Department of Population Health Sciences

Our speakers

Elaine Boyle

Elaine is the LCFC Professor in Child Health and an Honorary Consultant Neonatologist at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. She leads the LCFC Programme of Research. Elaine worked as a nurse for several years before studying medicine, qualifying as a doctor in 1993. She trained in Sheffield, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Canada before taking up her consultant post in Leicester in 2006.

Elaine has carried out research for more than 20 years to better understand problems of prematurity and improve outcomes for preterm and sick babies. Her main research interest is moderate-late preterm and early term birth. The LCFC Research Programme complements her previous and ongoing work in this area. With colleagues at the University of Leicester, Elaine led the Late And Moderately preterm Birth Study (LAMBS), the first large study of these babies in the UK. Recently, she led the development of national guidance for the care of moderate-late preterm babies. She is currently the chief investigator for a national clinical trial to find the best way of managing breathing problems in babies born 2-6 weeks early. 

Frances Mielewczyk

Frances originally trained as a nurse and spent some years working on a neonatal unit. She then studied Psychology and Health Psychology at City University, London, where she later became a lecturer. During her time at City, Frances assisted on the standardisation of the Wechsler-IV intelligence test for children (WISC-IV), explored maternal-fetal attachment in women who had conceived by in vitro fertilisation and, for her PhD, studied the influences on attempts to adopt health behaviours. 

Frances came to the University of Leicester in 2012 as a Study Administrator in the TIMMS research group, working on projects including the Late And Moderately preterm Birth Study (LAMBS), and MBRRACE-UK (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audit and Confidential Enquiries across the UK). She has been a researcher on the LCFC programme since 2020. Frances is interested in parent involvement in decision-making about early birth and will shortly be leading a study, which will explore the views of parents and healthcare professionals on this subject.

Vimbai Mamombe

Vimbai is in her final year of study as a part time doctoral student at the University of Leicester. She studied for her first degree in Psychology at the University of Zimbabwe. Following this, she came to the UK and then completed an Masters in Psychology at the University of Bradford, before moving to Leicester to study for her PhD. 

Vimbai has an interest in infant feeding and nutrition. Her PhD is a qualitative piece of work to better understand the breastfeeding support needs of late preterm infants and their mothers and to explore how healthcare professionals interact with mother and baby after birth to achieve successful feeding. Vimbai has recently taken up a part time post as Research Assistant for the LCFC Programme of Research. She also works as a teaching assistant within the Department of Psychology at the University of Leicester.  Vimbai is a mother of four.

Alice Kavati

Alice is a second-year, part-time PhD student at the University of Leicester and an Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (ANNP) at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Alice trained as a nurse in New Zealand, initially working in a burns and plastics unit before moving to neonatal intensive care and then emigrating to the UK in 2004. Alice has since worked in many different roles in neonatal intensive care, including nurse education and neonatal transport, before graduating with a Master of Medical Science from the University of Sheffield in 2020 and embarking on a career as an ANNP. Alice’s PhD project investigates the relationship between early feeding methods and how babies born late preterm and early term grow and develop. She also plans to talk with the mothers of these babies to find out about their experiences and influencing factors that determine their feeding choices.

Will Dodwell

Will is a Higher Speciality Trainee in Paediatrics. Will qualified as a doctor at the University of Manchester in 2015 and completed foundation medical training in Leeds. He began Paediatric Training in the East Midlands in 2018, working mainly in neonatology and paediatric intensive care. 

Will is currently undertaking a PhD as a member of the LCFC Programme of Research, leading a large cohort study evaluating the impact of maternal, perinatal and neonatal risk factors on the epigenetics and immune function of neonates. He was an associate principal investigator for the SurfON study, evaluating the optimal way of supporting late preterm babies with breathing difficulties. He has designed and led multiple quality improvement projects in early neonatal care and neonatal sepsis.

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