On this International Women’s Day, we are delighted to celebrate the achievements of UCC female researchers based at the INFANT Research Centre, by demonstrating leadership in research that is transforming the future of maternal and child healthcare.

Led by Director Professor Geraldine Boylan, INFANT is answering the international need for research and innovation to improve health outcomes across the continuum of pregnancy, infancy and childhood.

Here are just examples of their work:

INFANT spin out company, Liltoda, led by Professor Deirdre Murray in collaboration with Hello Games, a global gaming company, is harnessing the power of innovative gaming technology to assess cognitive function in young children. This technology was developed by the team at INFANT and is now being rolled out across the world.

Dr. Jane English is leading a transformative study that aims to identify biomarkers in the blood (e.g. proteins or metabolites) that predict the onset of severe childhood autism. Early prediction will help support early intervention, improvements in health outcomes and enhance the quality of life of children with severe autism, and their families.

Professor Geraldine Boylan has led the world’s first clinical trial of an automated seizure detection device for newborn infants, a device which was developed by researchers at INFANT in UCC.  This technology was recently commercialised and launched in Ireland and Japan by industry partner Nihon Kohden, a Tokyo based global leader in patient monitoring technology.

Prof Mairead Kiely, Dr. Elaine McCarthy and Dr. Áine Hennessy’s are the team of female researchers leading the way internationally in maternal and child nutrition research. This team are tackling problems such as iron deficiency in pregnancy and childhood, assessing iodine status in pregnancy and have developed novel technology to support a personalised nutrition approach for preterm infants in the intensive care unit.

Dr. Mairead O’Riordan, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, is leading recruitment to a clinical trial at Cork University Maternity Hospital that investigates the use of low-dose aspirin therapy for the improvement of pregnancy outcomes in women with diabetes.

Professor Keelin O’Donoghue leads pregnancy loss research at INFANT and is working closely with many stakeholders to increase awareness of pregnancy loss, to encourage more effective services/supports within the health care system and to ensure this research leads to the implementation of healthcare policy changes.

These are just some of the 53 female researchers based at INFANT who are dedicated to improving health outcomes for pregnant women, infants, and children.