of complex metabolic pathways for the production of compounds for industrial, biotechnology and medicinal applications.


  1. O'Neill, E. C., Stevenson, C. E., Tantanarat, K., Latousakis, D., Donaldson, M. I., Rejzek, M., Nepogodiev, S. A., Limpaseni, T., Field, R. A., and Lawson, D. M. (2015) Structural dissection of the maltodextrin disproportionation cycle of the Arabidopsis plastidial enzyme DPE1. Journal of Biological Chemistry 290, 29834
  2. O’Neill, E. C., Trick, M., Henrissat, B., and Field, R. A. (2015) Euglena in time: Evolution, control of central metabolic processes and multi-domain proteins in carbohydrate and natural product biochemistry. Perspectives in Science
  3. Tang, X., Li, J., Millán-Aguiñaga, N., Zhang, J. J., O'Neill, E. C., Ugalde, J. A., Jensen, P. R., Mantovani, S. M., and Moore, B. S. (2015) Identification of thiotetronic acid antibiotic biosynthetic pathways by target-directed genome mining. ACS Chemical Biology 10, 2841-2849
  4. O'Neill, E. C., and Field, R. A. (2015) Underpinning starch biology with in vitro studies on carbohydrate-active enzymes and biosynthetic glycomaterials. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 3
  5. O'Neill, E. C., Trick, M., Hill, L., Rejzek, M., Dusi, R. G., Hamilton, C. J., Zimba, P. V., Henrissat, B., and Field, R. A. (2015) The transcriptome of Euglena gracilis reveals unexpected metabolic capabilities for carbohydrate and natural product biochemistry. Molecular Biosystems 11, 2808-2820
  6. O'Neill, E. C., Stevenson, C. E. M., Paterson, M. J., Rejzek, M., Chauvin, A.-L., Lawson, D. M., and Field, R. A. (2015) Crystal structure of a novel two domain GH78 family α-rhamnosidase from Klebsiella oxytoca with rhamnose bound. Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics 83, 1742-1749 
  7. Wagstaff, B. A., Rejzek, M., Pesnot, T., Tedaldi, L. M., Caputi, L., O’Neill, E. C., Benini, S., Wagner, G. K., and Field, R. A. (2015) Enzymatic synthesis of nucleobase-modified UDP-sugars: scope and limitations. Carbohydrate Research 404, 17-25 
  8. O’Neill, E. C., and Field, R. A. (2015) Enzymatic synthesis using glycoside phosphorylases. Carbohydrate Research 403, 23-37
  9. O'Neill, E. C., Rashid, A. M., Stevenson, C. E. M., Hetru, A.-C., Gunning, A. P., Rejzek, M., Nepogodiev, S. A., Bornemann, S., Lawson, D. M., and Field, R. A. (2014) Sugar-coated sensor chip and nanoparticle surfaces for the in vitro enzymatic synthesis of starch-like materials. Chemical Science 5, 341-350 
  10. Tantanarat, K., O’Neill, E. C., Rejzek, M., Field, R. A., and Limpaseni, T. (2014) Expression and characterization of 4-α-glucanotransferase genes from Manihot esculenta Crantz and Arabidopsis thaliana and their use for the production of cycloamyloses. Process Biochemistry 49, 84-89
  11. O'Neill, E. C., and Field, R. A. (2013) Antibiotics: Blocking bacterial defences. Nature Chemistry 5, 642-643
  12. Caputi, L., Rejzek, M., Louveau, T., O’Neill, E. C., Hill, L., Osbourn, A., and Field, R. A. (2013) A one-pot enzymatic approach to the O-fluoroglucoside of N methylanthranilate. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 21, 4762-4767
  13. Tantanarat, K., Rejzek, M., O’Neill, E. C., Ruzanski, C., Hill, L., Fairhurst, S. A., Limpaseni, T., and Field, R. A. (2012) An expedient enzymatic route to isomeric 2-, 3- and 6-monodeoxy-monofluoro-maltose derivatives. Carbohydrate Research 358, 12-18