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Does exposure to antenatal steroids alter cardiovascular risk in middle age?

Liggins Institute

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

About the Project

Corticosteroids given to women at risk of preterm birth markedly reduce the risk of serious illness in their newborn babies. However, it is possible that they increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease in adults who were exposed to steroids before birth. The Auckland Steroid trial was the first randomised trial of antenatal steroids, and the survivors of that trial are now in their 50’s.
What we are looking for in a successful applicant


To determine in the Auckland Steroid Trial cohort whether exposure to glucocorticoids before birth alters health in 50-year-olds, particularly their risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Funding notes:

Scholarships and awards are available to support Honours, Masters and PhD students at the Liggins Institute, including a Liggins Institute ’Start Up’ Doctoral Scholarship for your first year’s fees. Find out more here:

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

Masters or Honours degree or equivalent in a health or education-related discipline and a clinical background. Examples include (but are not limited to) medicine, nursing, paediatrics, obstetrics, midwifery, public health.


Relevant publications:

Dalziel SR, Walker NK, Parag V, Mantell C, Rea HH, Rodgers A, Harding JE. Cardiovascular risk following exposure to antenatal betamethasone: Thirty year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 365: 1856-1862, 2005.

Dalziel SR, Lim VK, Lambert A, McCarthy D, Parag V, Rodgers A, Harding JE. Antenatal exposure to betamethasone: psychological functioning and health related quality of life 31 years after inclusion in a randomised controlled trial. British Medical Journal 331: 665-671, 2005. (Accompanied by editorial commentary)

Dalziel SR, Rea HH, Walker NK, Parag V, Mantell C, Rodgers A, Harding JE. Long term effects of antenatal betamethasone on lung function: 30 year follow up of a randomised controlled trial. Thorax, 61:678-683, 2006.

Dalziel SR, Fenwick S, Cundy T, Parag V, Beck TJ, Rodgers A, Harding JE. Peak bone mass following exposure to antenatal betamethasone and prematurity: Follow-up of a randomised controlled trial. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 21: 1175-1186, 2006.

To learn more about the Liggins Institute visit

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