Research News

AI-powered risk stratification platform for preeclampsia commended under SFI Future Innovator scheme

  • 29 July, 2021


Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, together with Minister of State for Overseas Development and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, TD, today announced the winner and runner-up of the SFI Future Innovator Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Societal Good Challenge. 


The winning team, TAPAS,  led by Dr Aaron Golden and Prof Charlie Spillane at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) have been awarded €1 million for their interdisciplinary project resulting in a tool capable of providing objective data on the effectiveness of agricultural interventions for climate change adaptation.


From UCD, the AI PREMie team, led by Professor Patricia Maguire from UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, has been awarded €500,000 in recognition of the potential impact of their AI-powered risk stratification platform for preeclampsia. Also from the UCD ConwaySPHERE research group, the team includes Associate Professor Mary Higgins and Associate Professor Fionnuala Ní Áinle, UCD School of Medicine, and Dr Paulina Szklanna, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science


AI PREMie focuses on addressing the significant challenge of diagnosing and managing Preeclamptic toxaemia (PET). PET is a serious complication affecting one in every 10 pregnancies and is one of the world’s deadliest pregnancy complications. Clinical diagnosis of PET is extremely challenging and complementary diagnostic tests are an urgent unmet need.


AI PREMie uses cutting-edge biomedical, clinical and machine learning techniques to analyse a combination of biomarker signals and clinically relevant maternal haematological, demographic and clinical assessment data, to return an easily interpretable risk score within a few hours, aiding clinical evaluation in real-time. Through the use of AI, the system will continually learn and provide care providers with an affordable risk stratification tool to closely observe pregnancies complicated by PET, helping to prevent unnecessary adverse outcomes for mother and baby.


Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the runners up, Prof Patricia Maguire and the AI PREMie team, for the important work they are doing in advancing foetal health and women’s health with their state-of-the-art diagnostic application.”


Professor Maguire’s UCD Conway SPHERE team conducted the CAPE study (Coagulation Activation in PreEclampsia) and using the PALADIN* platform discovered candidate biomarkers that distinguish patients with preeclampsia from healthy pregnant women, as well as those that have the potential to calculate the risk of developing severe preeclampsia and whose preterm delivery can be delayed. 


Building on this, Professor Maguire and her team went on to develop AI PREMie. The new diagnostic test will allow clinicians and caregivers the chance to plan pregnancies for at risk mothers, giving a clearer understanding as to whether or not early delivery is necessary, or if the baby can stay in utero allowing for further development as every day in utero counts.


Read more about TAPAS and the SFI Future Innovator Prize, AI for Societal Good Challenge announcement. 


*PALADIN (PlAteLet bAsed DIagNostics), a new blood-based innovative diagnostics platform.