Current Post Graduate Students

Dr Yvonne D'Art

PhD Title: Single dose food  challenges in the diagnosis and management of cow's milk allergy in infants

Yvonne is currently undertaking research for her MD.  Her study has recruited 60 cow's milk allergic infants between Cork University Hospital and OLCH Crumlin. 40 of them were given a single dose milk challenge with 0.015mls of milk (this is the dose at which only 5% are expected to react-the ED 05) and 20 did not receive the milk challenge. Both groups are started on the same programme of home introduction of milk using the milk ladder. They will be followed up for one year post recruitment.The mothers are completing Food Allergy Quality of Life (FAQL) and State and Trait anxiety(STAI) questionnaires at intervals during the year.

The primary outcome measure will be level of milk tolerance achieved by 6 months post randomisation/challenge. Secondary outcomes will be changes in FAQL measures from randomisation to 1,3,6 and 12 months post randomisation and changes in serum levels of milk and milk-component specific IgE and IgG4 from 0-6 months in each group.

Sonia Lenehan

PhD Title: The effect of environmental enrichment on neurodevelopment in term babies

 Sonia Lenehan graduated from UCC in 2016 with a B. Sc (Hons) in Neuroscience. Sonia is currently a PhD research student with the INFANT centre since 2017. The title of her PhD is “The effect of environmental enrichment on neurodevelopment in term babies.”  Her PhD will look at environmental enrichment, in the form of lifestyle and sensory experience, and its effect on the brain. Sonia will use eye-tracking as a way to asses social cognition in different groups of infants.

Rhodri Llyod

PhD Title: Electroencepalography of Prematue Infants 

In this thesis, Rhodri aims to progress current knowledge of EEG in very preterm infants <32 weeks gestational age (GA) by investigating its ability to assess neurological wellbeing and to predict neurodevelopmental outcome at 2 years. Furthermore, I aim to investigate and described the frequency and characteristics of electrographic seizures during the early postnatal period in the very preterm infants, and compare this to the existing literature. In addition, I aim to develop a standardised scheme for assessing both the normal and abnormal EEG features of preterm infants according to post-menstrual age. Finally, I aim to investigate the EEG of preterm twins and assess EEG concordance between monochorionic-diamniotic (MCDA) and dichorionic-diamniotic (DCDA) twins.


Soraia Ventura 

PhD Title: Electroencephalographic Study of the Effect of Massage on Infant Sleep

Soraia is a funded PhD candidate at INFANT centre. Her background is in Neurophysiology and her main interests are within the area of Electroencephalography.  After gaining relevant experience in the clinical field, Soraia is currently working on the Electroencephalographic Study of the Effect of Massage on Infant Sleep and is supervised by Prof Geraldine Boylan and Dr Sean Mathieson.

Parent-led baby massage is known to provide environmental enrichment through tactile stimulation and bonding between babies and their parents. We aim to test if routine parent-led massage during the first four months of life may be associated with brain development. Our study participants were split into two groups soon after birth: routine massage (intervention) and non-massage (controls). Using EEG at four months of age, I am studying sleep spindles which are brain maturational markers measured during specific stages of sleep. We will compare these between intervention and control groups.

This study will also be the largest to describe sleep spindles in detail during this critical stage of development.


Department of Paediatrics & Child Health

Péidiatraic agus Sláinte Leanaí

Floor 2, Paediatric Unit, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork,