Effect of Early Protein Intake on Later Growth and Development of Children Born Very Preterm

Project Code: 10357504

Faculty: Liggins Institute

Department: Liggins Institute

Main Supervisor: Dist Prof Jane Harding

Principal investigator: Professor Frank Bloomfield

Application open date: 08 Jul 2016

Application deadline:

Enrolment information: NZ Citizens, NZ Permanent Residents, International


Providing adequate nutritional intakes, especially of protein, in extremely low birthweight (ELBW, birthweight < 1,000 g) infants in early life is extremely challenging.Consequently, the majority of ELBW babies have faltering postnatal growth, and poor growth in ELBW babies is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes.We are currently undertaking a randomised, multi-centre trial of a simple, inexpensive and practical intervention to determine whether an extra 1 g/day of intravenous protein in the first five days after birth will improve outcomes for these fragile babies.

This trial will provide the first evidence on the long-term outcomes of increased protein intake in ELBW babies in early life.If the intervention is effective, it could be introduced immediately into neonatal units at very little cost with health benefits for these highly vulnerable babies.

What we are looking for in a successful applicant

We are looking for candidates with a degree in a health or education-related discipline and a clinical background. Examples include (but are not limited to) neonatology, nursing, midwifery, paediatrics, obstetrics, developmental psychology.


We plan to assess growth, development and health in babies who took part in this trial when they are two years old.We will relate these to the amount of protein they received in the newborn period to determine whether the extra protein half of them received has benefits or risks for their later outcomes. 

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