Midwives take outstanding research delivery title

30 May 2018

The winning Baby Biome study team

A team of research midwives from Leicester’s Hospitals has scooped an award for ‘outstanding research delivery’ for their work on the Baby Biome study at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network East Midlands annual research awards ceremony.

The Baby Biome study aims to find out how microbes and the immune system in early life work together to influence health and disease in childhood and in later life – such as eczema, asthma and obesity. To do this, the team collected biosamples (maternal and baby poo, cord blood and vaginal swabs) from mothers and their babies at birth and from babies in their first year of life.

Molly Patterson, senior research midwife at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “We would like to thank Professor Tommy Mousa for putting the team forward for this award. We would also like to thank all the obstetricians, midwives, research support officers, midwifery care assistants and Anthony Nolan staff who participated in the recruitment to this study. We recruited a phenomenal 2,018 participants over 22 months equating to 19 per cent of our babies born, plus their mothers, over that period.

“It is a fantastic achievement that stands the team in a wonderful position for taking on the main Baby Biome study in the future, working closely with Peter Brocklehurst and Nigel Field who lead the study at University College London.”

Dr Ian Scudamore, consultant obstetrician and principal investigator for the study at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “We have worked hard to develop an outstanding model of research delivery through our midwifery team and have been invited to share this best practice and teach other centres how to improve recruitment rates. I am so proud of the team, who have exceeded their target expectation and have contributed 50 per cent of total national recruitment to the study.

“The team has managed to set new standards of team work and have created an innovative workforce model that encouraged many midwives to apply to join the research team, working part-time clinical and part-time research. The team has not only managed to engage and train local staff but was also involved with training staff in other centres.”

Back in April participants from the study were interviewed for a three-part series called ‘The Second Genome’ that was aired on BBC Radio 4.

The baby biome team was not the only research team or individual from Leicester’s Hospitals to be recognised at the awards evening. Finalists included:

  • Rekha Patel, Children’s Research Nurse, in the ‘Above and Beyond’ category for her project on Research Envoys, which links research staff with clinical care teams
  • The Children’s Research team in the ‘Putting Patients First’ category for their work on creating a dedicated children’s research space at Leicester Royal Infirmary
  • Guarav Gulsin, Clinical Research Fellow at the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre in the ‘Significant Contribution to Research by a Trainee Healthcare Professional’ for his work on the DIASTOLIC study, which looks at whether different exercise and diet regimes in type 2 diabetes patients can impact on heart function, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to track changes