Faculty of Biological Sciences

Dr Mary O'Connell

BSc (Hons) PhD
University Academic Fellow in Biology
School of Biology

Background: My PhD (2005) addressed the role of positive selection in molecular evolution and assessed rate heterogeneity in protein coding regions of mammals - primarily the human and mouse genomes. Following on from this I took a position as an SFI postdoctoral fellow in University College Cork working primarily on the evolution of genomic imprinting in mammals and plants from an analytical and quantitative perspective. Six Months later (2006) and following open competition, I moved to my first fully tenured academic post at Dublin City University. There I established my own independent research team. I have continued to expand and develop my interests in both the analytical/empirical analyses of genomic data from a molecular evolutionary perspective and also in the more theoretical concepts around evolution of life on the planet. My research group (www.mol-evol.org) work on specific aspects of evolutionary genomics and we are primarily computational based with some wet bench collaborations/aspects to our work. We are currently 2 PhD students and 1 postdoctoral associate and have 2 further PhD positions available (see below).

Contact:  Miall 9.05, +44(0) 113 34 34890, email address for  

You can read more about Dr O'Connell's interests here:

Research Interests

Molecular Mechanisms of Evolution: Understanding the patterns and processes of evolution and the relationship between genotype, phenotype and fitness.

Current Projects



Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

Undergraduate project topics:

  • None

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Currently recruiting 2 PhD students on the following projects:
  • "Genomic Innovation and the Emergence of Placentation in Mammals" http://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=68382&LID=735
  • "Gene Fusion and the animal tree of life" - link to follow shortly.
  • Email me at m.oconnell@leeds.ac.uk for further details.

See also:

Modules taught

BLGY1124/1128 - The Diversity of Life/Living Planet
BLGY1303 - Tutorials for Biology and Genetics
BLGY2100 - Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists
BLGY3021 - Research Project
BLGY3243 - Advanced Topics in Zoology
BLGY3291 - Comparative Genomics
BLGY3340 - Biology Research Projects


Peter Mulhair (Primary supervisor) 90% FTE
Ali Taylor (Primary supervisor) 70% FTE