• The University of Western Australia (M316), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 55 Citations
  • 4 h-Index
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Personal profile


-BSc (Honours) Biochemistry, Queen's University, Kingston Canada, 2006
-PhD Biology Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, 2011
-Post-doctoral researcher, Dept of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, 2011-2014
-Joined the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology in 2015 as a DECRA Post-doctoral Fellow

Funding overview

Discovery Early Career Research Award 2015


There is a long standing interest in manipulating metabolism in plants to improve the production and quality of food, medicine and other consumable products. However, metabolic engineering in plants is notoriously unpredictable – really a hit or miss affair. With a focus on plant primary metabolism, I study the post-translation mechanisms that control and balance fluxes through metabolic pathways with the aim of improving our ability to accurately manipulate these important pathways.
My experimental approach combines metabolomics with enzymology. In particular enzymes are purified and studied from their native tissues to understand the post-translational modifications that control enzyme activity in vivo.


  • Plant metabolism
  • Plant respiration
  • Metabolic regulation
  • Post-translational modifications of enzymes
  • Metabolomics
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Brendan O'Leary is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

cell respiration Agriculture & Biology
Respiration Medicine & Life Sciences
metabolism Agriculture & Biology
post-translational modification Agriculture & Biology
Respiratory Rate Medicine & Life Sciences
Pseudomonas syringae Medicine & Life Sciences
glycolysis Agriculture & Biology
enzymes Agriculture & Biology

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Research Output 2016 2019

  • 55 Citations
  • 4 h-Index
  • 3 Article
  • 1 Chapter
  • 1 Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary
  • 1 Review article
7 Citations (Scopus)

Core principles which explain variation in respiration across biological scales

O'Leary, B. M., Asao, S., Harvey Millar, A. & Atkin, O. K., Apr 2019, In : New Phytologist. 222, 2, p. 670-686 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
respiratory rate
Respiratory Rate
plant ecology

Mechanisms and Functions of Post-translational Enzyme Modifications in the Organization and Control of Plant Respiratory Metabolism

O'Leary, B. & Plaxton, W. C., 2017, Plant Respiration: Metabolic Fluxes and Carbon Balance . Tcherkez, G. & Ghashghaie, J. (eds.). Netherlands: Springer, p. 261-284 24 p. (Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration ; no. 43).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

post-translational modification
cell respiration
9 Citations (Scopus)

The combination of gas-phase fluorophore technology and automation to enable high-throughput analysis of plant respiration

Scafaro, A. P., Negrini, A. C. A., O'Leary, B., Rashid, F. A. A., Hayes, L., Fan, Y., Zhang, Y., Chochois, V., Badger, M. R., Millar, A. H. & Atkin, O. K., 21 Mar 2017, In : Plant Methods. 13, 1, 16.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
fluorescent dyes
cell respiration
10 Citations (Scopus)

Variation in leaf respiration rates at night correlates with carbohydrate and amino acid supply

O’Leary, B. M., Lee, C. P., Atkin, O. K., Cheng, R., Brown, T. B. & Millar, A. H., 2 Aug 2017, In : Plant Physiology. 174, 4, p. 2261-2273 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Respiratory Rate
Amino Acids
amino acids
29 Citations (Scopus)

Early changes in apoplast composition associated with defence and disease in interactions between Phaseolus vulgaris and the halo blight pathogen Pseudomonas syringae Pv. phaseolicola.

O'Leary, B., Neale, H. C., Geilfus, C. M., Jackson, R. W., Arnold, D. L. & Preston, G. M., 2016, In : Plant Cell and Environment. 39, 10, p. 2172–2184

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Pseudomonas syringae
Plant Cells

Projects 2015 2017