O’Shea is regarded as a leader in the fields of gene regulation, signal transduction, and systems biology. Her research focuses on the way cells sense changes in their environment and respond appropriately, work that has implications for understanding cancer and other diseases. Recent studies by O'Shea and her colleagues have detailed circadian clock biology in blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and how cells decode transcription factor dynamics to successfully activate target genes.
O’Shea joined HHMI in 2013 from Harvard University, where she was director of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Center for Systems Biology. Prior to that, she served on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco. O’Shea was named an HHMI investigator in 2000. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds a PhD in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an AB in biochemistry from Smith College.
As she transitions into the role of HHMI president, O’Shea will wind down her Harvard lab and develop a research program at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus.