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”Sunny” Juul is Division Chief of Neonatology at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington and is coming to Melbourne for her sabbatical. Sunny’s goal is to identify new therapeutic approaches to neonatal brain injury, determine whether they are safe and effective, and bring these new treatments from the laboratory to the bedside. Using a variety of approaches and several animal models, she has worked to optimize erythropoietin (EPO) treatment in the developing brain at risk for injury. This work includes studies of pharmacokinetics, drug dosing, and duration of therapy as well as identifying mechanisms of Epo neuroprotection and possible synergistic treatments.

She is currently Principal Investigator of a multicenter randomized controlled trial to determine whether Epo is a safe and effective neuroprotectant for extremely preterm infants. The study, Preterm Epo Neuroprotection (PENUT) is funded by NINDS, and has enrolled 940 babies born between 24-0/7 and 26-6/7 weeks of gestation. Sunny is also multi-PI with Dr. Yvonne Wu (UCSF) on the High-Dose Erythropoietin for Asphyxia and Encephalopathy (HEAL) Trial, a randomized controlled trial of Epo neuroprotection for 500 term infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This multicenter trial will determine whether Epo in addition to therapeutic cooling will improve the outcome for infants with HIE.


Neena is Professor of Neonatal Medicine from the Imperial College London and is also Consultant at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, immediate Past-President of the UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and President-Elect of the Medical Women’s Federation.

Neena qualified from the University of Edinburgh and trained at University College Hospital London and the University of Liverpool. She has made many contributions to healthcare and health services. Her previous national roles include President of the UK Neonatal Society, President of the Academic Paediatrics Association of Great Britain and Ireland, Chair of the NHS England Infant, Children and Young People Patient Safety Expert Group and Chair of the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee.

Neena is a front-line clinician, and leads a multidisciplinary neonatal research group addressing the early life determinants of life-long health. She established the National Neonatal Research Database, a unique, prize-winning, national and international resource of data on all admissions to UK neonatal units that is used for research, health services evaluation, quality improvement, audit, and surveillance. She is extensively published in peer-reviewed journals and has authored many chapters in textbooks, commentaries and reviews. She also directs the well-known “Neonatal Update: the science of newborn care”, a week-long conference held in London in November each year, that attracts a capacity international audience.


Christian Poets is Professor of Paediatrics at Tuebingen University in Germany. He graduated from Hannover Medical School’s Department of Paediatric Pulmonology and Neonatology in June 1986 where he received his medical and scientific training. Christian also studied at the Department of Paediatric Respiratory Physiology, National Heart and Lung Institute, London, UK from 1989 to 1991.

In 1994 he became consultant paediatrician in charge of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Paediatric Sleep Lab in Hannover. He was appointed Department Head of Neonatology at Tuebingen University in 2002. Since 2007, he is also chairman of the newly founded Centre for Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Malformations at Tuebingen University Hospital. He served as president of the Society for Neonatology and Paediatric Intensive Care from 2006-2010. In addition, he has a special interest in medical ethics, is a member of the Institutional Review Board at Tuebingen University Hospital and chairman of the hospital’s clinical ethics committee since 2006. His main research interests lie in the control of breathing, SIDS, oxygen administration and monitoring, innate immunity, preterm infant nutrition, neonatal clinical studies and randomized controlled trials.

He has served as coordinator, and/or is co-PI, of large RCTs on the effects of inhaled steroids and automated oxygen control, respectively, on neurologically intact survival and BPD prevention in extremely low gestational age infants. He was/is a steering committee member of the Canadian Oxygen Trial (COT), the “Effects of Transfusion Thresholds on Neurocognitive Outcome of Extremely Low Birth-Weight-Infants” (ETTNO) trial and the “Effect of Allopurinol in addition to hypothermia for hypoxic-ischemic Brain Injury on Neurocognitive Outcome“ (Albino) trial. He has co-authored over 330 articles cited in PubMed and has contributed to over 100 review articles. He is a member of the German Sleep Research Society and the Society of Neonatology and Paediatric Intensive Care.


Richard A. Polin is the William T. Speck Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons in the City of New York and has been Director of the Division of Neonatology at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian since 1998.

After earning BA and MD degrees from Temple University, Richard completed a pediatric internship and residency at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and a pediatric residency and neonatology fellowship at Babies’ Hospital in New York. He was Pediatric Chief Resident there from 1974–75 and Rustin McIntosh Fellow in Pediatrics from 1975–77.

An Associate Pediatrician at Children’s Hospital from 1975–1977, he was named Outstanding Pediatric Attending for 1976–1977. He won similar honors for 1978-79 and 1982–83 at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he held the positions of Director of the Housestaff Training Program, Assistant and Associate Physician-in-Chief, Academic Coordinator of Pediatrics, and Acting Director, Neonatology. Temple University’s Medical School named Richard its outstanding alumnus in 1995. In 1998, Richard returned to Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NY- Presbyterian as the Director of Neonatology and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. In 2005 he received the Physician of the Year Award both from the New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center and the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, Division of Nursing. In the spring of 2006 Richard received the National Neonatal Education Award from the AAP’s Section on Perinatal Pediatrics and in 2017 he was inducted into the “Legends Hall of Fame”.

Richard has published over 200 original papers, 20 books (including Fetal and Neonatal Physiology, Workbook in Practical Neonatology, Pediatric Secrets and Fetal and Neonatal Secrets,) and more than 200 abstracts. Richard is the Chair of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network executive steering committee, and he is the immediate past chair of the Sub-board of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.


Roger is the H. Wallace Professor of Neonatology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and is President of the Vermont Oxford Network and Director of Network Clinical Trials. Roger is an authority in evidence-based medicine and randomized clinical trials. He is the coordinating editor of Cochrane Neonatal, part of the Cochrane Collaboration, and author or co-author of the Cochrane Reviews of surfactant therapy. He is the author of numerous peer reviewed articles and book chapters on the subject of surfactant replacement therapy and evidence-based medicine.

A native of New York City, Roger graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Genetics and History of Science in 1975. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School in 1978. He returned to New York City to complete his residency training in Pediatrics at Bellevue Hospital/New York University Medical Center in 1981. After 2 years with the Public Health Service, Roger returned to academic training. He completed the post graduate fellowship in Neonatal Perinatal Medicine at the University of Vermont in 1983 and has remained in Vermont ever since. When otherwise unoccupied, he resides in Hinesburg, Vermont with his wife and two sons.


Michael is the Director of Paediatric Cardiology at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Victoria. Michael trained at the leading Congenital Cardiac centres in the world including Great Ormond St (London), Royal Brompton Hospital (London), Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto) and The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

His area of sub-specialty interest is in non-invasive imaging (echocardiography and MRI). Michael is the Heart Research Group Leader at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute where the group has significant experience and ongoing studies in molecular cardiology, in vitro cardiac assessment, and also invasive assessments of cardiac function.


Stuart is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Director of the Ritchie Centre at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Monash University. He is a fetal and neonatal physiologist whose research focuses on fetal and neonatal lung development and its transformation into a functional gas-exchange organ at birth. Specifically, his research focuses on:

  • factors regulating normal and abnormal growth of the lung,
  • the cardiovascular and respiratory transition at birth and
  • how assisted ventilation of very preterm infants can be improved to avoid injury to the lungs and brain.

Stuart also leads a multi-disciplinary research team that has pioneered the use of phase-contrast X-ray imaging to image the entry of air into the lungs at birth.


Martin is a Senior Staff Specialist in Neonatology at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and a Professor of Neonatology at the University of Sydney, Australia. With his Sydney based research group, he has led the development of neonatal haemodynamics and point of care ultrasound in the neonatal unit for the past 25 years. Martin has published over 100 peer reviewed articles with his research centering around the physiology and transitional circulation of both term and preterm infants. Martin has particular interests in the patent ductus arteriosus, management of hypotension and pulmonary hypertension, umbilical cord clamping time/resuscitation and point of care ultrasound training and accreditation.


Chris is a neonatologist at Kidz First, Children’s Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand and Senior Lecturer at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland. He trained in Auckland and Melbourne, and was awarded a PhD in 2012 for studies relating to the late effects of antenatal corticosteroids. His research focuses on early life interventions for improving long-term metabolic, neurodevelopmental and respiratory health outcomes.


Brett is a Consultant Neonatologist at the Women’s and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The University of Melbourne. Brett designs and conducts clinical trials to improve outcomes for newborn infants, and has led or supervised three large randomised trials of nasal high-flow, including in non-tertiary centres.


Suzie is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow (Level B), Deputy Director of The Ritchie Centre and leads the Neurodevelopment Theme at the Centre. Suzie’s specialist expertise is in neurodevelopmental physiology, and her research group combines experimental animal models of the primary causes of neonatal brain injury to better understand the progression of neuropathology, with clinical studies focused on detection and inhibition of perinatal brain injury. Suzie’s experimental and clinical studies are directed towards understanding the mechanisms that contribute to perinatal brain injury and functional deficits, so that targeted neuroprotective therapies can be implemented. Suzie is also an advocate for the role of women in science, and a founding member of the NHMRC’s Women in Health Science Committee.


Louise completed her specialist medical training in the UK and relocated to the Women’s in Melbourne in 2006. Louise divides her time between her work as a Neonatal Consultant in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at the Women’s and her research. Louise is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship and her research focuses on newborn resuscitation and breathing support for premature babies. Her work has contributed to improvements in the care and outcomes for premature babies born at the Women’s and across Australia.


Alicia is a paediatric physiotherapist and international leader in early detection of motor impairments and early intervention for infants at high risk of developmental impairments. Alicia works clinically in the neonatal intensive care unit and follow-up clinic at the Women’s in Melbourne, is a Research Fellow in Paediatric Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne and leads the motor team within the Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS) group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

Alicia’s research on early neurodevelopmental assessments and intervention for preterm children has had worldwide impact with a Cochrane review of early developmental interventions for preterm infants which was originally published in 2007 and updates in 2012 and 2015 informing many subsequent randomised controlled trials of early intervention. She is currently involved in the world’s largest trial of early intervention for infants with cerebral palsy, funded by the NHMRC. Alicia sits on the Executive of the CRE in Newborn Medicine, as well as being the co-chair of the Policy & Practice Translation Subcommittee.


Stephen is a clinician-scientist (specialist obstetrician) at The Mercy Hospital for Women and The University of Melbourne. He is strongly focused on translational research – developing new diagnostics and treatments to tackle major complications that threaten the lives of mothers and babies.

His team has taken 5-6 laboratory discoveries to international clinical trials running in United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand and across Australia. These include drug treatments to treat ectopic pregnancy and preeclampsia and diagnostics to prevent stillbirth.

He has been awarded three NHMRC Achievement awards, has received 11 NHMRC project grants since 2011, holds an NHMRC Practitioners Fellowship and has published over 140 papers.


Karli is a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Her research interests involve child development, parenting, parent and child mental health, and early intervention for vulnerable populations. Karli is a member of the Centre for Research Excellence in Newborn Medicine, and an Honorary Research Fellow with the VIBeS team at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the Newborn Research team at the Women’s and the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne.


Euan is a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist by training. He is the Carl Wood Professor and Head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University. Euan leads the Perinatal Medicine Research Group at The Ritchie Centre with a focus on maternal and fetal health, amnion cell biology, perinatal epidemiology and patient safety. He is also the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Safer Care Victoria, Victoria’s lead agency for quality and safety improvement in healthcare. In this role, he leads Victoria’s quality improvement activities for all 84 health services across all domains of healthcare.

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