View all projects

Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory

Researching the effect on children who are born too early or too small.

Photo credit: Theirworld

Researchers at the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory are doing vital work to discover more about the causes of babies being born early and finding better ways to care for them. The aim is to minimise some of the life-threatening complications that can arise for mothers and babies.

About the issue of preterm birth

Each year 15 million children globally are born less than 37 weeks into the pregnancy and this number is rising. Preterm birth is the single biggest cause of death and disability among newborn babies and it is a leading cause of neurodevelopmental impairment in childhood.

Your donation can help support this life-saving work - and Theirworld's work to ensure that every child gets the best start in life:

About the Laboratory

The Laboratory was set up at the University of Edinburgh by Theirworld (then known as PiggyBankKids) in 2004. It is hosted by the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health.

The Laboratory’s innovative work seeks to advance our understanding of what causes early labour, how we can develop treatments to prevent it and how we can better help newborn babies in those first crucial hours and days after birth.

It has created a team of world-class scientists and clinicians whose work is already having an impact on the lives of premature babies.

The team works closely with colleagues and peers in other research centres in the University of Edinburgh, including:

Another key partner is NHS Lothian’s Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, where 7000 babies are born every year. It is the regional centre for women with high-risk pregnancies and its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is the regional centre for tertiary level care of preterm infants.

The four doctors who were appointed to start key research at the JBRL

Photo credit: Theirworld

Projects at the Laboratory

The Laboratory's newest project is a pioneering study launched in November 2015. The Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort will follow 400 young people from infancy to adulthood and will help to reach a broader understanding of developmental problems as a result of being born too early or too small. This comprehensive study is a world first in investigating the long-term effects of preterm birth on the developing brain.

The Jennifer Brown Research Fund

The Laboratory is supported by the Jennifer Brown Research Fund, which originally funded groundbreaking research at the lab alongside supporting innovative community-based schemes led by nurses and midwives. The fund now also supports large-scale research projects including the Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort.

Support our life-saving work

Donate and support the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory and Theirworld's work to give every child the best start in life:

  • Act
  • Related Stories