Liggins Institute

LiFePATH: what we do


Lifelong health for women, children and future generations through excellence in maternal, perinatal and childhood research and its translation


To conduct excellent research into maternal, perinatal and childhood care and its long-term consequences, to train the next generation of research leaders and to translate our research across disciplines and institutions


The LiFePaTH (Liggins Fetal, Perinatal and Maternal Translational Research for Lifelong Health) Group research programme focuses on how maternal, fetal and neonatal treatments, including nutrition and the intrauterine environment, affect fetal and postnatal growth and development, and the long-term health of babies and their mothers.

We are also working to understand the causes and consequences of preterm birth and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), which together affect more than 8,000 babies born in New Zealand each year. These conditions have long term implications including neonatal and on-going illness, compromised growth and cognitive development, and increased risk of chronic adult conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Our multidisciplinary team includes scientists and clinicians conducting translational research that examines clinical problems at a molecular level, through whole animal physiology to clinical trial and application of results.

LiFePaTH Group

Our strength lies in our ability to:

  • Investigate problems of relevance to maternal and perinatal health
  • Use our multidisciplinary skills to move between mechanistic, whole animal and clinical studies to seamlessly translate scientific research into clinical improvements
  • Train a cohort of clever, capable, broad-based clinician scientists
  • Use our international strengths in both clinical and sheep research to address agricultural as well as clinical questions
  • Disseminate our research locally, nationally and internationally.

Our research is coordinated at the Liggins Institute in Auckland, at Auckland City and Waikato hospitals.




We gratefully acknowledge funding from the following sources:

  • NHMRC project grant “The A*steroid Trial” 2012-2014
  • NHMRC project grant “ The MAGENTA Trial (magnesium sulphate at 30-34 weeks’ gestational age)” 2012-2016
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) RO1 grant “Children with hypoglycaemia and their later development” (the CHYLD study) 2011-2016
  • HRC programme grant “Perinatal care and its consequences” 2009-2015
  • HRC project grant “Preventing neonatal hypoglycaemia with oral dextrose gel: The hPOD Study” 2013-2016
  • HRC project grant “Neonatal hypoglycaemia: How do we know how low is too low?” 2010-2013
  • Gravida grants “PROVIDE: The impact of protein IVN on development. A feasibility study” 2013-2016
  • Gravida project grant “Antenatal corticosteroids guideline” 2012-2014
  • Gravida project grant “Protein intakes in ELBW babies and metabolic outcomes in childhood” 2011-2014
  • Gravida project grant in collaboration with University of Otago and Massey University: “Life as a twin begins at conception: understanding why twins are different” 2011-2014
  • Gravida project in collaboration with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga “Variability of food intake in Māori households containing preschool children” 2011-2014
  • Auckland Medical Research Foundation project grant “hPOD” 2013-2015
  • Lottery Health grant “hPOD: Hypoglycaemia prevention in newborns with oral dextrose” 2013-2015
  • Lottery Health grant “ProViDe RCT: Does Better Early Nutrition in Preterm Babies Improve Development?” 2014-2016
  • Lottery Health grant “HINT 2: Hyperglycaemia and Insulin in Neonates Trial 2” 2014-2016
  • Cure Kids grant “hPOD: Hypoglycaemia prevention in newborns with oral dextrose” 2013-2016
  • Cure Kids grant “PROVIDE: A randomised controlled trial of increased protein intake in extremely low birthweight babies in the first week of life to improve neurodevelopmental outcome” 2014-2017
  • Waikato Medical Research Foundation: "Sugar Babies Randomised Controlled Trial" and "Children with Hypoglycaemia and their later development (CHYLD study) 2008-2012
  • Philanthropic donations (including awards by the A+ Trust, Nurture Foundation, University of Auckland Foundation)
  • Cerebral Palsy Institute grant “The WISH Project: Working to Improve Survival and Health for babies born very preterm” 2011-2018
  • Commercial income 


To see recent publications from our research, please follow these links for our investigators.

Professor Frank Bloomfield
Professor Caroline Crowther
Professor Jane Harding
Dr Jane Alsweiler
Dr Anne Jaquiery
Dr Mark Oliver