Research

The Department of Paediatrics & Child Health work collaboratively with the INFANT Centre and HRB Clinical Research Facility to promote and develop innovative research in relation to the health needs and priorities of Irish children. Paediatrics is an area of medicine renowned for its multidisciplinary approach to patient care and research, and we value interactivity with colleagues and allied health professionals. Our individual research interests are woven together in many ways.  For example, at present we are combining our expertise regarding quality of life issues and the impact of health interventions on health and social and economic outcomes with allergic disorders, neurocognitive outcomes of prematurity, epilepsy, diabetes and other common disorders of childhood.

 

The research strategy and interests of academic staff are listed below. 
Prof Deirdre Murray Establishment of the first Irish birth cohort and first neonatal biobank as part of the BASELINE project - This birth cohort will gather detailed information from 3000 Irish children as they grow and develop over several decades, with a large biobank of stored umbilical cord blood; Study of Neonatal Brain Injury and in particular newborn babies with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.
Prof Geraldine Boylan Research strategy aims to improve neurological outcome in newborn babies with seizures and other neurological conditions by: Improving seizure diagnosis and treatment by promoting the use of EEG monitoring in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Using EEG to accurately predict outcome in newborn babies with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy; Developing an automated seizure detection algorithm using EEG and other physiological signal analysis; Developing a fetal EEG monitoring device to identify early, babies who are developing neurological injury; Development of a web-based remote monitoring tool for EEG and other diagnostic medical investigations.
Prof Gene Dempsey  
Prof Jonahan Hourihane The Epidemiology of Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis; Immunomodulation of allergic diseases in childhood; The establishment of the National prevalence of Food Allergy in Ireland through the establishment of a birth cohort; Evaluation of medical interventions on the quality of life of food allergic individuals is an evolving area
Dr Louise Gibson  
Dr Daragh Finn

 

Dr Jackie Pando Kelly

Complementary Therapies and Holistic Medicine, Medical Education and the Learning Experience, Global Health including High Altitude Renal Disease, Streptococcus pneumonia In Peru and the outcomes of Tuberculosis in Peru

 
Dr Anda Dumitrescu

Professional development in health professions' education and adjustments imposed by Covid19 to current medical education. Improvement of the learning experience via various teaching methods. Impact of the pandemic on education and performance.

 

 

Current Projects 
Allergy & Immunology  This research focuses on the exploration of the link between skin barrier dysfunction and systemic allergic disorders, threshold doses of food allergens, immunomodulation of established allergic responses, prevention of allergic sensitisation and evaluation of quality of life in food allergic children. 
ANSeR The ANSeR study is testing a computer algorithm that can detect seizures in newborn babies.  The aim of ANSeR is to deliver a cotside tool that will help medical staff interpret EEG - it will be an EEG expert, available 24/7.
BabyLink BabyLink is a collaboration with IBM to develop a remote monitoring solution for the newborn brain. This solution will be designed together with a software algorithm which can interpret the neurological data. BabyLink supports decisions made in the neonatal unit by using IBM's InfoSphere Streams technology, which provides real-time processing of large amounts of data. 
BEYOND BiHiVE BEYOND BiHiVE is the next stage of the BiHiVE project, which investigates blood biomarkers. BEYOND BiHiVE can be seen as part of the BiHiVE2 study. It also focuses on inflammatory markers, and will target the markers with the most potential for a bedside diagnostic test. Once the findings of BEYOND BiHiVE are validated, researchers will move on to developing the bedside algorithm, which will provide a point-of-care diagnosis for HIE.
CARE Children with physical and intellectual disabilities make up 6.7% of the Irish population and require extra supportive care and services daily, for them to participate in all aspects of life. The imposed COVID-19 restrictions will have reduced or removed their support network, which will directly impact the physical and mental development of these children. The current situation will also inevitably impact the well-being of carers and affect the quality of life for both entities.  CARE is an anonymous online survey study, designed to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on accessibility of support services for carers of child(ren) with special needs, and the effect, if any, on carer well-being.
COMBINE The COMBINE study will improve our understanding of how diet and gut microbiome composition influences healthy growth and neurological development in early childhood.
Delphi The Delphi project will develop a smart brain monitoring system for newborns that may have brain injury. The new system will help to detect the severity of brain damage as soon as possible enabling early intervention and appropriate therapies tailored to each individual baby.
Enrich The ENRICH study aims to understand the effects of lifestyles, sensory experiences and sleep patterns on the cognitive development of healthy infants.
Nested NESTED is a project which will develop, test and train an algorithm which can detect seizures in premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It follows on from the ANSeR project, which focused on full-term babies. With NESTED, our researchers aim to develop a robust, reliable, automated seizure detection system for the detection of seizures in preterm neonates and facilitate prompt treatment.
Neuroprobe The NEUROPROBE study will develop cot-side devices which continuously assess brain health in preterm infants.  These innovative devices will analyse factors like brain electrical activity, oxygen levels and blood pressure. This data will be interpreted by algorithms which INFANT researchers have designed, to provide clinicians with an index of brain health for preterm infants. The ultimate goal is to achieve better standards of care in managing preterm babies in neonatal intensive care units worldwide
PiNPoINT PiNPoINT (Personalised Nutrition for the Preterm Infant) aims to develop a nutritional strategy for preterm infants with a very low birth weight. Using real-time nutritional data collection and mointoring, INFANT researchers will address the knowledge gaps in nutritional requirements where very low birth weight infants are concerned.
Stop AD The SKIN Study is a range finding pilot study which is needed to establish the range of NMF and TEWL values in a healthy neonatal population. These data will be used to inform the STOP AD intervention trial, which will investigate the effect of early skin barrier protection on the prevention of eczema and food allergy in high risk children.

Department of Paediatrics & Child Health

Péidiatraic agus Sláinte Leanaí

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

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