Barry O'Neill

What is your job?

I’m a ‘Principal Scientist and Cognitive Lead’ at GSK. In reality, what that means is that I get to work in a field of science that really excites me: how the brain works, particularly when the human body it houses is under extreme strain and performing to the max.

How did you choose your career?

I’m doing this job because I got the science bug at school: biology was my favourite subject and I also loved sport. Science featured in my subject choices back then and I decided to carry on studying it at university. I studied a degree in Anatomy in Ireland and then went on to do an MSc in Neuropharmacology. I then travelled to Australia to do a PhD. Looking back, it was a great plan to pick a subject at school that I was really interested in. With a lot of hard work, I did well and now I’m mixing my love of science and sport.

What do you like best about your job?

Every day, I get to work with athletes and other high performers to research how the brain works in elite performance.

What’s your next goal?

My goal is to work out how things affect the brain during elite performance and to help athletes in their preparation for training and competition.

What’s your advice for budding scientists?

Pick subjects and areas of study that interest you. After the hard work, the rest will take care of itself! 

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