Centre for Reproductive Health

Boardman group

Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory. Neuroprotective strategies for babies at risk of brain injury and poor neurodevelopmental outcomes

Professor James P Boardman (BSc (hons), MBBS, MSc, PhD, FRCPCH)

Professor of Neonatal Medicine

  • Director of the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory
  • Consultant neonatologist

Contact details



The Centre for Reproductive Health
Institute for Regeneration and Repair (IRR)
4-5 Little France Drive
Edinburgh BioQuarter

Post Code
EH16 4UU

Research summary

Our research aims to improve the lives of children born too soon or too small by finding out how and why preterm birth affects brain development so that we can discover effective ways to promote resilience and improve health outcomes.

Research interests

Professor Boardman's group contributes to tackling the most significant problem facing 21st-century perinatal medicine: how to reduce brain injury and restore learning potential after preterm birth. He uses neuroinformatic approaches to discover the impact of preterm birth on the developing brain and the biological axes that embed early life adversity in cerebral development. He has built unique infant cohorts phenotyped by structure (brain MRI), biology (immune function, DNA methylation, stress axis activation, gut microbiome), medicine, the social graph, and behaviour, and he has developed tools for integrating multi-scale early life data.

Group members

  • Mr Ray Amir, Research Assistant
  • Dr Manuel Blesa Cábez, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Dr Amy Corrigan, Research Midwife
  • Ms Aisling Kenny, PhD student
  • Mrs Jill Hall, Programme coordinator
  • Ms Kirsty Paterson, Research Midwife
  • Dr Melissa Thye, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Dr Kadi Vaher, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Ms Selina Abel, PhD student
  • Dr Fraser Christie, MD student
  • Dr Katie McKinnon, PhD student
  • Miss Rebekah Smikle, PhD student
  • Miss Hannah Smith, PhD student
  • Dr Helen Turner, PhD student


Boardman JP and Bogaert D. The gut microbiome in preterm infants: Influencing factors and the association with brain structure and function. University of Edinburgh Wellcome Trust Translational Neuroscience 4-year PhD Programme (108890/Z/15/Z). 2023-2026. 

Boardman JP, Reynolds RM, Richardson H, Battersby C, Cox SR, Marioni R, Tsanas A, Whalley H, Batty D. Preterm birth as a determinant of neurodevelopment and cognition in children: mechanisms and causal evidence. UKRI MRC Programme Grant (MR/X003434/1), 2023-2027.

Boardman JP, Richardson H, Cox SR. The role of perinatal systemic inflammation in brain and cognitive development. University of Edinburgh Wellcome Trust Translational Neuroscience 4-year PhD Programme (108890/Z/15/Z), 2022-2025. 

Marioni R, Cox S, Boardman JP, Moodie J. Identifying Omics biomarkers of brain health over the life course for early detection of risk of neurological disorders and cognitive decline. University of Edinburgh Wellcome Trust Translational Neuroscience 4-year PhD Programme (108890/Z/15/Z), 2022-2025.

Robertson NJ, Hakim-Moulay D, Marlow N, Mitra S, Molloy E, Boardman JP, Standing J, Tranter P, Martinello K, Malhotra A, Allegaert K, Becher JC, Golay X, Boylan G, Jones GR, Walsh B, Hunt R, Kendall G, Miller S, Murray D, Mahaveer AK, Smits A, Pang R. Acute High Dose Melatonin for Encephalopathy of the Newborn (ACUMEN): Phase I Study. MRC Development Pathway Funding Scheme, 2023-2026.

Reynolds, RM. Stirrat L, Muray S, Stock S, Boardman JP, Norrie J. Infant hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses following antenatal corticosteroids and perinatal outcomes: a mechanism of action of health intervention study. NIHR EME (NIHR133388), 2022-2025.

Boardman JP. Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort. Theirworld, 2016-28.

Stock SJ, Murray S, Deidda M, Boyd K, Norman JE, Norrie J, Reynolds RM, Boardman JP, Luyt K, Khalil A, Bick D, Reed K, Denton J. A Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trial of Antenatal Corticosteroids for Planned Birth of Twins: STOPPIT-3. NIHR HTA, 2021-25.