The Division of Newborn Medicine at the Washington University Department of Pediatrics is comprised of basic and clinical science investigators, clinician educators, neonatal-perinatal fellows, outstanding nurses, excellent advanced practice nurses and exceptional administrative staff.
The research within the division can be divided into several areas: regulation of newborn brain development and injury, necrotizing enterocolitis, the impact of the human microbiome on neonatal and long-term disease risk, genetic contribution to neonatal and infant respiratory disease, the genomic basis of birth defects and clinical investigations that focus on improving clinical quality, patient safety and innovative clinical educational strategies.
The division currently maintains less than $4 million in annual direct cost extramural funding from a variety of sources, including the National Institutes of Health. Using multidimensional educational strategies, including simulation, problem based learning, manuscript review, peer and mentored learning and multidisciplinary conferences, the division supports a fellowship program of 18 fellows, active participation in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Pediatric Residency program, medical student teaching, as well as summer programs for medical, college and high school students.
The clinical services of the division are anchored in the 125-bed level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) that provides care to newborn infants born at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, as well as those transported by the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Transport Team from all over the U.S. and abroad. These neonatal services are coordinated with the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Ultrasound in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine, including a joint service for the opioid use disorders in pregnancy for mothers and their infants. We offer a full range of pediatric medical and surgical subspecialty services including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and active lung and heart transplant programs, primary care pediatricians, an active Fetal Care Center and an infant follow-up clinic at SLCH.
Division faculty, fellows and staff have made a variety of important clinical observations, including the description, diagnosis and successful treatment by lung transplantation of infants with genetic disruption of surfactant metabolism (for example, surfactant protein-B or ABCA3 deficiency), an atlas for normal and abnormal development of the human infant brain based on MRI imaging of premature and term newborns, identification of novel therapeutic targets for treatment of necrotizing enterocolitis, discovery of novel genomic causes of birth defects, the contribution of autophagy to the pathogenesis of alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, innovative evaluation and treatment of neonatal seizures through an active Neonatal Neurocritical Care Service in collaboration with pediatric neurology, pediatric neurosurgery and pediatric neuroradiology and description of neonatal enteric microbiome signatures associated with increased risk for both neonatal morbidities (for example, necrotizing enterocolitis and bronchopulmonary dysplasia) and adverse, long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes.