Maternal, Fetal and Infant Research Projects

Current MFIR research projects.


  • All Island of Ireland Paediatric Cardiology Network Research Programme

    This programme of work will involve using data on the lived experience of carrying a baby with a serious congenital heart defect to term and beyond, to provide a coherent story of everyday family life, and the psychological and financial impacts.

    The establishment of the new ConnectCardiacPeople brings together parents and professionals who will use social media and technology to connect with each other on a neutral platform.

    The longer term goal is to develop a strong PPI network that will facilitate the co-production of research and enhance impact from dissemination of research outcomes (Sinclair, Dolk, Loane and McCullough et al).

    Contact: Professor Marlene Sinclair

  • Birth across the Borders

    This is a highly innovative global outreach project demonstrating inroads to improved public health outcomes from the implementation of culturally relevant and specifically targeted maternal health education programmes in Myanmar.

    The assessment, application and testing of emergency obstetric care tool kits, screening technologies, data monitoring software and off the shelf technological applications will be key deliverables from this specific programme of research (Kernohan, Sinclair and Dornan et al).

    Collaborators include:

    • Kachin Baptist Convention
    • Community Health And Development (CHAD)
    • Partners Relief & Development
    • Earth Mission Asia
    • Chiang Mai University
    • Faculty of Nursing Queen’s University Belfast, School of Social Sciences
    • Catalyst Initiatives (Belfast)
    • Ulster University, Schools of Education, Computing and Business

    Contact: Professor George Kernohan

  • EUROmediCAT

    EUROmediCAT includes partners from 17 countries across Europe including epidemiologists, clinicians, pharmacologists, statisticians, and midwives.  Until 2015, with EU FP7 funding (led by Prof Helen Dolk), it focused on investigating medication safety in pregnancy and risk of congenital anomalies.

    This network formed the EUROmediSAFE consortium, now led by Dr Maria Loane, to tender for European Medicines Agency calls for research.

    Since 2019, the consortium joined the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) funded ConcePTION project, to further research maternal disease and maternal medication exposures during pregnancy and expanding outcomes to include child neuro-developmental outcomes.

    Contact:

  • ConcePTION

    ConcePTION is funded by IMI, involves more than 50 partners across academia and industry working together to build an ecosystem for better monitoring and communicating of medication safety in pregnancy.

    With linked third parties, the number of involved institutions and countries expands to more than 100.

    Prof Helen Dolk led Work Package one to initiate the project’s research, which focused on investigating how to move beyond pregnancy registries to enhance our understanding of disease-related pregnancy outcomes, medication use and safety of use during pregnancy.

    Dr Maria Loane leads the study assessing risk of neurodevelopmental outcomes and congenital anomalies associated with maternal exposure to antidepressants.

    Contact: Dr Maria Loane

  • EUROlinkCAT

    EUROlinkCAT is a H2020 funded project involving UU and 21 other partners which is investigating the mortality, morbidity and educational outcomes for children born with congenital anomalies 1995-2014.

    Dr Maria Loane leads WorkPackage 2 and is responsible for the standardisation of linked mortality, morbidity and educational data across Europe.

    She also leads the studies evaluating medication use in children with congenital anomalies compared to children without congenital anomalies

    Contact: Dr Maria Loane

  • ZikaPLAN

    Ulster is a partner in the H2020 funded ZikaPLAN project, which brought together 25 collaborators from Latin America, North America, Africa, Asia and Europe united to build long-term Zika virus outbreak response capacity in Latin America.

    Through the project Ulster has established the Global Birth Defects initiative, in addition to developing the innovative Global Birth Defects App, both of which are aimed at providing resources for birth defects surveillance in low resource environments globally, particularly in relation to exposures to medications (e.g. antiretrovirals) and infections in pregnancy. The Ulster lead is Prof Helen Dolk.

    Contact: Professor Helen Dolk

  • UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) - Maternal and Child Health Network (MatchNet)

    The UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) - Maternal and Child Health Network (MatchNet) brings together six collaborative UK-based academic institutions, including Ulster, with a view to capitalizing on linked, population-level administrative data and variations in policy across the four nations to assess interventions on and determinants of adverse child outcomes.

    The Ulster University lead is Dr Joanne Given.

    Contact: Dr Joanne Given