Academic Centre for Paediatric Research

Centre Overview

The Centre for Paediatric Research unites UCD researchers working to develop capacity in clinical, translational and health sciences research in paediatrics. The Centre comprises a cluster of clinical and translational researchers at University College Dublin and its affiliated paediatric hospitals.

It includes investigators with expertise across the spectrum of translational research, including laboratory-based scientists, clinician scientists and clinician researchers. Research outputs cover a wide range of paediatric diseases, however strong focus has been brought to bear on certain research areas/themes with existing established research capacity.

Information about the Academic Centre for Paediatric Research

Infectious diseases are the main causes of childhood mortality worldwide. Diarrhoealdisease research has benefited from the establishment of the DOCHAS initiative funded by the National Children’s Research Theme which aims to understand the recent rapid increase in inflammatory bowel disease in Irish children and already has recruited over 150 patients.

Furthermore, research by UCD affiliated investigators in the areas of childhood HIV infection and immune deficiency states relevant to TB has been published in the Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine. Laboratory-based investigation of the inflammatory and host defence mechanisms underlying important childhood diarrhoeal disease pathogens has been strengthened by an award from the National Children’s Research Centre of over one million Euro to a group of Science Foundation Ireland/Health Research Board- funded investigators interested in the role of reactive oxygen species during intestinal infection in children. 

UCD affiliated investigators have been awarded a number of investigator grants to study inflammatory and hypoxic injury in infants.

Principal Research Team


 Prof Carlos Blanco

Adjunct Professor

 Dr Annemarie Broderick

Senior Clinical Lecturer in Paediatrics

 Dr Cormac Breatnach

Clinical Lecturer in Paediatrics

 Prof Karina Butler

Clinical Professor in Paediatrics

Dr Marguerite Clyne

Dr Declan Cody
Consultant Endocrinologist

  • Email

Dr Des Cox
Consultant Respirologist

Dr Ellen Crushell
Consultant for Inherited Metabolic Disorders

Dr Adrienne Foran
Consultant Neonatologist

Dr Seamus Giles
Senior Lecturer

Dr Joanne Hughes
Consultant for Inherited Metabolic Disorders

Prof Mary King
Professor of Paediatrics & Head of Subject

Dr Ina Knerr
Consultant Paediatrician

Prof Ulla Knaus
Professor of Immunology

Prof Fiona McNicholas

Professor of Child Psychiatry

Dr Eleanor Molloy
Senior Clinical Lecturer in Paediatrics

Dr Sinead Murphy
College Lecturer

Dr Colm O’Donnell
Senior Clinical Lecturer in Paediatrics

Dr Niamh O’Sullivan
Consultant Microbiologist

Dr Terence Prenderville

Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist

Prof Prem Puri
Newman Clinical Research Professor

 Dr Helen Roche

 Associate Professor of Nutrigenomics

Dr Marian Rowland
Lecturer in Clinical Research

Dr Jennifer Thompson
Senior Lecturer

Director Biography


Prof Bourke's main laboratory research interest is in infectious diarrhoeal diseases of childhood and my group focuses particularly on Campylobacter jejuni, a major human intestinal pathogen and the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis. Together with a group of close collaborators that include Marguerite Clyne, Tadhg O'Croinin and Ulla Knaus at UCD and National Childrens Research Center he has developed an internationally competitive infection biology research programme. The programme has close collaborative ties with leading national and international scientists in the area of Campylobacter pathogenesis. The organisms that we study and the laboratory models that they have developed now form the basis for a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research drive sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland aimed at understanding the glycobiology of human intestinal infections (Alimentary Glycosciences Research Cluster).

They also have an established track record in clinical epidemiology research on digestive diseases of childhood. Together with Marion Rowland, a clinical epidemiologist recognized internationally for her work on the epidemiology of H. pylori, they have a major research interest in the epidemiology of cystic fibrosis-associated liver disease. These studies, funded by grants from the Health Research Board and The National Childrens Resarch Center, have focussed on understanding the population incidence and risk factors for the development of liver disease and its complications among Irish children with cystic fibrosis. Full biography available here

Having graduated from UCD Medicine in 1978, Professor Michael Turner trained in obstetrics and gynaecology in Dublin and London, and was appointed as a consultant in 1990.  He earn his membership of both the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in 1984 and in 1988 was awarded a Masters of the Art of Obstetrics by University College Dublin.  

From 1992 to 1998 he served as Master of the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital which is one of Europe's leading hospitals for women's healthcare.  In 2006 he was appointed the UCD Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Coombe.  Since 2010 he has served as the country's first National Lead for the Health Services Executive Clinical Programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

UCD Centre for Human Reproduction

Professor Turner is also Director of the UCD Centre for Human Reproduction at the Coombe Women's & Infants' University Hospital, one of the university's dedicated research centres.  The centre focuses on health services implementation science and on modifiable clinical risk factors for pregnancy such as maternal obesity, aberrant fetal growth, inadequate nutrition, infection and smoking.  

His full profile is available here.

Growing Issue of Maternal Obesity

Prof Turner discusses the growing issue of maternal obesity in an interview on Today with Sean O'Rourke (RTE Radio 1)

Improving the Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Thu, 3 March 16 16:41

UCD Researchers have demonstrated the impact of strict pre-analytical sample handling procedures on the diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in pregnant women.  The prospective observational study found that the prevalence of GDM was 2.7 times higher if standards for pre-analytic prevention of glycolysis in the maternal samples were strictly implemented compared with the customary hospital conditions.  These findings raise the possibility that suboptimal implementation of measures to prevent glycolysis is causing GDM to be under-diagnosed across the country, with potentially serious clinical consequences.