An overview of some of our exciting research projects

The ROLO Study

The ROLO Kids and ROLO PreTeen studies are longitudinal follow-up studies of the original ROLO randomised control trial which assessed the impact of a low glycaemic index diet on birth weight, maternal glucose intolerance and gestational weight gain.

This study started with 800 pregnant women taking part from early pregnancy.  Mothers and children from the ROLO study are followed up at 6 months, 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years of age in order to determine whether maternal nutrition and low GI diet in pregnancy impacts on maternal and child health in the long term. 


As a natural progression from the ROLO study, Pregnancy Exercise and Nutrition Study with Smartphone Application Support : A Ransomised Controlled Trial (PEARS) was designed to assess the impact of a lifestyle intervention package, which consisted of a low glycaemic index (GI) diet and exercise prescription with smart phone app support, , on the incidence of gestational diabetes in an overweight and obese pregnant population. Women with a BMI of greater than 25 kg/m2 have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes and a low glycaemic index diet in pregnancy has shown to lower glucose intolerance. This randomised controlled trial recruited 500 women.  The addition of a specifically designed research smart phone app is novel and holds considerable potential to alter maternal behaviour in a positive way. An economic assessment of this intervention will allow assessment of its role within routine antenatal care.

ProP Study

The Probiotics in Pregnancy (ProP) study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised trial that investigating the effects of a probiotic capsule intervention on maternal fasting glucose and other indices of maternal metabolism. The probiotics are well tolerated and amongst the obese pregnancies no impact was noted on maternal metabolic profiles. The impact of probiotics on women with a new diagnosis of gestational diabetes shows effect on maternal lipids.

TEST Study

The Trial of low dose aspirin with an Early Screening Test for preeclampsia and growth restriction (TEST) study is a large (n=500) multicentre, randomised controilled feasibility trial of aspirin in low risk pregnancy.  This was the first drug trial in pregnancy in Ireland and it was very well received among low risk unselected women. 

Microbe Mom

Microbe Mom is a new therapeutic research collaboration investigating:

  • the most likely methods of transfer of good bacteria from mother to baby.
  • the impact of the mother’s diet and health on her gut bacteria and what she transfers to her baby at birth.
  • the impact of specific probiotic supplements on mother and baby health.

Microbe Mom is a 4-way collaboration between:

  • Alimentary Health Ltd, an innovative Irish healthcare company pioneering the discovery and development of proprietary microbiome-based products.
  • The SFI Research Centre APC Microbiome Ireland in Teagasc and University College Cork.
  • The UCD Perinatal Research Centre, School of Medicine, University College Dublin.
  • National Institute of Biotechnology Research and Training (NIBRT).

Additional information can also be found on


Related Links

GetGutsy Study

The GetGutsy study is testing the effect of taking a probiotic on markers of metabolic health. Recruitment is currently ongoing.


Pregnancy Nutrition Core Outcome Set (PRENCOS)

Pregnancy Nutrition Core Outcome Set (PRENCOS)



Preterm Birth

Approximately 15 million babies are born too soon every year, and over 1 million of them die. Those that survive sometimes need ongoing medical care throughout their lives into adulthood. The emotional burden for families and their babies is substantial, and healthcare costs extend into billions every year.

Here at the UCD Perinatal Research Centre (UCD PRC), we are researching ways to prevent preterm birth and promote better pregnancy outcomes for women at high risk of having a preterm baby. This initiative is led by Dr Siobhan Corcoran, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist & Maternal and Fetal Medicine Subspecialist, who is an expert in preterm birth prevention and runs The National Maternity Hospital (NMH) preterm birth surveillance clinic. The clinic is specifically designed to identify, monitor and optimise the prenatal care of women at risk of preterm birth. Dr Corcoran also has assistance from Dr Anthony Rafferty, the NMH Preterm Birth Clinical Fellow, and UCD PRC Postodoctoral Research Fellow, who develops and coordinates trials running in the clinic. The team also comprises of a Maternal Medicine Fellow; currently Dr Niamh Keating, and a dedicated specialist midwife, Larissa Leuthe.

Various streams of active research are ongoing in the preterm birth realm at the NMH and UCD PRC, contributing to presentations at national and international meetings. Current interests include the role of the maternal microbiome in women at risk of preterm birth, the management of women with a short cervix without a history of preterm birth, and the impact of congenital uterine anomalies on preterm birth.  

We have also recently contributed to the successful completion of the APOSTEL8 trial looking at atosiban versus placebo in threatened preterm birth.

Other Research Studies

Vitamin D & Maternal Lipids in Pregnancy & Impact on Maternal & Fetal Health

A number of studies have been performed examining the interaction of vitamin D on maternal and fetal health.


Follow-Up of a Prospective Cohort of Small for Gestational Infants at 2 and 5 Years Identified in Utero

This is an on-going multicentre study following up, at 2 and 5 years, children whose mothers were recruited, in pregnancy, with fetal growth on the 10th centile, in collaboration with Perinatal Ireland.