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Previous Post Graduate Students

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, his 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, he aims to develop a standardised scheme for assessing both the normal and abnormal EEG features of preterm infants according to post-menstrual age. Finally, he will investigate the EEG of preterm twins and assess EEG concordance between monochorionic-diamniotic (MCDA) and dichorionic-diamniotic (DCDA) twins.



Marc O'Sullivan

PhD Title: Liquid Biopsy in the Newborn

Marc O’Sullivan is a National Children’s Research Centre, Crumlin, funded PhD candidate with the Department of Paediatrics since 2014. His research originally focused on core temperature variations of infants with Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy. His PhD is focused around miRNA profiling in cord blood for both neonatal growth and brain development. This work is in infants that experienced early rapid weight gain prior to childhood obesity, and infants born with perinatal asphyxia respectively


Sophie Casey

PhD Title: Temporal Identification of the Molecular Alterations in Disorders of Neurodevelopment.

As a graduate neuroscientist and current PhD candidate in paediatrics, Sophie’s current research on hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is at the crossroads of both areas.

Her PhD project focuses on the identification of circulatory biomarkers in multiple established animal models of HIE and the determination of the functional downstream targets and effects of these markers in cell models. Sophie is also investigating the inflammatory profiles in maternal serum samples with the aim of determining whether maternal immune dysfunction pays a causal role in the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Sophie’s research ultimately aims to provide novel insights into the roles of early molecular (microRNA and cytokine) alterations in the circulation on neurodevelopment and the effects of microRNA manipulation in the relevant cell models.

Dr Yvonne D'Art

MSc 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.

Dr Aisling Garvey

PhD Title: Multimodal Assessment of Newborns at Risk of Neonatal Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy

Aisling's area of interest is Neonatal Encephalopathy. Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is the leading cause of acquired brain injury in newborns. This study focuses on the early neurophysiological changes that occur following birth in infants with HIE and whether the evolution of these changes can predict eligibility for therapy and long term outcome.  By incorporating clinical findings, blood biomarkers and very early physiological biomarkers of injury, this study aims to identify more rapidly and accurately infants at highest risk.

Dr Michael Carter

PhD Title: PiRAMiD: Predicting early onset Autism through Maternal Immune Activation and Proteomic Discovery

Michael is investigating the role maternal immune activation (MIA) during pregnancy plays in causing Autism Spectrum Disorder in offspring. He is characterising a cohort of ASD affected children and their parents alongside matched controls and their parents. All participants were previously enrolled in BASELINE. He is comparing their clinical features as well as elements of their inflammatory profile. Through cytokine analysis we hope to identify specific inflammatory signatures during pregnancy while may correlate with ASD in offspring.

Ms Mary-Ann Ryan

PhD Title: Sleep architecture development of the mid to late preterm infant and correlation with neurodevelopmental outcome- The SLEEPi study

Mary-Ann is a registered general nurse with specialist registration in paediatrics and midwifery.  

Mid to late preterm infants (MLP)( 32-36+6 weeks gestation ) are born at a critical period of brain development. Sleep is essential for neurosensory cortical development, physical growth and brain formation in the preterm infant. Deprivation of sleep, (active or quiet sleep) has been associated with impaired development and loss of brain plasticity. In the NICU emphasis is placed on recording of cardiorespiratory vitals with less placed on monitoring the trajectory of neurodevelopment throughout stay. As the main behavioural state of the premature newborn, the objective information of sleep wake cycling as recorded on EEG/ aEEG monitoring, provides a valuable contribution to the standard clinical neurologic evaluations and clinical practice.

 This is a single centre observational study carried out in southern Ireland. Participants (n=101) are healthy /clinically stable MLP infants, admitted to the neonatal unit at birth. An overnight video EEG / aEEG carried out before 36+6 weeks gestation or prior to discharge. A modified neonatal version ( reduced montage) of the international 10/20 system was used when recording EEG , with ECG and respiratory activity also monitored. The 12 hour time frame analysed and annotated was similar for all recordings (+/- 2 hrs) commencing with the onset of active sleep. Standard of care was not altered whilst recordings were in progress.

All participants were invited to return to for developmental assessment and full head EEG at 4 mths corrected age and a developmental assessment at 18 months corrected age. Findings were correlated with a group of healthy term infants at the same ages.

Department of Paediatrics & Child Health

Péidiatraic agus Sláinte Leanaí

Floor 2, Paediatric Unit, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 DC4A