Dr Helen Brotherton


Assistant Professor

MRC Unit The Gambia
United Kingdom

+2202910151 / +447481474150

Helens research interests are in hospital management of small and sick newborns, health-care associated neonatal infections, clinical trials and implementation of hospital based quality improvement measures. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Department of Infectious disease Epidemiology and Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellow. 

Helen undertook clinical paediatric training in Australia, London and Ireland before completing the Diploma in Tropical Medicine at Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, in October 2007. From 2007 - 2009 she worked clinically in The Gambia as a RCPCH-VSO Fellow. Thereafter she completed her clinical paediatric specialist training in Edinburgh where  she continues to work clinically as an Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh. She completed the Post-graduate Diploma in Paediatric Infectious Disease at Oxford University from 2010 - 2014 and is on the GMC specialist register as General Paediatrician with Special Interest in Paediatric Infectious Disease.

Currently Helen is in her 4th year of a PhD (part-time) focused on exploring the potential of early kangaroo mother care as an intervention for pre-stabilised preterm neonates <2000g in The Gambia.

Helen took a secondment from her Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship from April - September 2020 to support MRC Unit The Gambia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic at a leadership and clinical level.

Expertise includes clinical trial expertise, global newborn health, paediatric infectious diseases and implementation of hospital based interventions.


Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Centre for Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)
Antimicrobial Resistance Centre (AMR)


Helen is a distance learning tutor for LSHTM MsC Module IDM301 (Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases in Developing Countries) and previous faculty member on the LSHTM East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine (eaDTMH), contributing to Maternal & Newborn Health module 2018. She is a certified trainer on UK based paediatric resuscitation courses, including NLS, APLS and more recently is a master trainer on the Helping Babies Breathe Course in The Gambia.


Helen led the eKMC clinical trial in The Gambia from 2017 - 2020. This included a mixed methods feasibility study to understand clinical stability and outcomes for unstable  preterm neonates and perceptions of mothers and families towards newborn care and KMC. The eKMC clinical trial ( NCT03555981) was conducted from 2018 - 2020 and investigated the use of early KMC to improve clinical outcomes for neonates <2000g before stabilisation. She is Co-PI on a Grand Challenges Explorations funded pilot study to develop metagenomic approaches to detecting AMR carriage and invasive infection, embedded within the eKMC trial platform. 

Helen is also a co-investigator on several COVID related research projects at MRC Unit The Gambia, including COVID ILI surveillance projects and PaTS-COVID trial to investigate treatments to prevent and treat severe COVID pneumonia.

Helen regularly supervises medical students and MsC students to undertake ancillary projects connected with her research in The Gambia. 

Research Area
Child health
Clinical care
Clinical trials
Perinatal health
Neonatal health
Implementation research
Randomised controlled trials
Disease and Health Conditions
Infectious disease
Hospital acquired infection
The Gambia
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)