Prof Colm O’Donnell

  • Consultant Neonatologist, National Maternity Hospital (NMH)
  • Professor, School of Medicine, University College Dublin (UCD)


Professor O’Donnell graduated in Medicine from UCD in 1996 and worked in General Medicine and in Paediatrics in Ireland until 2001. He moved to Australia in 2001 where he was a Neonatal Fellow and Consultant at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, and was awarded a PhD by the University of Melbourne for his research on neonatal resuscitation. He returned to Ireland in 2006 to take up a position as a Consultant Neonatologist at NMH in 2006. He has previously been the Director of Clinical Research the National Children’s Research Centre, and a National Specialty Director in General Paediatrics at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He is a clinical researcher with specific interest in delivery room care of preterm infants, neonatal resuscitation, respiratory support of preterm infants, randomised clinical trials of intensive care interventions, evidence-based clinical practice and systematic reviews of the medical literature.

Colm was the chief investigator on 18 randomised trials including:

  • International multicentre trial of an investigational medicinal product (IMP) in preterm infants (EudraCT 2016-004198-41)
  • Multicentre trial of IMP in preterm infants in Ireland (Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2018; 103: F101-F106)
  • International multicentre trials of delivery room (BREL Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2016; 101:F397-F400)
  • Intensive care interventions (NORD JAMA Pediatrics 2018; 172: 664-669)


Study protocol for the POPART study – Prophylactic Oropharyngeal surfactant for Preterm infants; A Randomised Trial.
Murphy MC, Galligan M, Molloy B, Hussain R, Doran P, O’Donnell CPF. BMJ Open 2020; 10: e035994

Effect of needle aspiration of pneumothorax on subsequent chest drain insertion in newborns: a randomized clinical trial.
Murphy MC, Heiring C, Trevisanuto D, Doglioni N, Bohlin K, Blennow M, Stucchi I, Lista G, O’Donnell CPF. JAMA Pediatrics 2018; 172: 664-669

2% chlorhexidine – 70% isopropyl alcohol versus 10% povidone-iodine for insertion site cleaning before central line insertion in preterm infants: a randomised trial.
Kieran EA, O’Sullivan A, Miletin J, Twomey AR, Knowles SJ, O’Donnell CPF.  Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2018; 103: F101-F106

A randomised trial of placing preterm infants on their back or left side after birth.
Stenke E, Kieran EA, McCarthy LK, Dawson JA, Van Vonderen JJ, Kamlin COF, Davis PG, te Pas AB, O’Donnell CPF. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2016; 101: F397-F400