A/Prof. Adrienne O'Neil



Associate Professor (Research)


Faculty of Health


School of Medicine





Associate Professor Adrienne O’Neil is the Director of Heart and Mind Research at IMPACT and Deputy Director of Food and Mood Centre. Her co-appointment is funded by the Heart Foundation as part of a Future Leader Fellowship and the Wilson Foundation. She is a behavioural scientist who has been researching the link between mental and cardiovascular health for over a decade. A key part of her work is investigating the role that lifestyle plays in the onset and outcomes of depression and cardiovascular disease, both respectively, in relation to each other and when they co-occur. She works with the team at the Food and Mood Centre to apply learnings from cardiology and other areas of chronic disease prevention and management to psychiatry. Adrienne completed her doctoral training at the School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Monash University and international post-doctoral training at Stanford University. Upon her return to Australia, she spent 5 years at the School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. She has over 100 publications and has received 10+ years of Category 1 personnel funding.

Read more on Adrienne's profile

Career highlights

For >10 years, A/Prof O’Neil has been supported by Category 1 personnel funding (2009-2021), receiving $3+ mil of competitive funding from NHMRC,
Australian Research Council, National Heart Foundation, University of Melbourne, Deakin University, the Meat and Livestock Council and the Australian Foundation for Mental Health Research. Relative to opportunity, she has been highly productive, publishing over 100 scientific
articles in chronic disease prevention and control. Two thirds (70%) of her publications are first/senior author; 5 rank in the top 1% of their discipline. Since 2014, she has had a rapidly increasing number of citations (3127) (averaging 550 per year). In 2017, she had a FWCI of 7.5.  A/Prof O’Neil has 1st author publications in Lancet, Circulation and BMC Medicine; all prestigious, top ranked journals in medicine. She completed her international post-doctoral research at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.

In addition to numerous competitive fellowships, A/Prof O’Neil has
received prestigious awards. In 2017, she received the Australasian Epidemiology Association’s Mid-Career Researcher Award. In 2013, she was named the AFFIRM Early Career Researcher of the Year by the Australasian Society of Psychiatric Research. In 2009, she was named the highest Ranked
Scholar in Public Health, National Heart Foundation.

She has given numerous international and national plenaries.Since 2013, she has supervised 2 PhDs, 4 Honours and 2 international medical research trainee students to completion.


Honorary, Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, University of Melbourne

Knowledge areas

Behavioural medicine; lifestyle interventions; epidemiology; public health; health services; psychiatry; chronic disease; non communicable diseases; gender/sex research.


A/Prof O'Neil leads the following studies:
a) Intermittent Fasting as a Therapeutic Approach to Heart Failure: A Pilot Study 
Recent animal studies have provide important clues for a new therapeutic approach to Chronic Heart Failure; caloric restriction via intermittent fasting (IF). In rat models of CHF, 6 weeks of IF on alternate days reduced body weight and successfully reversed cardiovascular damage. Relative risk of death was reduced by 84%. 12 months of IF further reversed symptoms via pro-angiogenic, anti-apoptotic and anti-remodelling effects. A recent study of patients with a subtype of CHF (without reduced ejection fraction) showed caloric restriction was safe and feasible over 20 weeks, with positive effects on symptom severity. Taken together, IF presents as a plausible and promising therapeutic approach for CHF. We are conducting a pilot study of 10 patients to investigate whether IF has short term health benefits and is feasible for patients with CHF with reduced ejection fraction over 12 weeks. IF could be a novel, adjunctive approach to current management of CHF.

b) Associations between depression, anxiety & autonomic function in acute coronary syndrome patients: the ADVENT study (NHMRC funding; Co-Investigator & Project Director)
From 2012-14, we conducted a cohort study in 416 heart attack patients to determine how mental health symptoms cluster 2 years after discharge. We were especially interested in how autonomic nervous system assessed by heart rate variability moderated long term outcomes. A/P O'Neil is researching psychophysiological mechanisms underpinning the associations between somatic subtypes of depression and anxiety as predictors of 5 year readmission and mortality. 

c) The relationship between work-home stressors and cardiovascular risk: an ecological momentary assessment study of Victorian workers (University of Melbourne funding; Lead Investigator)
Resting heart rate (HR) is a good marker of overall health. The prognostic value of HR during sleep has only recently been realised. During sleep, the CV system has a chance to rest, reflected by a “dip” in HR compared with waking resting HR. The absence, or blunting, of nocturnal HR dipping has been related to CV and all-cause mortality independent of blood pressure dipping and of other confounding factors. Evidence from blood pressure research has shown that job strain and other psychosocial factors can predict nocturnal blood pressure non-dipping. Given that nocturnal blunting in HR appears an early indicator of CVD incidence, this study uses ecological momentary assessment techniques to identify modifiable risk factors and protective factors that predict this phenomenon. The study is conducted over 14 days in a cohort of Victorian workers across 3 organisations. Findings may guide CV primary prevention strategies especially in the context of burnout at work now that it has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as a health condition.

d) The impact of maternal adversity on the cardiovascular health of offspring: the ALSPAC longitudinal study of mothers and children (University of Melbourne funding; Lead Investigator)
Prenatal psychological stress, as a component of social adversity has been linked to intrauterine growth restriction and an increased risk of premature birth; in turn elevating a child’s risk of developing heart disease in later life. This study will determine whether social adversity experienced by mother’s during pregnancy influences the long-term CV trajectory of offspring, and the epigenetic pathways by which this may occur. Data from over 14,000 pregnant women and their children enrolled in the well-established ALSPAC study, a world-leading, birth cohort study conducted in the United Kingdom, will be used to answer these questions.


Filter by


Supporting engagement, adherence, and behavior change in online dietary interventions

Claire Young, Sara Campolonghi, Stephanie Ponsonby, Samantha Dawson, Adrienne O'Neil, Frances Kay-Lambkin, Sarah McNaughton, Michael Berk, Felice Jacka

(2019), Vol. 51, pp. 719-739, Journal of nutrition education and behavior, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


A modified Mediterranean dietary intervention for adults with major depression: dietary protocol and feasibility data from the SMILES trial

R Opie, A O'Neil, F Jacka, J Pizzinga, C Itsiopoulos

(2018), Vol. 21, pp. 487-501, Nutritional neuroscience, Abingdon, Eng., C1


Economic evaluation of a dietary intervention for adults with major depression (the "SMILES" trial)

Mary Chatterton, Cathrine Mihalopoulos, Adrienne O'Neil, Catherine Itsiopoulos, Rachelle Opie, David Castle, Sarah Dash, Laima Brazionis, Michael Berk, Felice Jacka

(2018), Vol. 18, BMC public health, London, Eng., C1


Efficacy of online lifestyle interventions targeting lifestyle behaviour change in depressed populations: a systematic review

Claire Young, Karen Trapani, Samantha Dawson, Adrienne O'Neil, Frances Kay-Lambkin, Michael Berk, Felice Jacka

(2018), Vol. 52, pp. 834-846, Australia and New Zealand journal of psychiatry, London, England, C1


Antenatal dietary patterns and depressive symptoms during pregnancy and early post-partum

R Baskin, B Hill, F Jacka, A O'Neil, H Skouteris

(2017), Vol. 13, pp. 1-13, Maternal & child nutrition, London, Eng., C1


A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the 'SMILES' trial)

F Jacka, A O'Neil, R Opie, C Itsiopoulos, S Cotton, M Mohebbi, D Castle, S Dash, C Mihalopoulos, M Chatterton, L Brazionis, O Dean, A Hodge, M Berk

(2017), Vol. 15, pp. 1-13, BMC medicine, London, Eng., C1


Statin and aspirin use and the risk of mood disorders among men

L Williams, J Pasco, M Mohebbi, F Jacka, A Stuart, K Venugopal, A O'Neil, M Berk

(2016), Vol. 19, pp. 1-4, International journal of neuropsychopharmacology, Oxford, Eng., C1


Depression is a risk factor for incident coronary heart disease in women: an 18-year longitudinal study

A O'Neil, A Fisher, K Kibbey, F Jacka, M Kotowicz, L Williams, A Stuart, M Berk, P Lewandowski, C Taylor, J Pasco

(2016), Vol. 196, pp. 117-124, Journal of affective disorders, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


The addition of depression to the Framingham Risk Equation model for predicting coronary heart disease risk in women

A O'Neil, A Fisher, K Kibbey, F Jacka, M Kotowicz, L Williams, A Stuart, M Berk, P Lewandowski, J Atherton, C Taylor, J Pasco

(2016), Vol. 87, pp. 115-120, Preventive Medicine Reports, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Relationships between mental health symptoms and body mass index in women with and without excessive weight gain during pregnancy

S McPhie, H Skouteris, M Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, B Hill, F Jacka, A O?Neil

(2015), Vol. 31, pp. 138-146, Midwifery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


The impact of whole-of-diet interventions on depression and anxiety: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials

R Opie, A O'Neil, C Itsiopoulos, F Jacka

(2015), Vol. 18, pp. 2074-2093, Public health nutrition, Cambridge, Eng., C1


A shared framework for the common mental disorders and Non-Communicable Disease: key considerations for disease prevention and control.

A O'Neil, F Jacka, S Quirk, F Cocker, C Taylor, B Oldenburg, M Berk

(2015), Vol. 15, pp. 15-15, BMC Psychiatry, England, C1


The association between diet quality and mental health during the perinatal period. A systematic review.

R Baskin, B Hill, F Jacka, A O'Neil, H Skouteris

(2015), Vol. 91, pp. 41-47, Appetite, England, C1


Prevalence of cardiovascular and metabolic events in patients prescribed clozapine: a retrospective observational, clinical cohort study

N Hyde, S Dodd, K Venugopal, Purdie, M Berk, A O'Neil

(2015), Vol. 10, pp. 125-131, Current drug safety, San Francisco, Calif., C1


Pro-inflammatory dietary intake as a risk factor for CVD in men: a 5-year longitudinal study

A O'Neil, N Shivappa, F Jacka, M Kotowicz, K Kibbey, J Hebert, J Pasco

(2015), Vol. 114, pp. 2074-2082, British journal of nutrition, Cambridge, Eng., C1


Telephone-delivered health coaching improves anxiety outcomes after myocardial infarction: The 'ProActive Heart' trial

A O'Neil, A Hawkes, J Atherton, T Patrao, K Sanderson, R Wolfe, C Taylor, B Oldenburg

(2014), Vol. 21, pp. 30-38, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, C1


Atopic disorders and depression: Findings from a large, population-based study

L Sanna, A Stuart, J Pasco, F Jacka, M Berk, M Maes, A O'Neil, P Girardi, L Williams

(2014), Vol. 155, pp. 261-265, Journal of Affective Disorders, C1


Efficacy and Feasibility of a Tele-health Intervention for Acute Coronary Syndrome Patients with Depression: Results of the "MoodCare" Randomized Controlled Trial

A O?Neil, B Taylor, K Sanderson, S Cyril, B Chan, A Hawkes, D Hare, M Jelinek, K Venugopal, J Atherton, J Amerena, L Grigg, D Walters, B Oldenburg

(2014), Vol. 48, pp. 163-174, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, C1


The association between poor dental health and depression: Findings from a large-scale, population-based study (the NHANES study)

A O'Neil, M Berk, K Venugopal, S Kim, L Williams, F Jacka

(2014), Vol. 36, pp. 266-270, General Hospital Psychiatry, C1


Oxidative & nitrosative stress in depression: why so much stress?

S Moylan, M Berk, O Dean, Y Samuni, L Williams, A O'Neil, A Hayley, J Pasco, G Anderson, F Jacka, M Maes

(2014), Vol. 45, pp. 46-62, Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Lifestyle medicine for depression

J Sarris, A O'Neil, C Coulson, I Schweitzer, M Berk

(2014), Vol. 14, BMC Psychiatry, C1


Assessing regional cerebral blood flow in depression using 320-slice computed tomography

Y Wang, H Zhang, S Tang, X Liu, A O'Neil, A Turner, F Chai, F Chen, M Berk

(2014), Vol. 9, pp. 1-10, PLoS One, San Francisco, Cal., C1


Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: a systematic review

A O'Neil, S Quirk, S Housden, S Brennan, L Williams, J Pasco, M Berk, F Jacka

(2014), Vol. 104, pp. e31-e42, American journal of public health, Washington, DC, C1


Associations between economic hardship and markers of self-management in adults with type 2 diabetes: results from Diabetes MILES - Australia

A O'Neil, E Williams, J Browne, R Horne, F Pouwer, J Speight

(2014), Vol. 38, pp. 466-472, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Melbourne, Vic., C1


Long-term efficacy of a tele-health intervention for acute coronary syndrome patients with depression: 12-month results of the MoodCare randomized controlled trial

A O'Neil, B Taylor, D Hare, K Sanderson, S Cyril, K Venugopal, B Chan, J Atherton, A Hawkes, D Walters, B Oldenburg, on behalf of the MoodCare Investigator Team

(2014), pp. 1-10, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, London, United Kingdom, C1


Preventing mental health problems in offspring by targeting dietary intake of pregnant women

A O'Neil, C Itsiopoulos, H Skouteris, R Opie, S McPhie, B Hill, F Jacka

(2014), Vol. 12, pp. 1-7, BMC medicine, London, England, C1


The relationship between coronary heart disease (CHD) and major depressive disorder (MDD): Key mechanisms and the role of quality of life

A O'Neil

(2013), Vol. 9, pp. 163-184, Europe's Journal of Psychology, C1


Aspirin: A review of its neurobiological properties and therapeutic potential for mental illness

M Berk, M Berk, O Dean, O Dean, H Drexhage, H Drexhage, J McNeil, J McNeil, S Moylan, S Moylan, A O'Neil, A O'Neil, C Davey, C Davey, L Sanna, L Sanna, M Maes, M Maes

(2013), Vol. 11, pp. 1-17, BMC Medicine, C1


A randomised, controlled trial of a dietary intervention for adults with major depression (the "SMILES" trial): Study protocol

A O'Neil, M Berk, C Itsiopoulos, D Castle, R Opie, J Pizzinga, L Brazionis, A Hodge, C Mihalopoulos, M Chatterton, O Dean, F Jacka

(2013), Vol. 13, BMC Psychiatry, C1


The association between diet quality, dietary patterns and depression in adults: a systematic review

S Quirk, L Williams, A O'Neil, J Pasco, F Jacka, S Housden, M Berk, S Brennan

(2013), Vol. 13, pp. 1-22, BMC psychiatry, London, England, C1


Altered cardiac autonomic nervous function in depression

Y Wang, X Zhao, A O'Neil, A Turner, X Liu, M Berk

(2013), Vol. 13, BMC Psychiatry, C1


So depression is an inflammatory disease, but where does the inflammation come from?

M Berk, M Berk, L Williams, L Williams, F Jacka, F Jacka, A O'Neil, A O'Neil, J Pasco, J Pasco, S Moylan, S Moylan, N Allen, N Allen, A Stuart, A Stuart, A Hayley, A Hayley, M Byne, M Byne, M Maes, M Maes

(2013), Vol. 11, pp. 1-16, BMC medicine, London, UK, C1-1


Evaluating the impact of depression, anxiety & autonomic function on health related quality of life, vocational functioning and health care utilisation in acute coronary syndrome patients: the ADVENT study protocol

J Oldroyd, S Cyril, B Wijayatilaka, A O'Neil, D McKenzie, S Zavarsek, K Sanderson, D Hare, A Fisher, A Forbes, C Barr Taylor, D Clarke, I Meredith, B Oldenburg

(2013), Vol. 13, pp. 1-9, BMC cardiovascular disorders, London, Eng., C1-1


Co-morbid cardiovascular disease and depression: Sequence of disease onset is linked to mental but not physical self-rated health. Results: From a cross-sectional, population-based study

A O'Neil, E Williams, C Stevenson, B Oldenburg, M Berk, K Sanderson

(2012), Vol. 47, pp. 1145-1151, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, C1


The impact of statins on psychological wellbeing: 12A systematic review and meta-analysis

A O'Neil, L Sanna, C Redlich, K Sanderson, F Jacka, L Williams, J Pasco, M Berk

(2012), Vol. 10, BMC Medicine, C1


Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Improving morbidity and mortality outcomes of patients with mental health symptoms following acute coronary syndrome (ACS)

A/Prof Adrienne O'Neil

NHF Future Leader Fellowship - National Heart Foundation of Australia

  • 2020: $86,500
  • 2019: $161,191

Industry and Other Funding

Lipid management for women following Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS): A narrative review of the sex-specific efficacy of lipid lowering pharmacotherapy in women.

A/Prof Adrienne O'Neil

  • 2020: $18,308
  • 2019: $22,377


No completed student supervisions to report