Betty McGrath Grant will help develop reliable prediction methods for mothers’ and babies’ health

Friday 12 February 2021

Professor Sailesh Kumar, Senior Specialist in Maternal & Fetal Medicine/Obstetrics at Mater Mothers’ Hospital and Mayne Professor in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Mater Research and The University of Queensland, successfully gained one of five Betty McGrath Seeding Grants.

A joint initiative of Mater Health, Mater Research and Mater Foundation, the Betty McGrath Grant enables practising clinicians or other health professionals to pursue their research activity whilst allowing their departments to continue quality of care to their patients.

With collaborations from his colleagues and team members, Ms Veronika Schreiber, Associate Professor Luke Jardine, Dr Sally Shrapnel and Professor Ben Mol, the group will develop reliable methods to predict adverse pregnancy outcomes using ‘computer learning’ techniques alongside the data being collected from the generosity of patients from Mater hospitals.

“Machine learnings have been used in other areas of medicine to identify patients that are at risk of adverse outcomes or those who may not respond to a particular type of treatment. However, their application in maternity care is limited. Using data collected at Mater Mothers’ Hospital Brisbane, we aim to develop reliable prediction models for a variety of important clinical outcomes related to in-utero hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and validate these models from data collected across Queensland. If we are successful, the benefits may result in improved clinical outcomes,” said Professor Kumar.

Research into stillbirth, neonatal death and severe neonatal morbidity remains a global challenge.

“By securing this grant, we can work to hopefully get these numbers down — first at Mater and then more widely.”

“Accurate and reliable prediction models have the potential to advance patient-focused, value-based care by improving decision-making processes, clinical outcomes and health economic costs.”

“These predictive models will help to identify at-risk cohorts for particularly adverse outcomes. It’s these mothers and family that are going to benefit and help us to address key unmet needs in maternity care.”

Find out more about Professor Kumar’s work at Mater Research.