Infant TBI and Genetics: A feasibility study

Contact: Dr Kelly Jones:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the single most common cause of death and disability in children worldwide, with enormous risks for subsequent cognitive deficits and behavioural problems associated with life-long implications, even after a mild injury.

Compared to older children, infants may be especially vulnerable to developmental impairment or delay after TBI due to increased physical and neurological vulnerability. However, the long-term effects of TBI in infants and factors that influence recovery are not well understood. In particular, almost nothing is known about the role of specific genetic contributions to recovery, as well as possible gene-gene and gene-environment interactions influencing children's development after TBI.

Before undertaking such a study, it is necessary to see whether it is possible to collect samples of saliva from infants aged less than 3-years-old that can be used for the examination of genetic makeup. This study also tested saliva collection processes to ensure cultural acceptability for Maori and non-Maori. The results from this study will guide future research involving the collection of saliva from infants and young children.



  • Dr Kelly Jones, NISAN, AUT University.


  • Professor Rob Kydd (University of Auckland)
  • Professor Valery Feigin (AUT University)
  • Professor  Suzanne Barker-Collo (University of Auckland)
  • Associate Professor Alice Theadom (AUT University)
  • Professor Shari Wade (Cincinnati Children's Hospital)

Funded by:

  • AUT University Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences contestable funding with support from NISAN
  • Co-funding by the University of Auckland, courtesy of Professor Rob Kydd