Michael O'Connell, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist, Genetics and Pathogenesis of Allergy Section

Major Areas of Research

  • Mechanistic dissection of cellular phenotypes in genetic diseases of atopy
  • Effects of stat3 on anaphylactic responses
  • Glycosylation defects in atopy

Program Description

The Genetics and Pathogenesis of Allergy Section is a basic, translational, and clinical lab focused on understanding the immunology of atopic disease through study of patients with genetic diseases associated with atopic manifestations, patients with immune deficiency and atopy, and patients with severe atopic dermatitis. Through studies of patients and mouse models of their diseases, we hope to gain better insights into the mechanisms of immunodysregulation that lead to atopic inflammatory disease, rare and common.


Dr. O'Connell received his Ph.D. in development origins of health and disease (cell and molecular biology) from the University of Southampton School of Medicine in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania. He obtained postdoctoral training in the areas of Wnt5a-mediated progression of metastatic melanoma at the National Institute on Aging from 2006 to 2011. Prior to joining the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases in 2014, Dr. O'Connell was a staff scientist at the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, from 2011 to 2014, where he investigated mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer.

Selected Publications

O'Connell MP, Marchbank K, Webster MR, Valiga AA, Kaur A, Vultur A, Li L, Herlyn M, Villanueva J, Liu Q, Yin X, Widura S, Nelson J, Ruiz N, Camilli TC, Indig FE, Flaherty KT, Wargo JA, Frederick DT, Cooper ZA, Nair S, Amaravadi RK, Schuchter LM, Karakousis GC, Xu W, Xu X, Weeraratna AT. Hypoxia induces phenotypic plasticity and therapy resistance in melanoma via the tyrosine kinase receptors ROR1 and ROR2. Cancer Discov. 2013 Dec;3(12):1378-93.

Caino MC, Chae YC, Vaira V, Ferrero S, Nosotti M, Martin NM, Weeraratna A, O'Connell M, Jernigan D, Fatatis A, Languino LR, Bosari S, Altieri DC. Metabolic stress regulates cytoskeletal dynamics and metastasis of cancer cells. J Clin Invest. 2013 Jul 1;123(7):2907-20.

Tavecchio M, Lisanti S, Lam A, Ghosh JC, Martin NM, O'Connell M, Weeraratna AT, Kossenkov AV, Showe LC, Altieri DC.Cyclophilin D extramitochondrial signaling controls cell cycle progression and chemokine-directed cell motility. J Biol Chem. 2013 Feb 22;288(8):5553-61.

O'Connell MP, Fiori JL, Xu M, Carter AD, Frank BP, Camilli TC, French AD, Dissanayake SK, Indig FE, Bernier M, Taub DD, Hewitt SM, Weeraratna AT. The orphan tyrosine kinase receptor, ROR2, mediates Wnt5A signaling in metastatic melanoma.Oncogene. 2010 Jan 7;29(1):34-44.

O'Connell MP, Fiori JL, Kershner EK, Frank BP, Indig FE, Taub DD, Hoek KS, Weeraratna AT. Heparan sulfate proteoglycan modulation of Wnt5A signal transduction in metastatic melanoma cells. J Biol Chem. 2009 Oct 16;284(42):28704-12.

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Content last reviewed on May 14, 2014