MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
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Professor James Boardman

Research interests and grants.

Professor James P Boardman

Professor of Neonatal Medicine

  • BSc (hons), MBBS, MSc, PhD, FRCPCH
  • Director of the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory

Contact details



The Queen’s Medical Research Institute
Edinburgh BioQuarter
47 Little France Crescent

Post Code
EH16 4TJ


Professor Boardman trained in neonatal medicine in London (Hammersmith Hospital and University College London Hospital), and undertook a clinical research fellowship at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London leading to the award of PhD in neonatal neuroscience. He completed clinical training in 2007 and became senior lecturer at Imperial College London, where his research programme focused on perinatal brain injury. In 2012 he became scientific director of the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory situated in the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, and was promoted to Professor of Neonatal Medicine in 2017.

Research Interests

Professor Boardman researches the role of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging to investigate brain development of fetuses and neonates, factors that confer risk or resilience to perinatal brain injury, and the relationship between quantitative MR features and long-term functional outcome. 

He is scientific director of the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory, situated in the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, and principal investigator of the Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort, a world-leading research study aiming to improve the lives of babies born early and their families.

Visit the Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort website

Visit the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory website

Publications (on Edinburgh Research Explorer)

External Funding

  • 2018-20. Davidson D, Bogaert D, Schwarze J, McDougall C, Boardman J, Cunningham S. The antiviral potential of cathelicidin against respiratory syncytial virus infections in infants. Action Medical Research, £180,527.
  • 2018-20. Davidson D, Bogaert D, Schwarze J, McDougall C, Boardman JP (Co-I), Cunningham S. Nasal cathelicidin expression in protection against respiratory syncytial virus. Chief Scientist Office, £299,558.
  • 2018-20. McIntosh A, Sudlow, C, Robertson D, Dibben C, Lawrie S, Deary I, Boardman JP (Co-I), Porteous D, Whalley H, Chan S. Leveraging routinely collected and linked research data to study the causes and consequences of common mental disorders. MRC Mental Health Data Science Pathfinder, £1,272,880.
  • 2017-21. Wellcome Trust Translational Neuroscience Programme (PhD studentship). Boardman JP (primary supervisor), Bastin ME, Cox SJ. £119,290.
  • 2017-20. Stress Response Systems in Mothers and Infants with Preterm Birth. Boardman JP (PI) and Reynolds RM. Theirworld, £252,610.
  • 2016-2021. Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort. Boardman JP (PI), Fletcher-Watson S, Bastin ME, Chandran S, Drake AJ, Evans M, Stock S, Denison F, Reynolds RM, Semple S, Schwarze J, Cameron J, Chin R, Quigley A, Mulvihill A, Skogstrand K., £1.5M.
  • 2016-20. Understanding Epigenetic Mechanisms Linking Preterm Birth and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Drake AJ, Boardman JP (Co-I) and Aquila Biomedical Ltd.  Medical Research Scotland, £111,708.
  • 2012-18. The causes and consequences of perinatal brain injury associated with preterm birth and low birth weight. Boardman JP (PI), Denison F, Girardi G., £523,600.
  • 2015. Multi-user equipment grant: a neuro-optimised 3T magnetic resonance image scanner in an intensive care environment. Boardman JP(Co-I) and Wardlaw JM. £30,000.
  • 2014-2017. Simpson’s Special Care Babies, £19,800.

Group members

  • Dr Manuel Blesa Cábez
  • Dr Paola Galdi
  • Ms Jill Hall
  • Ms Gillian Winstanley

Research Students

  • Dr Bethan Dean
  • Mr Eamon Fitzgerald
  • Ms Lorna Ginnell
  • Dr Vix Monnelly
  • Ms Sinead O’Carroll
  • Dr David Stoye
  • Dr Gemma Sullivan
  • Ms Emily Wheater



  • Scientific director, Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory (2012 – current)
  • Paediatric training committee, South East Scotland (2011 – 2017)

National / International

  • Editor, 8th ed. Avery’s Neonatology (publication date 2020)
  • Editorial board member, Scientific Reports (2018 – current)
  • Review editor, Frontiers in Neurology (2018 – current)
  • President-elect of the Neonatal Society (2017 – current)
  • Chair of NHS England / British Association of Perinatal Medicine Neonatal Hypoglycaemia Framework for Practice working group (2016 – 2018)
  • Member of British Association of Perinatal Medicine working group: Fetal and Neonatal MRI – a Framework for Practice (2015 – 2016)
  • Member of Trial Steering Committee for Iodine Supplementation Study (I2S2): A UK Multicentre Randomised Controlled Trial in Preterm Infants
  • Scientific advisor for Tommy’s ‘Having a Premature Baby’ guide (2013 – current)
  • Associate editor BMC Pediatrics (2008 – 2018)