borne’s arctic challenge 2018

In April 2018, nine adventurers led by Alan Chambers MBE and Wayne Hoyle trekked to the North Pole to raise awareness and funds for research into premature birth.

The team trekked for up to 8 hours a day in freezing temperatures, pulling all of their equipment along with them in sledges. These incredible fundraisers truly went to the ends of the earth for Borne – and we couldn’t be more grateful!


The funds raised by these amazing adventurers and the generous supporters who donated to their challenge are fuelling a new research programme into the maternal immune system during pregnancy and its impact on premature birth. Following women who are pregnant for the first time throughout their pregnancy, the programme aims to:

  • Better understand the processes of pregnancy and preterm labour
  • Identify risk factors and develop predictive algorithms in order to screen women early in pregnancy

Thanks to this challenge, we have invested in the scientific talent to drive this programme forward.

A new Principal Investigator, Dr Victoria Male, will lead our maternal immunology research starting in May 2019. Victoria is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Viki says: “My early research was on how the immune cells in the uterus develop and gain the ability to recognise the placenta during the first few weeks of pregnancy. I am coming to Borne to look in more detail at how this impacts preterm birth: if we can identify what is going wrong, we can start to devise interventions to prevent preterm births from happening.”

We have appointed Nicola Ruiva as full-time Research and Lab Manager.

Nicola says: “I am fortunate to work with some brilliant clinicians and results-oriented scientists at Borne. As research manager, my role is to ensure that projects are well executed. I facilitate communications between clinicians and researchers, identify opportunities to strengthen the research and manage operations, teams and processes in the labs – getting us closer to our common goal: understanding and stopping premature labour.”

We have appointed Giulia Carlino as Research Technician. Giulia says: “As a research technician at Borne, I am responsible for processing samples that come into the lab, including blood, urine and placenta samples, which are collected throughout a woman’s pregnancy. In my time here, I have learned so much about the physiology of pregnancy and I hope I can make a contribution, big or small, towards advancing our understanding of premature birth.”

Our first full-time Research Midwife, Alanna Linkhorn, has also come on board to recruit more pregnant women into our studies. As well as contributing to our research, midwives are an important factor in improving care for mothers and babies, providing pregnant women and their families with support at a time when they need it most.


The film would not have been possible without the incredible support of Georgie Breitmeyer from KO Productions who not only trekked to the North Pole but also shot, directed and produced the film.

A huge thank you to Jake Turney and Will Douglas for the photography and capturing footage in Longyearbyen, and we are_ for their editing and post-production magic.

Vice’s Arctic Adventures Series

Borne Patron Will Greenwood MBE narrates the incredible journey to the North Pole in a three-part documentary produced by Vice Media for i-D’s Amuse channel.


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