Professor Sean O'Donoghue

Conjoint Professor
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
+61 2 8005 1015

Current Roles

  • Laboratory Head and Senior Faculty Member, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Data61
  • Conjoint Professor, School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science, UNSW
  • Chair, Visualizing Biological Data Conference

Professional Experience

  • Office of Chief Executive Science Leader, CSIRO, Sydney, Australia (2011-2016).
  • Group Leader & Senior Faculty Member, Garvan Institute for Medical Research, Sydney, Australia (2011-2016)
  • Acting Director, BRAEMBL, University of Queensland, Australia (2014).
  • Research Scientist, EMBL, Heidelberg (2007- 2010).
  • Project Manager, University of Karlsruhe, Germany (2005-2007).
  • CEO, Mandala GbR, Germany (2004-2005).
  • Director, Scientific Visualization, Lion Bioscience AG, Germany (2002-2003).
  • Senior Manager, Bioinformatics, Lion Bioscience AG, Germany (2000-2002).
  • Visiting Scientist, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1997).
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany (1993-May 2000).
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Sydney, Australia (1992-1993).
  • Visiting Scientist, Yale University, USA (1992).
  • Research Assistant Level II, University of Sydney, Australia (1991-1992).
  • Computer Systems Officer, University of Sydney, Australia (1990-1991).
  • Tutor in physics, University of Sydney, Australia (1988-1990).

Awards & Prizes

  • Faculty of 1000 Senior Speaker Prize, Winter School in Mathematical and Computational Biology (University of Queensland, 2016).
  • Winner, ISMB 2016 Art and Science Award (Orlando, USA).
  • Winner, Nature Methods Poster Award, VIZBI 2016 (Heidelberg, Germany).
  • Finalist, Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research (2015).
  • Merit Recipient, Australian iAward for Research & Development (2015).
  • Winner, NSW iAward for Research & Development (2015).
  • Finalist, NSW Emerging Creative Talent Award (2015).
  • Best Paper Award, 5th International Symposium on Biological Data Visualization (Dublin, Ireland, 2015).
  • Faculty of 1000 Speaker Prize, Winter School in Mathematical and Computational Biology (University of Queensland, 2015).
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2014-).
  • First prize, Elsevier Grand Challenge (2009).
  • Lion Bioscience Achievement Award for GUI of Lion Target Engine (2003).
  • C. J. Martin Fellowship, National Health & Medical Research Council (1994-1996).
  • Eleanor Sophia Wood Travelling Fellowship, University of Sydney (1993).
  • Fellowship, Australian Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (1992).
  • Scholarship for Philosophy, Sydney University (1984).


Seán O’Donoghue is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Sydney, Australia. He is also Laboratory Head and Senior Faculty Member at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. He received his B.Sc. (Hons) and PhD in biophysics from the University of Sydney, Australia. Much of his career was spent in Heidelberg, Germany, where he worked in the Structural and Computational Biology programme at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and at Lion Bioscience AG - then the world's largest bioinformatics company - where he was Director of Scientific Visualization. He has been actively engaged in bioinformatics research since 1988. He contributed to the development of ARIA, a method widely used for calculating 3D structures from NMR data. Since then, he has initiated and is leading the development of several computational resources that use data visualization, graphic design, and user interface principles to simplify the discovery of insight from complex biological data. These resources are focused on structural biology, systems biology, and sequence analysis. He is also co-founder and leader of two initiatives: VIZBI, an international initiative aimed at improving data visualization in bioinformatics software, and VizbiPlus, aimed at educating and inspiring the general public about cutting-edge biomedical research.