Childhood outcomes after a trial of extra protein for babies born very preterm

Project Code: 10446050

Faculty: Liggins Institute

Department: Liggins Institute

Main Supervisor: Dist Prof Jane Harding

Principal investigator: Professor Frank Bloomfield

Application open date: 22 Feb 2019

Application deadline: 31 Jan 2021

Enrolment information: NZ Citizens, NZ Permanent Residents, International


Adequate nutrition, particularly of protein, is essential for babies born extremely preterm.  Enhanced early nutrition is associated with better early growth and brain development, but it is not known if these early benefits translate into better school performance, and it is possible they may also increase later risk of obesity and metabolic disease.

We have recently completed the ProVIDE randomised trial of additional protein given to very preterm babies soon after birth. This project will involve assessing growth, development and behaviour of children at 6-7 years who took part in the ProVIDE trial.

What we are looking for in a successful applicant

Masters or Honours degree or equivalent 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, educational psychology, education.

Scholarships and awards are available to support Honours, Masters and PhD students at the Liggins Institute, including a Liggins Institute 'Start Up' Doctoral Scholarship for your first year's fees. Find out more.


i) To develop a screen-based assessment of cognitive, physical and behavioural skills to be administered at school in 6-7-year old children.

ii) To use this assessment to determine the relationships between early nutrition, and later development in the ProVIDE cohort.

Other information

Here is a link to the ProVIDE study.

The supervisors are:

Distinguished Professor Jane Harding

Professor Frank Bloomfield

Dr Chris McKinlay

Professor Gavin Brown

Associate Professor Trecia Wouldes


Relevant publications:

Bloomfield FH, Crowther CA, Harding JE, Jiang Y, Conlon CA, Cormack BE.  The ProVIDe study: The impact of protein intravenous nutrition on development in extremely low birthweight babies.  BMC Pediatrics.2015, 15:100.  DOI: 10.1186/s12887-015-0411-y.  URL:

Brown J, Embleton N, Harding JE, McGuire W.  Multi-nutrient fortification of human milk for preterm infants.  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 5, Art. No.: CD000343.  DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000343.pub3, 2016.

Harding JE, Cormack BE, Alexander T, Alsweiler JM, Bloomfield FH.  Advances in nutrition of the newborn infant. (Invited review).  Lancet 389: 1660-68, 2017.

Amissah EA, Brown J, Harding JE.  Protein supplementation of human milk for promoting growth in preterm infants.  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 6, Art. No. CD000433, 2018. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000433.pub2

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