Current MFIR research projects.

  • All Island of Ireland Paediatric Cardiology Network Research Programme

    This programme of research illustrates the boundless potential for the value of high quality, research exploring health and social data, prenatal diagnostics, birth outcomes and infant survival statistics.

    This hard data combined with softer data on the lived experience of carrying a baby with a serious congenital heart defect to term and beyond, provides 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).

  • 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).

  • EUROmediCAT

    The EUROmediCAT project, led by Professor Helen Dolk of UU, investigated medication safety in pregnancy and risk of congenital anomalies (funding £825,000, 2011-2015). Other UU staff include Dr Maria Loane, Dr Joanne Given, Professor Marlene Sinclair and Dr Briege Lagan.

    The EUROmediCAT Consortium has expanded and now includes partners from 17 countries across Europe including epidemiologists, clinicians, pharmacologists, statisticians, and midwives.

    Wehave received additional funding by the European Medicines Agency to investigate anti-epileptic medication prescribing patterns in pregnancy.

    In 2019, the EUROmediCAT Consortium joined a large multi-national Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) funded project to further research by investigating maternal disease as well as maternal medication exposures during pregnancy and expanding outcomes to include child neuro-developmental outcomes.

  • ConcePTION

    The IMI funded ConcePTION project 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.

    Professor Helen Dolk of UU leads Work Package one, which includes Dr Maria Loane and Dr Joanne Given, investigating how to move beyond pregnancy registries to enhance our understanding of disease-related pregnancy outcomes, medication use and safety of use during pregnancy.

    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. The UU team is led by Dr Maria Loane, and includes Dr Joanne Given, Professor Marlene Sinclair, Dr Julie McCullough and Katy Karnell.

  • ZikaPLAN.

    Ulster is a partner in the H2020 funded ZikaPLAN project, which was established to address the research gaps in combating Zika and to establish a sustainable network with research capacity building in the Americas. The UU team, led by Professor Helen Dolk, includes Dr Aminkeng Leke and Katy Karnell.

    The UU team has established the Global Birth Defects initiative which provides resources for birth defects surveillance in low resource environments globally, particularly in relation to exposures to medications (e.g. antiretrovirals) and infections in pregnancy.

    Ulster has also created the innovative Global Birth Defects App, for use in areas where local expertise in congenital anomaly diagnosis is scarce. Its purpose is to improve the description and coding of major externally visible congenital anomalies for surveillance and research.

    UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) - Maternal and Child Health Network (MatchNet) Harnessing cross-country administrative data to evaluate national policy impacts on maternal, infant and child health and health inequalities (Given, Dolk et al). MatCHNet aims to lay the groundwork for multidisciplinary public health preventive research programmes to evaluate the impact of national policies or policy contexts on adverse child health outcomes and their consequences for non-communicable diseases in adulthood.

    The rationale for the network is that UK national and devolved government have implemented policies on maternal and early years that have largely not been evaluated. There is scope to capitalise on linked, population-level administrative data and variations in policy across the four nations to assess interventions on and determinants of adverse child outcomes.