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Neonatal Research

The Neonatal Research Group consists of a team of experienced neonatologists, nurses, scientists and engineers whose aim is to improve the treatments and outcomes of ill newborn infants. The research team includes world leaders in the fields of advanced respiratory therapies, resuscitation, neonatal neurology (including neuroimaging and bedside neuroinvestigative tools) and congenital problems requiring surgery in early life.

Researchers use diverse research techniques from advanced molecular science and high-fidelity translational physiology recordings and imaging through to large randomized clinical trials and longitudinal developmental outcome studies to achieve our aims. Many of our techniques were pioneered at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and are not available anywhere else.

Our work deepens our understanding of the fundamental principles relating to critical times in childhood, specifically the transition from fetal to ex-utero life through to long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes. This work has lead to new advanced concepts and therapies that have improved the long-term outcomes of our most vulnerable population.

Group Leaders: 
Group Members: 
Dr Julia Gunn
Role: 
Neonatologist
Prof Colin Morley
Role: 
Esteemed Honorary Fellow
Prof Peter Dargaville
Role: 
Honorary Fellow
Elizabeth Perkins
Role: 
Research Nurse
Andre Tan
Role: 
Research Officer
Dr Risha Bhatia
Role: 
PhD Student
Dr Karen McCall
Role: 
MD Student
Dr John Mills
Role: 
Honorary Fellow (on-campus)
Don Black
Role: 
Honorary Fellow (off-campus)
Dr Omar Kamlin
Role: 
Honorary Fellow (on-campus)
Dr Louise Owen
Role: 
Honorary Fellow (on-campus)
Dr Georg Schmoelzer
Role: 
Honorary Fellow (off-campus)
Dr Kevin Wheeler
Role: 
Honorary Fellow (on-campus)
Dr Denise Harrison
Role: 
Honorary Fellow (off-campus)
Ilaria Milesi
Role: 
Observer
Dr Miria Natalie
Role: 
Visiting Academic
Dr Ema Zannin
Role: 
Observer
Elroy Zonneveld
Role: 
Honorary Fellow (off-campus)
George Dargaville
Role: 
Volunteer

Optimising lung protective ventilation
Neonatal research is a leading international group researching the support and protection of teh diseased newborn lung requiring mechanical ventilation, particularly advanced modalities such as high-frequency ventilation. They are recognised as world leaders in the field of physiological techniques for measuring and imaging regional lung function at the bedside, and thus, provide feedback to clinicians treating sick infants. This work has shown how important it is to carefully expand the sick infants lungs to a maximum level and then reduce the pressure to the lowest that will maintain optimal ventilation.

Improving the resuscitation of sick newborn infants at birth. 
A healthy start to life involves the successful transition from in-utero to ex-utero life. For some newborn infants this does not occur and they require resuscitation at birth. Members of our group have been undertaking a series of translational and clinical trials examining methods of improving newborn resuscitation. This work, funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council project grant in collaboration with Monash University and the Royal Women's Hospital, has improved the way neonatologists resuscitate sick newborn infants. 

NEST (Newborn Electrographic Seizure Trial)

This multi-centre RCT (PI Hunt) is nearing completion and investigated the potential benefits and harms of treating all electrographic seizures in a cohort of encephalopathic term newborns.

PAEAN Study

In this study, the value of erythropoietin as an add-on therapy to therapeutic hypothermia for term infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy is being investigated.

Other Studies include:

  • RESUS NHMRC trial
  • Molecular Lung Injury work
  • Novel nebulisations systems
  • Go with the Flow Study
  • Tempreature Control
  • Developmental Outcomes of Complex Conditions