Project information

Help support ground breaking research

Every year, 250 babies and infants die where no cause of death is found. It is incredibly hard to lose a child and for the death not to be fully explained or understood. You can help fund a pioneering new research project into sudden unexpected death in infancy at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

September 2018 - September 2021

Charity information: The Lullaby Trust

The Lullaby Trust logo
  • Need


    Infection has been recognised as a possible cause of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), but methods used to test for infection after death are outdated and the results are often unclear.

    The research, using new molecular methods will specifically look at the microbiome of Sudden Infant and Child Deaths to investigate whether specific types of bacteria are particularly associated with SUDI.


    A major goal of The Lullaby Trust is to understand why babies die suddenly and unexpectedly, so that better tests can be developed and deaths prevented. The study supervised by Professors Sebire and Klein will use diagnostic techniques in one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals to understand how bacteria could be related to SUDI and highlight whether certain risk factors can be identified.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Understand how and why babies die suddenly and unexpectedly, prevent these tragedies from happening


    » Investigate whether bacteria is linked to child death. To apply microbiome evaluation techniques to produce research findings
    » Insight into epidemiological risk factors. Compare microbiome of explained v unexplained deaths. Examine factors including age, gender, co-sleeping
    » Support new research, attract researchers to the SUDC field. Invest in PhD studentships to gain experience of of working with leading scientists

    What success will look like

    The PHD student will publish findings in key scientific journals. The project could lead to a breakthrough discovery which Professors Sebire and Klein will take forward

  • Impact


    The findings will be shared at our Annual Research Meeting of Grantholders. The final report will be submitted either within two months of the termination of the project or, exceptionally, at a later date agreed with The Lullaby Trust. A lay version of the final report will be shared on our website.


    There will be a robust recruitment process in order to attract the best candidate for the role.


    A lay version of the final report will be shared on our website and social media

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £117,153

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £60,147 Scientific assistance Full time PHD stipend
      £17,506 Full time PHD fees Fees
      £39,500 Consumables Sample prep,16S RNA gene sequencing, metagenomics

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    From our reserves £37,154 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The project will be carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.


    It is incredibly hard for parents to lose a child and for the death not to be fully explained or understood. The Lullaby Trust aims to one day provide an answer to these families and prevent sudden and unexpected deaths from happening in the future.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Lullaby Trust raises funds for research to unlock the mystery of Sudden Infant Death's. Since the charity was formed in 1971, we have raised £12 million for research. We have funded a wide variety of projects, which have informed our understanding of sudden infant death, allowing us to share safer sleep advice to parents based on scientific evidence. These combined efforts have resulted in an 80% decrease in the rate of unexplained deaths since our Back to Sleep campaign in 1991.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Professor Neil Sebire

    Lead of project

    Professor Nigel Klein

    Assistant project lead

    Full Time PHD Student

    Carrying out project

    Lucy Lyus

    The Policy and Research Manager at The Lullaby Trust