INFANT Research Centre are delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Brian Walsh to INFANT Principal Investigator. Prof Walsh is a Consultant Neonatologist in Cork University Maternity Hospital, Lead Investigator at INFANT and Associate Professor in Neonatology, Department of Paediatrics & Child Health, UCC.

Brian’s research focuses on newborns at high risk of cerebral injury. In particular, he has studied different methods for the early identification of brain injury, and in optimizing neuro-protection strategies, to hopefully improve their outcomes.

INFANT Director, Prof Geraldine Boylan welcomes the appointment “I am delighted to welcome Brian to the leadership team of INFANT, recognising his exceptional expertise and outstanding contributions to neonatal brain research. Brian’s leadership will further strengthen our position to be at the international forefront of innovative and impactful research in maternal and child health”

Prof Walsh graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. He was awarded a Molecular Medicine Ireland Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2009, and studied the ability for early blood biological markers to determine the severity of Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy in newborns. He was awarded his PhD for this work by UCC in 2014. From 2013 to 2017, he completed his neonatal training in Boston, working first as a Fellow, and then Chief Fellow, on the Harvard Neonatal Perinatal Fellowship Program. Following the fellowship, he became an Attending Neonatologist in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, with an academic appointment to Harvard Medical School, before returning to Cork.

Brian joined INFANT as a Lead Investigator in 2021 and continues to work on furthering the ability to accurately identify newborns at high risk of brain injury, and to improve their outcomes.

He is currently leading the Early Detection of Cerebral Palsy(CP) in Ireland project. This is a collaborative multi-site project currently being conducted across all tertiary neonatal units in Ireland, with plans for further expansion. The project is using implementation science methods to introduce a standardised evidence-based approach to the assessment of children who are born at increased risk of CP. The aim of the project is to reduce the age at which CP is diagnosed among these children. Brian is also the Site lead on the international multi-centre Coolprime study. This is a comparative effectiveness trial aimed at providing evidence on the impact and safety of therapeutic hypothermia among newborns with mild encephalopathy.

Prof Walsh is looking forward to his new role, ‘The INFANT centre has a tremendous track record in advancing neonatal and paediatric research, leading to real world benefits for children. I’m very excited to be taking on a new role as Principal Investigator in INFANT and helping to further advance this important work.’