Professor Megan O'Mara

Professorial Research Fellow and Gr

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Overview

Megan O’Mara is a Professor and Group Leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), UQ. Her group uses multiscale modelling techniques to understand how changes in the biochemical environment of the cell membranes alters membrane properties and modulates the function of membrane proteins. She has research interests in multidrug resistance, computational drug design and delivery, biopolymers, and personalized medicine. Megan completed her PhD in biophysics at the Australian National University in 2005 before moving to the University of Calgary, Canada, to take up a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2009, she returned to Australia to join University of Queensland’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences as a UQ Postdoctoral Fellow, before commencing an ARC DECRA in 2012 where she continued her computational work on membrane protein dynamics. In 2015, Megan joined the Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University in 2015 as Rita Cornforth Fellow and Senior Lecturer. In 2019 she was promoted to Associate Professor and was Associate Director (Education) of the Research School of Chemistry ANU in 2019-2021. In April 2022 she relocated to AIBN.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Applied Science, University of Canberra
  • Bachelor of Science (Physical Sciences), Australian National University
  • PhD (Physical Sciences), Australian National University

Publications

  • Chen, Wenqian, Wang, Ruiwu, Chen, Biyi, Zhong, Xiaowei, Kong, Huihui, Bai, Yunlong, Zhou, Qiang, Xie, Cuihong, Zhang, Jingqun, Guo, Ang, Tian, Xixi, Jones, Peter P., O'Mara, Megan L., Liu, Yingjie, Mi, Tao, Zhang, Lin, Bolstad, Jeff, Semeniuk, Lisa, Cheng, Hongqiang, Zhang, Jianlin, Chen, Ju, Tieleman, D. Peter, Gillis, Anne M., Duff, Henry J., Fill, Michael, Song, Long-Sheng and Chen, S. R. Wayne (2014). The ryanodine receptor store-sensing gate controls Ca2+ waves and Ca2+-triggered arrhythmias. Nature Medicine, 20 (2), 184-192. doi: 10.1038/nm.3440

  • Couñago, Rafael M., Ween, Miranda P., Begg, Stephanie L., Bajaj, Megha, Zuegg, Johannes, O'Mara, Megan L., Cooper, Matthew A., McEwan, Alastair G., Paton, James C., Kobe, Bostjan and McDevitt, Christopher A. (2014). Imperfect coordination chemistry facilitates metal ion release in the Psa permease. Nature Chemical Biology, 10 (1), 35-41. doi: 10.1038/nCHeMBIO.1382

  • O’Mara, Megan L. and Mark, Alan E. (2012). The effect of environment on the structure of a membrane protein: P-glycoprotein under physiological conditions. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, 8 (10), 3964-3976. doi: 10.1021/ct300254y

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Supervision

View all Supervision

Publications

Featured Publications

  • Chen, Wenqian, Wang, Ruiwu, Chen, Biyi, Zhong, Xiaowei, Kong, Huihui, Bai, Yunlong, Zhou, Qiang, Xie, Cuihong, Zhang, Jingqun, Guo, Ang, Tian, Xixi, Jones, Peter P., O'Mara, Megan L., Liu, Yingjie, Mi, Tao, Zhang, Lin, Bolstad, Jeff, Semeniuk, Lisa, Cheng, Hongqiang, Zhang, Jianlin, Chen, Ju, Tieleman, D. Peter, Gillis, Anne M., Duff, Henry J., Fill, Michael, Song, Long-Sheng and Chen, S. R. Wayne (2014). The ryanodine receptor store-sensing gate controls Ca2+ waves and Ca2+-triggered arrhythmias. Nature Medicine, 20 (2), 184-192. doi: 10.1038/nm.3440

  • Couñago, Rafael M., Ween, Miranda P., Begg, Stephanie L., Bajaj, Megha, Zuegg, Johannes, O'Mara, Megan L., Cooper, Matthew A., McEwan, Alastair G., Paton, James C., Kobe, Bostjan and McDevitt, Christopher A. (2014). Imperfect coordination chemistry facilitates metal ion release in the Psa permease. Nature Chemical Biology, 10 (1), 35-41. doi: 10.1038/nCHeMBIO.1382

  • O’Mara, Megan L. and Mark, Alan E. (2012). The effect of environment on the structure of a membrane protein: P-glycoprotein under physiological conditions. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, 8 (10), 3964-3976. doi: 10.1021/ct300254y

Book Chapter

  • Mitchell, Joshua A., Zhang, William H., Herde, Michel K., Henneberger, Christian, Janovjak, Harald, O’Mara, Megan L. and Jackson, Colin J. (2017). Method for developing optical sensors using a synthetic dye-fluorescent protein FRET pair and computational modeling and assessment. Synthetic Protein Switches: Methods and Protocols. (pp. 89-99) New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6940-1_6

  • Steinbeck, Janina, O’Mara, Megan L., Ross, Ian L., Stahlberg, Henning and Hankamer, Ben (2017). Thylakoid Ultrastructure: Visualizing the Photosynthetic Machinery. Chlamydomonas: Biotechnology and Biomedicine. (pp. 149-191) Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-66360-9_7

  • O’Mara, Megan L. and Deplazes, Evelyne (2014). Polypeptide and protein modeling for drug design. Encyclopedia of computational neuroscience. (pp. 1-9) New York, United States: Springer . doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-7320-6_732-1

  • O'Mara, Megan and Deplazes, Evelyne (2014). Polypeptide and protein modeling for drug design. Encyclopedia of computational neuroscience. (pp. 2439-2447) edited by Dieter Jaeger and Ranu Jung. Berlin, Germany: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6675-8_732

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Brooks, Andrew, Dai, W., O'Mara, M. L., Abankwa, D., Chhabra, Y., Pelekanos, R. A., Gardon, O., Tunny, K. A., Blucher, K. M., Morton, C. J., Parker, M. W., Sierecki, E., Gambin, Y., Gomez, G. A., Alexandrov, K., Wilson, I. A., Doxastakis, M., Mark, A. E. and Waters, M. J. (2016). Going downstream - how does GH binding activate JAK2. Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia, Adelaide, Australia, 23-26 August, 2015. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1111/cen.13010

  • Brooks, Andrew J., O’Mara, Megan L., Dai, Wei, Abankwa, Daniel, Chhabra, Yash, Tunny, Kathryn A., Parker, Michael W., Sierecki, Emma, Gambin, Yann, Gomez, Guillermo A., Haxholm, Gitte W., Nikolajsen, Louise F., Doxastakis, Manolis, Mark, Alan E. and Waters, Michael J. (2016). Mechanism of JAK2 Activation by the Archetype Class I Cytokine Receptor, the Growth Hormone Receptor. Biophysical Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 27 February - 2 March 2016. CAMBRIDGE: CELL PRESS. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2015.11.233

  • Condic-Jurkic, K., Subramanian, N., Mark, A. E. and O'Mara, M. (2015). Insights into the operations of a promiscuous drug trafficker: The story of P-glycoprotein. 10th European Biophysical Societies Association (EBSA) European Biophysics Congress, Dresden, Germany, 18-22 July 2015. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer. doi: 10.1007/s00249-015-1045-6

  • Brooks, Andrew J, Chhabra, Yash, Abankwa, Daniel, O’Mara, Megan, Dai, Wei, Gardon, Olivier, Tunny, Kathryn A., Blucher, Kristopher M., Morton, Craig J., Parker, Michael W., Sierecki, Emma, Gambin, Yann, Guillermo A. Gomez, Alexandrov, Kirill Kirill, Doxastakis, Manolis, Mark, Alan E. and Waters, Michael J. (2014). A new cytokine receptor activation paradigm: Activation of JAK2 by the growth hormone receptor. 2nd Annual Meeting of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society (ICIS), Melbourne, VIC Australia, 26 - 29 October 2014. London, United Kingdom: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2014.07.227

  • Sowa, Anna, Harrison, Michael, Tregaskes, Clive, Chappell, Paul, Roversi, Pietro, Lea, Susan, O'Mara, Megan, Gaudet, Rachelle and Kaufman, Jim (2012). Chicken TAP genes are polymorphic and co-evolve with the dominantly-expressed class I gene. 7th Biannual Workshop on Antigen Presentation, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 24-27 April 2012. Oxford, United Kingdom: Pergamon. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2012.02.050

  • O'Mara, M. L. and Tieleman, D. P. (2007). Determining the structural conformation of P-glycoprotein via homology modelling. 51st Annual Meeting of the Biophysical-Society, Baltimore, United States, 3-7 March 2007. St. Louis, United States: Cell Press.

  • Oloo, Eliud, Kandt, Christian, O’Mara, Megan L. and Tieleman, D. Peter (2006). Computer simulations of ABC transporter components. 49th Annual Canadian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology Meeting, Ontario, Canada, 31 May- 4 June 2006. Ottowa, Canada: National Research Council of Canada. doi: 10.1139/O06-182

  • O'Mara, Megan L., Yin, Jian, Hoyles, Matthew and Chung, Shin-Ho (2006). Investigating the mechanism of proton transfer through the bacterial ClC transporter. 50th Annual Meeting of the Biopysical-Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A., 18-22 February, 2006. Bethesda, MD., U.S.A.: Cell Press for the Biophysical Society.

  • Barry, PH and O'Mara, ML (2005). The reliability of relative cation-anion permeabilities deduced from reversal (dilution) potential measurements in ion channel studies, and Brownian dynamics predictions. Experimental Biology 2005 Meeting/35th International Congress of Physiological Sciences, San Diego Ca, Mar 31-Apr 06, 2005. BETHESDA: FEDERATION AMER SOC EXP BIOL.

  • O'Mara, ML, Cromer, BA, Parker, MW and Chung, SH (2005). Simulations of ion permeation through a homology model of the GABA(A) receptor. 49th Annual Meeting of the Biopysical-Society, Long Beach Ca, Feb 12-16, 2005. BETHESDA: BIOPHYSICAL SOCIETY.

  • O'Mara, M. L., Cromer, B. A., Parker, M. W. and Chung, S. H. (2005). Simulations of ion permeation through a homology model of the GABA(A) receptor. 49th Annual Meeting of the Biopysical-Society, Long Beach, California, U.S.A., 12-16 February, 2005. Bethesda, MD., U.S.A.: Cell Press for the Biophysical Society.

  • Barry, P. H. and O'Mara, M. L. (2005). The reliability of relative cation-anion permeabilities deduced from reversal (dilution) potential measurements in ion channel studies, and Brownian dynamics predictions. Experimental Biology 2005 Meeting/35th International Congress of Physiological Sciences, San Diego, California, U.S.A., 31 March, - April, 2005. Bethesda, MD, U.S.A.: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

  • Corry, B., O'Mara, M., Bisset, D. and Chung, S. H. (2004). Mechanisms of chloride conduction in ClC channels. 48th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 14-18 February 2004. Bethesda, MD: Pubmed Central.

  • Corry, B, O'Mara, M, Bisset, D and Chung, SH (2004). Mechanisms of chloride conduction in ClC channels. 48th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society, Baltimore Md, Feb 14-18, 2004. BIOPHYSICAL SOCIETY.

  • O'Mara, Megan, Keramidas, Angelo, Barry, Peter H. and Chung, Shin-Ho (2003). Mechanism of ion permeation in the glycine receptor and its cation-selective mutations. 47th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society, San Antonio, Texas, 1-5 March 2003. Bethesda, MD, U.S.A.: Cell Press for the Biophysical Society.

  • O'Mara, M., Keramidas, A., Barry, P. H. and Chung, S. H. (2003). Mechanism of ion permeation in the glycine receptor and its cation-selective mutations. 47th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical-Society, San Antonio Texas, 1-5 March 2003. Bethesda, MD United States: Biophysical Society.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision