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Childhood outcomes after dextrose gel for preventing low glucose levels in babies

Liggins Institute

Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Low blood glucose in newborn babies can cause brain damage. Dextrose gel helps prevent low glucose levels, but its effect on children’s growth and development at school age is unknown.

This project will involve assessing growth, development and behaviour of children at 6-7 years who took part in the hPOD trial of dextrose gel.


i) To develop a screen-based assessment of cognitive, physical and behavioural skills to be administered at school in 6-7-year old children.

ii) To use this assessment to determine the relationships between early glucose levels, treatment with dextrose gel, and later development in the hPOD cohort.

Here is further information about the hPOD trial:

Funding notes:

If you have a GPA of 8.0 or more and you completed your most recent qualifying programme at a New Zealand university, you’ll be supported throughout your PhD study by a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship. If your GPA is less than 8.0, there may still be scholarships available - you can discuss this with your potential supervisor or the academic director.

There are no international fees for PhD students: as long as you live in New Zealand during your period of enrolment, and even if you initially start your PhD from overseas, you will pay the same as New Zealanders.

Funding Notes

You should have a Masters or Honours degree or equivalent in a health or education-related discipline and a clinical background. Examples include (but are not limited to) neonatology, nursing, midwifery, paediatrics, obstetrics, developmental psychology, educational psychology, education.


Harris DL, Weston PJ, Signal M, Chase JG, Harding JE. Dextrose gel for treating neonatal hypoglycaemia: A randomized placebo-controlled trial (The Sugar Babies Study). Lancet 382: 2077-83, 2013.

Harris DL, Alsweiler JM, Ansell JM, Gamble GD, Thompson B, Wouldes TA, Yu T-Y, Harding JE on behalf of the CHYLD Study Team. Outcome at 2 years after dextrose gel treatment for neonatal hypoglycemia; Follow up of a randomized trial. Journal of Pediatrics 170: 545-59, 2016. .

HegartyJE, Harding JE, GambleGD, CrowtherCA, EdlinR, AlsweilerJM. Prophylactic oral dextrose gel for newborn babies at risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia: A randomised controlled dose-finding trial (the pre-hPOD study). PLOS Medicine 13 (10): e1002155, 2016. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002155.

Hegarty JE, Harding JE, Crowther CA, Brown J, Alsweiler J. Oral dextrose gel to prevent hypoglycaemia in at-risk neonates. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 7. Art. No.: CD012152, 2017. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012152.pub2.

Shah R, Harding JE, Brown J, McKinlay CJD. Neonatal glycemia and neurodevelopmental outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neonatology 115:116–126, 2019. DOI:10.1159/000492859

To learn more about the Liggins Institute and what we do visit

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