Research Activities

Research Programs

Our division faculty have research focused on neuroscience, medical education, global neonatal-perinatal health, and ethics. 

Neuroscience. Current NIH-funded bench research programs are focused on neurodevelopment, neonatal neuroprotection, and biomarker development using state of the art techniques. We use a combination of in vitro platforms and animal models, including rodents, ferrets and non-human primates in our work. Our work in erythropoietin (Epo) neuroprotection has translated from bench to bedside, and we now lead 2 NIH-funded multicenter randomized controlled trials of infants at high risk of neurodevelopmental impairment. The first, titled “Preterm Epo Neuroprotection trial” (PENUT Trial, NCT01378273) is testing the efficacy of Epo neuroprotection in 941 extremely low gestational age neonates. Enrollment is complete, and neurodevelopmental assessments at 2 years of age are ongoing. The second trial, “High Dose Epo for Asphyxia and Encephalopathy” (HEAL, NCT# 02811263) will enroll and randomize 500 term neonates with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, to evaluate neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years of age. Enrollment is currently ongoing.

With a goal of translating and disseminating neuroscience research to the medical community, the Division of Neonatology organized a Brain Research Advancement in Neonatology (BRAIN) Program. The mission of BRAIN is to improve neonatal neurodevelopmental outcomes through neuroprotection-focused research and clinical application. the program's vision is to provide evidence-based national leadership in neonatal neurologic care and scholarship. The specific aims of the BRAIN Program are to 1) Improve neonatal neurodevelopmental outcomes through evidence-based research, 2) Investigate new neuroprotective therapies, 3) Support clinical evaluation and application of evidence-based therapeutics, and 4) Promote educational scholarship in the next generation of neonatal care providers.

Medical Education. In 2014, the Division of Neonatology joined an elite group of neonatal divisions who own and operate a dedicated neonatal simulation program. The Neonatal Education and Simulation-based Training (NEST) Program sets the UW and Seattle Children’s Division of Neonatology apart and highlights the Division’s dedication to high-quality, evidence-based education. The mission of the NEST Program is to improve neonatal outcomes through advanced technology-enhanced training and simulation research.  The program’s vision is to provide international leadership in neonatal education, simulation-based training and scholarship. The specific aims of the NEST Program are: 1. Improve neonatal outcomes through individual and interprofessional education, 2. leverage emerging technologies for simulation-based training and research, 3. define optimal processes for neonatal resuscitation, 4. investigate methods to enhance the acquisition and retention of technical and behavioral skills, and 5. promote educational scholarship in the next generation of neonatal care providers. Current projects include: ‘boot camps’ for residents and fellows, neonatal resuscitation training, neonatal procedural skills training, development of a computer-based perinatal counseling simulator, and virtual reality neonatal disaster training. The NEST program works to improve the care of neonates in the Seattle region by conducting educational outreach with community providers and neonatal transport teams.

Global neonatal-perinatal health. Research in this area focuses on the generation, integration, and implementation of evidence-based policy, research and program aspects of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition, globally and in building local country capacity. Our faculty include members who are widely regarded as a global leaders in the field of maternal, newborn child health and nutrition (MNCHN) who have partnered with a broad cross-section of stakeholders including United Nations agencies such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF, private foundations, academic centers and non-governmental organizations.

Ethics. A burgeoning area of research in our division is in the area of medical decision-making, with a special focus on parents as decision makers for their sick infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Research Program and Lab Websites

For more information on this specialty, please visit the Neonatology webpage.