The Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT) has received €570,000 in funding to develop a smart brain monitoring system for newborns who may have brain damage.
INFANT in University College Cork has been awarded the funding by Wellcome Trust.
Named ‘Delphi’, the new system will help to detect the severity of brain damage as soon as possible enabling early intervention and appropriate therapies tailored to each individual baby.
Brain injury at birth, potentially due to lack of oxygen or blood supply to the brain, sepsis and other conditions, can leave newborns with permanent disabilities such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy or learning difficulties.
Early detection of neonatal brain injury can be vital to improve outcomes and reduce the impact of the brain damage.
Electrical monitoring (EEG) is not routinely available to newborns in neonatal intensive care (NICU) due to its complexity and the need for expert interpretation.
"This award by Wellcome Trust acknowledges the calibre of research capability and global impact of the work that we are doing at INFANT," said INFANT director and professor of neonatal physiology, Prof. Geraldine Boylan.
"We are delighted to partner with the Wellcome Trust on this two year research project, which will undoubtedly have enormous impact on newborn brain health research and provide a new and ‘smart’ way of monitoring the brains of newborns so the earliest and most appropriate treatment can be delivered."
The artificial intelligence project team will be led by INFANT research fellow Dr Keelin Murphy, an expert in machine learning, specifically deep learning and overseen by Prof. Geraldine Boylan.
The Delphi project has the potential to become a globally adopted solution that will improve outcomes for newborns with brain injury all over the world.
"This research has the potential to improve outcomes for newborn babies and their families around the world," said Prof. Anita Maguire, vice president for research and innovation at UCC.
"We are delighted to welcome this award from the Wellcome Trust to the INFANT Centre to support research and innovation which will impact on our healthcare services."