Trinity professor awarded €1.4 million for neonatal brain injury research

Professor Eleanor Molloy will use the funding to train healthcare researchers to doctoral level

The Health Research Board (HRB) has awarded €1.4 million to the Neonatal Brain Injury Consortium Ireland, led by Trinity Professor Eleanor Molloy. The funding will be used to lead multidisciplinary PhD research programmes in Trinity, University College Cork (UCC) and the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway).

The €1.4 million from the HRB will be used to train PhD candidates in new and effective methods of caring for infants with brain injuries. The Neonatal Brain Injury Consortium’s research group will develop clinical guidelines on caring for affected infants and their families.

The Neonatal Brain Injury Consortium is a project which seeks to create a national multidisciplinary approach to researching neonatal brain injuries. The research group, which is a collaborative effort including parents, aims to optimise the investigation and management of neonatal brain injuries. The research group also supervises PhD students who are assigned to the consortium’s projects.

Professor Molloy expressed her delight at the consortium’s “collaborative success” in the HRB’s funding call, which Molloy described as “highly competitive”. Molloy envisions that the PhD students whom the funding will be used to support will “be the experts leading research, innovation, and care of these infants in the future”.

Eleanor Molloy, Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health, was awarded a Professorial Fellowship by Trinity in 2015. She is a Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician at several hospitals in Dublin, including the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght. She is the Chair of Paediatrics at Trinity.

The HRB is providing €5.7 million of funding to four new health research training programmes, including Professor Molloy’s neonatal brain injury research. Over the next five years, the four new programmes will collectively train 18 PhD candidates.

Professor Gary Donohue, NUI Galway, received €1.5 million towards a doctoral training programme on youth mental health research. €1.4 million was awarded to Professor Tom Fahey, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), for his research programme on the enhancement of care for elderly patients. Professor Susan Smith, RCSI, was also awarded €1.4 million for a doctoral training programme which will train four PhD candidates in delivering primary care to patients who are regularly on ten or more medications.

HRB Interim Chief Executive, Dr Mairead O’Driscoll, explained that the awards are “an important part of delivering future leaders to undertake high-quality health research in our health care system”. The training programmes, which are designed to equip health research with a broad range of skills, will allow researchers to integrate their knowledge with specialised patient care. O’Driscoll is confident that the programmes will “make a long-term impact” on how patients are cared for in Ireland.

Dr Annalisa Montesanti, HRB Programme Manager, added that the “four successful awards were selected on the basis that each one brings a coherent, structured approach to training health researchers to doctoral level in their respective fields.”

The HRB is a state agency funded by the Department of Health which supports healthcare research and seeks to prevent illness, improve health, and create changes in patient care.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.