Niamh O'Boyle
Assistant Professor, Pharmacy


Dr. Niamh O'Boyle is a qualified pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. She received her BSc(Pharm) and PhD degree from Trinity College Dublin, and subsequently was awarded a postdoctoral scholarship at University of Göteborg in Sweden investigate the allergenic activity of epoxides and epoxy resins. Niamh was awarded a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the School of Biochemistry & Immunology, TCD, working on 'Cancer, Tubulin and Free Radicals: New Therapy'. Following a period as assistant lecturer at the School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Dublin Institute of Technology, she was appointed as assistant professor at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at TCD in 2017. She also works as a locum pharmacist in community pharmacy.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

O'Boyle, NM, Barrett, I, Greene, LM, Carr, M, Fayne, D, Twamley, B, Knox, AJS, Keely, NO, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, Lead Optimization of Benzoxepin-Type Selective Estrogen Receptor (ER) Modulators and Downregulators with Subtype-Specific ERα and ERβ Activity, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 61, (2), 2018, p514 - 534 Journal Article, 2018 URL TARA - Full Text DOI

Meegan MJ, Nathwani S, Twamley B, Zisterer DM, O'Boyle NM., Piperlongumine (piplartine) and analogues: Antiproliferative microtubule-destabilising agents., European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 125, 2017, p453 - 463 Journal Article, 2017 TARA - Full Text DOI

Niamh M. O'Boyle, Daniela M. Zisterer, Mary J. Meegan, Title: Microtubule-Destabilising Actions of Piperlongumine and Analogues, Proceedings of the 3rd Int. Electron. Conf. Med. Chem., 3rd International Electronic Conference on Medicinal Chemistry, November 2017, 3, 2017 Conference Paper, 2017 URL DOI

Niamh M. O'Boyle, Daniela M. Zisterer, Mary J. Meegan, Lead Optimization of Benzoxepin-Type Selective Estrogen Receptor (ER) Modulators and Downregulators with Subtype-Specific ERα and ERβ Activity, Proceedings of the 3rd Int. Electron. Conf. Med. Chem., 3rd International Electronic Conference on Medicinal Chemistry, November 2017, 3, 2017 Conference Paper, 2017 URL DOI

Malebari, AM, Greene, LM, Nathwani, SM, Fayne, D, O'Boyle, NM, Wang, S, Twamley, B, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, β-Lactam analogues of combretastatin A-4 prevent metabolic inactivation by glucuronidation in chemoresistant HT-29 colon cancer cells, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 130, 2017, p261-285 Journal Article, 2017 URL DOI

Greene TF, Wang S, Greene LM, Nathwani SM, Pollock JK, Malebari AM, McCabe T, Twamley B, O'Boyle NM, Zisterer DM, Meegan MJ, Synthesis and Biochemical Evaluation of 3-Phenoxy-1,4-diarylazetidin-2-ones as Tubulin-Targeting Antitumor Agents., Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 59, (1), 2016, p90 - 113 Journal Article, 2016 TARA - Full Text DOI URL

Hagvall, L, Niklasson, IB, Rudbäck, J, O'Boyle, NM, Niklasson, E, Luthman, K, Karlberg, A-T, Assessment of cross-reactivity of new less sensitizing epoxy resin monomers in epoxy resin-allergic individuals, Contact Dermatitis, 75, (3), 2016, p144-150 Journal Article, 2016 DOI URL

O'Boyle, NM, Pollock, JK, Carr, M, Knox, AJS, Nathwani, SM, Wang, S, Caboni, L, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, β-Lactam Estrogen Receptor Antagonists and a Dual-Targeting Estrogen Receptor/Tubulin Ligand, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 57, (22), 2014, p9370 - 9382 Journal Article, 2014 URL DOI TARA - Full Text

O'Boyle, NM, Niklasson, IB, Tehrani-Bagha,AR, Delaine, T, Holmberg, K, Luthman, K, Karlberg, AT, Epoxy resin monomers with reduced skin sensitizing potency, Chemical Research in Toxicology, 27, (6), 2014, p1002-1010 Journal Article, 2014 TARA - Full Text DOI

Pollock, JK, Verma,NK, O'Boyle, NM, Carr, MG, Meegan, MJ, Zisterer, DM, Combretastatin (CA)-4 and its novel analogue CA-432 impair T-cell migration through the Rho/ROCK signalling pathway, Biochemical Pharmacology, 92, (4), 2014, p544-557 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Ann-Therese Karlberg, Kristina Luthman, Krister Holmberg, Niamh O'Boyle, Tamara Delaine, 'Resin compositions', Intellectual Property Office, GB1319110.1, 2013 Patent, 2013 URL

Greene, LM, Wang, S, O'Boyle, NM, Bright, SA, Reid, JEA, Kelly, PJ, Meegan, MJ, Zisterer, DM, Combretazet-3 a novel synthetic cis-stable combretastatin A-4-azetidinone hybrid with enhanced stability and therapeutic efficacy in colon cancer, Oncology Reports, 29, (6), 2013, p2451-2458 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

O'Boyle, NM, Delaine, T, Luthman, K, Natsch, A, Karlberg, AT, Analogues of the epoxy resin monomer diglycidyl ether of bisphenol F: Effects on contact allergenic potency and cytotoxicity, Chemical Research in Toxicology, 25, (11), 2012, p2469-2478 Journal Article, 2012 DOI TARA - Full Text

Greene, LM, O'Boyle, NM, Nolan, DP, Meegan, MJ, Zisterer, DM, The vascular targeting agent Combretastatin-A4 directly induces autophagy in adenocarcinoma-derived colon cancer cells, Biochemical Pharmacology, 84, (5), 2012, p612-624 Journal Article, 2012 DOI

O'Boyle, N.M., Knox, A.J.S., Price, T.P., Williams, D.C., Zisterer, D.M., Lloyd, D.G., Meegan, M.J.,, Lead identification of beta-lactam and related imine inhibitors of the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 19, (20), 2011, p6055-6068 Journal Article, 2011 DOI TARA - Full Text

O'Boyle, NM, Meegan, MJ, Designed multiple ligands for cancer therapy, Current Medicinal Chemistry, 18, (31), 2011, p4722-4737 Journal Article, 2011 DOI

O'Boyle, NM, Carr, M, Greene, LM, Keely, NO, Knox, AJS, McCabe, T, Lloyd, DG, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, Synthesis, Biochemical and Molecular Modelling Studies of Antiproliferative Azetidinones causing Microtubule Disruption and Mitotic Catastrophe, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 46, (9), 2011, p4595 - 4607 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text

O'Boyle, NM, Greene, LM, Bergin, O, Fichet, JB, McCabe, T, Lloyd, DG, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, Synthesis, evaluation and structural studies of antiproliferative tubulin-targeting azetidin-2-ones, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 19, (7), 2011, p2306-2325 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text

Yang,Yidong Y., Carta,Giorgio G., Peters,Martin B. M.B., Price,Trevor T. T.T., O'Boyle,Niamh M. N.M., Knox,Andrew J S A.J.S., Fayne,Darren D., Williams,D. C. D.C., Meegan,Mary Jane M.J., Lloyd,David G. D.G., 'TieredScreen' - Layered virtual screening tool for the identification of novel estrogen receptor alpha modulators, Molecular Informatics, 29, (5), 2010, p421-430 Journal Article, 2010 DOI

O'Boyle NM, Carr M, Greene LM, Bergin O, Nathwani SM, McCabe T, Lloyd DG, Zisterer DM, Meegan MJ, Synthesis and evaluation of azetidinone analogues of combretastatin A-4 as tubulin targeting agents, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 53, (24), 2010, p8569-8584 Journal Article, 2010 TARA - Full Text DOI

Greene,Lisa M. L.M., Nathwani,Seema Maria S.M., Bright,Sandra A. S.A., Fayne,Darren D., Croke,Aisling A., Gagliardi,Maria M., McElligott,Anthony M. A.M., O'Connor,Lisa M. L.M., Carr,Miriam G. M.G., Keely,Niall O. N.O., O'Boyle,Niamh M. N.M., Carroll,Peig V. P.V., Sarkadi,Balázs B., Conneally,Eibhlin C. E.C., Lloyd,David G. D.G., Lawler,Mark P. M.P., Meegan,Mary Jane M.J., Zisterer,Daniela M. D.M., The vascular targeting agent combretastatin-A4 and a novel cis-restricted β-lactam analogue, CA-432, induce apoptosis in human chronic myeloid leukemia cells and ex vivo patient samples including those displaying multidrug resistance, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 335, (2), 2010, p302-313 Journal Article, 2010 DOI

Barrett,Irene I., Carr,Miriam G. M.G., O'Boyle,Niamh M. N.M., Greene,Lisa M. L.M., J. S. Knox,Andrew A., Lloyd,David G. D.G., Zisterer,Daniela M. D.M., Meegan,Mary Jane M.J., Lead identification of conformationally restricted benzoxepin type combretastatin analogs: Synthesis, antiproliferative activity, and tubulin effects, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, 25, (2), 2010, p180-194 Journal Article, 2010 DOI

Daniela Zisterer, Mary Meegan, Niamh O'Boyle, Miriam Carr, Lisa Greene and Thomas Greene, 'Combretastatin Derivatives and Uses Therefor', European Patent Office, EP2338877 A1, 2009 Patent, 2009 URL

Research Expertise


Dr. O'Boyle's research interests lie in the areas of improving patient outcomes by applying principles of medicinal chemistry. Her main research interest is in the development of new treatments for cancer, with a particular focus on breast cancer. Drug targets of interest include the protein tubulin, the estrogen and progesterone receptors, and the role of reactive oxygen species. She is also interested in developing novel chemotherapeutics from natural products. Additionally, she is interested in developing compounds that cause less skin allergy for patients suffering from occupational contact allergy. Niamh's background provides her with expertise in many areas of pharmaceutical sciences (including organic & medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical analysis, spectroscopy) and biochemistry (cellular viability, tubulin binding, apoptosis, receptor binding studies, and reactive oxygen species using techniques including western blotting, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy).


  • Title
    • Can the stress response to reactive oxygen species in tumours be exploited to give a new class of anti-cancer drugs? Dual-targeting of the stress response to reactive oxygen species and tubulin by piperlongumine and related analogues
  • Summary
    • Cancer is a disease that affects thousands of people and their families every year. The aim of cancer research is to understand what happens in the body to cause cancer, enabling us to prevent it or treat it. This project will investigate new ways to treat cancer, using chemicals called 'oxygen free radicals' that are found in tumors. The research will be based on a natural product known as piperlongumine and the effect that it has on the response of cancer cells to oxygen free radicals. Piperlongumine is found in the fruit plant Piper longum ('Long pepper'). It was recently discovered that piperlongumine can selectively kill cancer cells without harming normal, healthly cells. It is thought that this is because piperlongumine raises the levels of reactive oxygen free radicals in cancer cells, which causes them to die. I will investigate if piperlongumine and other related chemicals have additional biochemical effects in cancer cells that contribute to their anti-cancer effects. In particular the research will focus on a protein called tubulin that is extremely important for cell replication, both in cancer cells and healthy cells. The overall, long-term goal of this research is to design new anti-cancer drugs that will selectively kill cancer cells by manipulating oxygen free radicals and tubulin.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 2014
  • Date To
    • 2016




Awards and Honours

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship 2014 - 2016

University of Gothenburg Postdoctoral Award 2010 - 2012

XVIIIth European Conference of GP2A: Best Presentation 2009

Irish Cancer Society Oncology Scholars Travel Award 2008

Trinity College Dublin Foundation Scholarship 2003


Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry October 2017 – Present

Member of the Irish Association for Cancer Research January 2016 – Present

Member of the European Association for Cancer Research January 2016 – Present