Scientific Subcommittee

John Barks, M.D. is a Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan, and the Director of the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, where he has been on the faculty since 1990 Dr. Barks earned his M.D. from Queens University, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  He completed his training in Pediatrics at the I.W. Killam Hospital for Children in Halifax and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.  He trained in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the University of Michigan.  Dr. Barks’ clinical and laboratory research interests are in neonatal neurology, neuroprotection and mechanisms of neonatal brain injury Special clinical interests include hypothermia treatment of neonatal brain injury, neonatal seizures and imaging of the neonatal brain 

Frank van Bel MD, PhD, University Medical Center/Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, Utrecht, the Netherlands, was born in Tilburg, The Netherlands, August 12th, 1949. He was educated as a medical doctor at the Free University in Amsterdam and as a Pediatrician-Neonatologist at the State University in Leiden, The Netherlands. He worked a year as visiting research fellow at the CardioVascular Research Institute of the UCSF in San Francisco.  He has been appointed as full professor in Neonatology, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands in 1996. He published 256 international peer reviewed papers up to now, collaborated on several book chapters and has been invited on a regular base for lectures at international fora. His special interest is neonatal neurology, especially in Brain monitoring and neuroprotection and performs experimental as well as clinical research in this field. He supervised up to 28 PhD students. 

Robert Clancy is a native of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania who received his Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and chemistry from Georgetown University and medical doctor degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore Maryland. He performed his internship and residency training in general pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and pediatric neurology and clinical neurophysiology fellowships at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto California.  

He joined the faculty of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1981 and is now Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics. He is the founder and former director of the Pediatric Regional Epilepsy Program of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and holder of the Tristram C. Colket, Jr., Endowed Chair in Pediatric NeurologyHis clinical and research interests include neonatal EEG, neonatal seizures, neuroprotection, pediatric EEG and epilepsy. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and co-author of the three-volume collection: “Atlas of Electroencephalography” and the interactive DVDs “The Normal Neonatal EEG” and “The Abnormal Neonatal EEG and Seizures”. He currently lives in Wayne, Pennsylvania and enjoys doting on daughters Maggie, Maira, Caitlin, Kelly and Laura and granddaughters Fiona and Kira. 

Mohamed El-Dib is the Director of the Neonatal Neurocritical Care Program. He is a board-certified neonatologist with specialized training in the field of Neonatal Neurology and Brain Development. His field of expertise is bedside neuromonitoring. He leads a multidisciplinary group of neonatologists, specialized NICU nurses, pediatric neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, and pharmacists who work collaboratively to provide state-of-the-art care for those at risk for or with established brain injury. His focus of research has been cerebrovascular changes and prediction of outcome in premature infants, including neuroprotection for neonates with neonatal encephalopathy.

Alistair Jan GunnProfessor, Physiology and PaediatricsPaediatrician-scientist in the Department of Physiology at the University of Auckland, has conducted groundbreaking research into the mechanisms and treatment of asphyxial brain injury, identifying compromised fetuses in labour and prevention of life threatening events in infancy. His research helped to establish mild cooling as the first ever technique to reduce brain injury due to low oxygen levels at birth.  This simple and effective treatment is now standard care around the world. 

John Hartline is a neonatologist and a member of the Neonatal-Perinatal Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).   Now retired, he served the Academy as  the Editor-in-Chief of NeoReviewsPlus©, the peer-reviewed self-assessment exercise published monthly by the AAP in conjunction with, its online Neonatology state of the art review.  Dr Hartline was graduated from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and he completed fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, after which he practiced neonatology at the regional NICU in Kalamazoo, serving southwestern Michigan.  During that interval, he organized 31 consecutive annual symposia for Michigan colleagues and taught medical ethics courses for college and medical students.  He also served on the board and as President of the National Perinatal Association, a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to improving perinatal care.  At the AAP, Dr Hartline has served as the District V representative to the Neonatal-Perinatal Section executive committee, program committee member and chair of the Section’s annual Workshop, and chair of the Section’s committee on practice.  His other interests include the transition from training to academic or private practice, impact of the environment on fetal and neonatal development, quality improvement, and international perspectives in neonatal practice.   Dr. Hartline has ongoing interest in professionals’ adoption and/or rejection of clinical strategies as new or innovative medications or devices are introduced.

Lena Hellström-Westas, MD, PhD, is Professor of Perinatal Medicine at Uppsala University, and Senior Consultant in Neonatology at the Department of Neonatology, Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden. She is Medical Co-Director at the Karolinska NIDCAP center and Scientific advisor in Neonatology to the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. Lena Hellström-Westas received her medical degree at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm but received most of her clinical training at Lund University Hospital, Sweden. It was also in Lund the pioneering research on amplitude-integrated EEG monitoring started with focus on early prediction of outcome in asphyxiated infants and preterm infants, seizure detection, sleep and pain assessments

Renée Shellhaas, MD, MS is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics (Neurology Division) at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, MI.  She is a board certified child neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist. Her neonatal brain research focus is neonatal neuromonitoring and she has conducted studies which evaluate the roles of conventional EEG, amplitude-integrated EEG, near-infrared spectroscopy, and polysomnography for infants in the NICU.  She currently leads collaborative multicenter studies regarding neonatal seizures and early-life epilepsy, as well as sleep in infants with myelomeningocele.  Her clinical practice is centered around seizures and epilepsy in infants and children.

Robert White grew up in Michigan, attended the University of Notre Dame, and received his medical training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Since 1981, he has been Director of the Regional Newborn Program at Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Indiana. Dr. White has had a long-standing interest in the effect of the NICU environment on babies, families, and caregivers with many publications on that topic. He is chairman of the Consensus Committee that develops Recommended Standards for Newborn ICU Design, co-chair of the annual Gravens Conference on the Physical and Developmental Environment of the High-Risk Newborn, and chairman of the International Conference on Brain Monitoring and Neuroprotection in the Newborn. He has appointments at the University of Notre Dame and the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Dr. White is the American Academy of Pediatrics representative to and co-chair of the AAMI Committee on Incubators, the US representative to the International Electrotechnical Equipment Working Group for Paediatric Equipment, and a member of the Healthcare Guidelines Revision Committee.

Linda S de Vries trained as a pediatrician and neonatologist in the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital in Utrecht. Subsequently she also trained as a pediatric neurologist. From 1989 June 2019, she has worked as a Professor in Neonatal Neurology in the department of Neonatology in Utrecht. She is now an emeritus Professor at the Department of Neonatology in Utrecht and Leiden.

Her research focuses on prediction of neurodevelopmental outcome in high risk preterm and full-term newborns, using neurophysiology and neuro-imaging methods.  These at risk children were also seen by her in the follow-up clinic. She has a special interest in neonatal stroke and brain plasticity.


Topun Austin is a Consultant Neonatologist in Cambridge and Honorary Professor of Neurophotonics at University College London and is the lead in the Evelyn Perinatal Imaging Centre (EPIC), based at the Rosie Hospital, Cambridge. The research interests of the group are in the development of monitoring and imaging technologies to identify vulnerable infants at an early stage. Topun’s research interests are in brain injury and imaging in the newborn.

Manon Benders is qualified as a consulting neonatologist in the Wilhelmina Children’s hospital of the University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands, since 2006. Earlier she worked as a senior clinical lecturer at King’s college London and honary consultant in Neonatology at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in 2014. Currently she is chair of the Department of Neonatology, in the Wilhelmina Children’s hospital of the University Medical Center in Utrecht.

During her training she did a junior research fellowship (Prof. dr. F. Walther) in 1997 at UCLA, USA and a neonatal neurology research fellowship at the University of Geneva (Prof. dr. P.S. Hüppi) in 2006-2007.

Her research focus is on brain injury, development and predicting outcome using neonatal neuro-imaging. Advanced quantification techniques appear to give the opportunity to detect subtle differences, which are helpful in predicting neurodevelopmental outcome and evaluating neuroprotective/ neurodegenerative strategies to reduce brain injury, which is the other part of her research. In this research field she is supervising several PhD students and clinical research fellows, coordinating in different national and international research projects, in clinical as well as experimental studies.

James Boardman is a Professor of Neonatal Medicine and scientific director of the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory situated in the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Boardman researches the role of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging to investigate brain development of fetuses and neonates, factors that confer risk or resilience to perinatal brain injury, and the relationship between quantitative MR features and long-term functional outcome.

Lina Chalak is an Associate Professor in Pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Her clinical and translational research expertise is focused on neonatal brain injury with >50 highlighted publications related to Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) identification and therapies, the neurovascular unit and cerebral autoregulation. She has received multiple grant awards including NIH KL2 and K23 awards, a CTSA award and a Gerber Foundation grant.  

Currently funded research projects include: Studies of cerebrovascularautoregulationand neuronal biomarkers to segregate clinical injury severity, including mild encephalopathy, study of neuronal and systemic inflammatory serum biomarkers involved in neuronal injury pathways, studies of dysfunctionalautoregulationin newborns with moderate to severe HIE undergoing hypothermia therapy. Contributions to science are found at: 

Eugene Dempsey is a Consultant Neonatologist in the Cork University Maternity Hospital and Clinical Professor of Paediatrics in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University College Cork. He qualified from University College Cork in 1995, trained in Ireland before moving to McGill University, Montreal where he completed subspeciality training in Neonatology at the Royal Victoria Hospital and Montreal Children’s Hospital (2002-2005). He returned to Ireland and worked as a Consultant Neonatologist in Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital and Our Lady’s Hospital for Children Crumlin. He moved to his current post in Cork University Maternity Hospital in Nov 2007.

He is a PI in The INFANT Centre and also a PI in the HRB funded Mother and Baby Network. He was Chief Investigator for the HIP Trial, an investigator led multi centre, randomised, controlled trial of hypotension management in the extremely low gestational age newborn, funded by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Prof. Dempsey is a member of a number of National and International committees.  He is the recipient of several national and international research awards.  He currently lectures at both the RCSI and the RCPI. He has supervised a number of PhDs, in particular higher degrees addressing brain injury in both preterm and term infants.

Afif EL-Khuffash is a Consultant Neonatologist at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, and a Clinical Professor of Paediatrics at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. His primary clinical and research area is the assessment heart function in term and preterm neonates. He is the lead for neonatal echocardiography and heart function assessment in the neonatal intensive care unit in the Rotunda Hospital. He is also a board certified lactation consultant.

Prof EL-Khuffash completed a fellowship in neonatal cardiology in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. He has explored the use of novel technology in monitoring the cardiovascular function of preterm and sick term infants and was part devising the only neonatal echo training course in Canada. He co-devised the world’s first echo teaching website and mobile device app. Recently, Prof EL-Khuffash has assumed a leadership role at a European level in devising training guidelines for echocardiography by the Neonatologist. He is the lead author/editor of the Haemodynamic Module in the NOTE project, offering a new international online Masters level educational programme in neonatal medicine as collaboration between the European Society for Neonatology (ESN) and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Hannah Glass is a neonatal neurologist, founding co-director of the Neurointensive Care Nursery (NICN), and Director of Neonatal Critical Care Services at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. She is also the program director of the Neonatal Neurology Fellowship Program. Dr. Glass joined the Division of Child Neurology at UCSF in 2006. She earned a medical degree at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and completed pediatrics and child neurology training at the University of Calgary. She trained in Neonatal Neurology and earned a master’s degree in clinical research at UCSF.  

Dr. Glass specializes in brain focused care for children with neurological conditions diagnosed in the newborn period, including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, stroke and seizures, as well as brain injury following preterm birth. Dr. Glass has received funding from the NIH, March of Dimes, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation to conduct research that aims to improve developmental outcomes following newborn brain injury. 

Gorm Greisen is a Professor of Paediatrics and consultant neonatologist in Juliane Marie Centre and University of Copenhagen. Heading research in neonatal brain perfusion, oxygenation, brain injury, and neurodevelopmental deficits and perinatal growth. Primary investigator in the SafeBoosC project. Clinical coordinator of the NEOMUNE project. Steering committee member in four European research and educational projects. President for the European Society of Paediatric research and for the International Pediatric Research Foundation. Chairman of a regional research ethics committee. Chairman of The Danish Council of Ethics.

Terrie Inder is a dual boarded newborn medicine physician and child neurologist with a research focus in the newborn brain.  I also undertake clinical service within the neonatal intensive care unit. As all our research activities are clinical investigations, our studies and clinical care of high risk infants are tightly integrated. My research is targeted at understanding the timing, mechanisms and impact of cerebral injury and altered cerebral development in the human infant. Thus, my studies have focused on infants at high risk for brain injury including the prematurely-born infant, the sick term-born infant, and the infant with congenital heart disease. We aim to investigate means of accurate, early diagnosis of brain injury as well as developing treatments and preventive strategies to reduce subsequent disabilities. This research work has utilized technologies including near infrared spectroscopy, electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging. In 2013, I moved to become the Chair of a new Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at the Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston.

Neil Marlow is Professor of Neonatal Medicine at University College London and current Chair of the NHS England Neonatal Critical Care Clinical Reference Group.  He is the Chair of the ongoing NHS England Neonatal Transformation Review. He took up his appointment at UCL following 11 years as Professor of Neonatal Medicine at Nottingham and 7 years as Senior Lecturer in Bristol.  He is an Honorary Consultant in the University College Hospital Neonatal Service.  Neil provided neonatal advice to the DH Working Groups that reported on Neonatal Services in 2002 and to the Toolkit for Quality Neonatal Services published in 2008. His major academic interests have been in long-term outcomes following prematurity and he is the Director of the MRC-funded EPICure studies ( He runs a series of local studies into brain and cognitive development following very preterm birth and is a co-investigator on a range of mainly UK based cohort and randomised studies.  

Neil has been President of the British Association for Perinatal Medicine, Director of the UCL Institute for Women’s Health, President of the European Society for Paediatric Research and Chair of two European Academy of Paediatric Societies Meetings.  He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and is an Honorary Life Friend of Bliss, the UK-based charity for premature babies. He has recently been appointed to the executive of the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants.  

Eleanor Molloy is Professor and Chair of Paediatrics, Trinity College Dublin, and a Consultant Neonatologist & Paediatrician at the Coombe Women and Infant’s University Hospital, the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. Her research group aims to delineate perinatal and early neonatal inflammatory responses in health and disease. They have established longitudinal cohorts of infants with neonatal encephalopathy and preterm infants as well as neonatal controls in order to explore the role of early inflammatory changes and developmental outcomes.

Gunnar Naulaers graduated as MD at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven  (KUL) in 1990. He specialized in pediatrics and later in neonatology at the University Hospitals Leuven. He started as a staff member at the NICU University Hospitals Leuven in 1997 and became head of the NICU in 2007. The NICU of the University Hospitals Leuven currently has 35 NICU beds and 8 low care beds with a total of around 700 admissions each year. Patients are both preterm and term infants. There are special programs for congenital cardiopathies, ECMO, neonatal neurology, diaphragmatic hernia and other congenital malformations.  He received a Clinical Doctoral Grant from the Fund of Scientific Research, Flanders and graduated as PhD in 2003 with the manuscript Non-invasive measurement of the cerebral and splanchnic circulation by near-infrared spectroscopy. (Acta Biomedica Lovaniensia 295; 2003). As member of the European Neonatal Brain Club he further specialised in neonatal neurology. Research in near-infrared spectroscopy and EEG in preterm and term infants is ongoing in the unit with a special collaboration with ESAT (Engineering department) for signal analysis and automatisation of EEG and NIRS interpretation. Recent research is also focused on perinatal asphyxia with collaborators in Leuven and Kinshasa.  

He has published 193 international articles. He is currently the President of the College Mother-child, section neonates and member of the board of BVN (Belgian society of Neonatology), VVK (Flemish society of pediatrics) and SPE (Study center perinatal epidemiology). 

Ronit Pressler is Consultant in Clinical Neurophysiology and clinical lead of the Telemetry Unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital for children, London and Associated Professor at the UCL-Institute of Child Health. She qualified from Berlin University in 1992 and trained in paediatrics in Berlin, Germany and clinical neurophysiology at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, obtaining her MD in 1997 and her PhD in 2006.

Her research interests include neonatal seizures, particularly their diagnosis and treatment, as well as pre-surgical evaluation in children with complex epilepsy. Since 2015 she has been on the council of the British Society for Clinical Neurophysiology BSCN) and currently severs as international secretary. She is chair of the ILAE neonatal seizure classification task force as well as co-chair of the ILAE neonatal guidelines task force.

Nicola Robertson is a consultant neonatologist and lead of the Neonatal Neuroprotection Laboratory at UCL. Nikki has focused on neonatal brain injury and neuroprotection for the past 20 years. She has developed and refined the pre-clinical neuroprotection model to reflect clinical needs of babies in high and low resource settings. The pre-clinical model has assessed safety and efficacy of melatonin, erythropoietin, xenon, and argon as adjunct therapies in a pure hypoxia ischemia model. Nikki has recently developed an inflammation sensitized hypoxia ischemia model to test neuroprotective therapies appropriate for low resource settings.

In 2017-19, Nikki set up the neurocritical care and imaging service in Sidra Medicine, a greenfield site in Qatar. Recently Nikki has started to study human umbilical mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) as a potential paradigm shift in neuroprotective therapy. The aim is to take melatonin and MSC into clinical trials in NE babies in the next 2-5 years.

Janet Soul is a pediatric neurologist who directs the Fetal-Neonatal Neurology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.  Her research and clinical work are focused on Fetal and Neonatal Neurology.  She obtained her undergraduate and medical degrees at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, then moved to Boston to complete her pediatric residency, Child Neurology training in the Harvard Longwood Neurology Program, and a Neonatal Neurology Fellowship under the mentorship of Drs Joseph Volpe and Adre du Plessis.  The Fetal-Neonatal Neurology Program she leads provides specialized multidisciplinary care to fetuses, newborns and children whose neurologic disorders begin in utero or during the newborn period, and provides training for neurology, neonatology and pediatric fellows, residents and medical students.  She conducts clinic research focused on the pathophysiology, treatment and outcome of neonatal seizures and brain injury related to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in term newborns, congenital heart disease, and preterm birth, and has published her original research in this field and written chapters in the major pediatric neurology textbooks and handbooks. She has been funded by the NIH, March of Dimes, Hood Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, among others.  She was the PI of a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of bumetanide to treat neonatal seizures (NCT00830531), conducted at 4 hospitals in Boston, funded by an R01 from NINDS and other foundations.  Dr. Soul is a member of the multicenter prospective neonatal seizure registry study and leads and participates in several major societies and committees, including Chair of the QI and Research Committee of the newly formed Newborn Brain Society.

Cally Tann is Consultant Neonatologist at UCLH specialising in neonatal neurocritical care and neurodevelopmental follow-up. Her clinical and research interests focus on newborn health and early childhood outcomes in low resource settings, in particular neonatal encephalopathy. She has lived and worked in Uganda on studies on risk factors for, and outcomes from, newborn brain injury and developing early intervention strategies for infants affected by developmental disability.

Sudhin Thayyil is head of the Weston group (Academic Neonatology) and Director of the Centre for Perinatal Neuroscience at Imperial College London, and holds an NIHR Advanced Research Fellowship. He was previously a senior clinical lecturer (NIHR Clinician Scientist) and consultant neonatologist at University College London, and was the lead for magnetic resonance biomarker group (2011 to 2013).

Marianne Thoresen MD PhD, Professor of Physiology, University of Oslo, Norway and Professor of Neonatal Neuroscience, University of Bristol and honorary consultant neonatologist, St Michaels Hospital, Bristol, UK.  

In the early ninties, Marianne pioneered the laboratory research which showed that post-hypoxic cooling reduced brain injury in newborn pigs and rat pups. She had a key role in the CoolCap and TOBY randomised controlled trials which showed clinical benefit and in 2010 both NICE (UK) and ILCOR recommended therapeutic hypothermia (TH) for 3 days as a standard of care. In 2014, the TOBY trial showed the brain protection from TH continued until school age. After TH was recommended as standard of care Marianne works on implementing  more effective and safer delivery of therapeutic hypothermia, in the UK and around the world. Currently she develops algorithms for outcome prediction using clinical and biochemical variables, amplitude integrated EEG and MRI guiding parents and staff on prognosis  for groups as well as individual patients.

Sabine Van Huffel is a Professor of Engineering at the department of Electrical Engineering, KU Leuven, Belgium, where she is heading the Biomedical Data Processing Research Group.

Her research focus is the development of numerically reliable and robust algorithms for improving medical diagnostics in numerous areas such as epilepsy, stress and neonatal brain monitoring. In particular, she is well-known for her contributions to Total Least Squares (TLS) fitting and more recently for her expertise in matrix/tensor based biomedical multimodal and multichannel data processing combined with machine learning with applications in fusing ECG and EEG, EEG & functional MRI as well as multiparametric MRI.

Brian Walsh is a Consultant Neonatologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital. His research has focused on the neonatal brain with particular interests in neonatal encephalopathy, and the preterm brain’s development. His thesis, performed in CUMH focused on the early identification of neonatal encephalopathy and it’s severity, utilizing a combination of cord blood biomarkers and neurophysiological monitoring. Following this, Dr Walsh worked in Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he focused on the use of qualitative and quantitative MR imaging techniques to study the newborn brain. His recent work has included studying the MRI injury associated with mild neonatal encephalopathy,  while in preterm infants looking at the brain’s growth over the preterm period, and the association of certain medication exposure with altered brain volumes at term equivalent age.

Courtney Wusthoff is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Stanford University. She is the Neurology Director for the Neonatal Neuro-ICU at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and the Director of Neurocritical Care. Dr. Wusthoff’s clinical and research interests include neonatal and pediatric seizures and brain monitoring, and her work addresses the use of EEG to understand brain injury in critical illness, neurodevelopmental outcomes after seizures and neonatal neuroprotection.