Sonika Agarwal, MBBS, MD, FAAN

female silhouette icon
Sonika Agarwal, MBBS, MD, FAAN, is a neurologist in the Division of Neurology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, specializing in fetal and neonatal neurology.

Areas of Expertise: Fetal neurology, Neonatal neurology, Neurocritical care, Acute N/IICU management and neurodevelopmental follow up across the lifespan in neonates with perinatal brain injury, Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), stroke, structural brain abnormalities and other high-risk perinatal events
Locations: Main Hospital; Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care


Dr. Agarwal a faculty member of the CHOP Fetal Neonatal Neurology Section/ Neuroscience Center, Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, Neonatal Neurocritical Care Program and Pediatric Stroke Program. She is a neurology consultant in CHOP neonatal, cardiac and pediatric intensive care units. Dr. Agarwal has dual training in maternal fetal medicine and child neurology/fetal neonatal neurology. Her areas of expertise include fetal neurology, neonatal neurology, acute N/IICU management and neurodevelopmental follow up across the lifespan in neonates with perinatal brain injury, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), stroke, structural brain abnormalities and other high-risk perinatal events.

Dr. Agarwal with her dual expertise as a maternal-fetal medicine and fetal neonatal neurology specialist has led the national collaborative work and is founder of the Fetal Neurology Consortium developed as an initiative under the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Transforming Leadership Program in 2020. The Fetal Neurology Consortium is comprised of eight members from fetal-neonatal neurology programs at US maternal-pediatric medical centers with the goal to develop applicable educational curricula to apply to multicenter research projects, educational partnerships and family resources for stakeholders. The collaborative work of this consortium led to formation of the Child Neurology Society Fetal Neurology Special Interest Group in June 2022 to foster an interdisciplinary collaborative network of pediatric neurology specialists.

Dr. Agarwal serves on the Board Of Directors at the Child Neurology Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to helping children and their families living with a neurologic condition receive the best quality of care — and achieve their highest quality of life — by providing information, education, and one-on-one support when it’s needed most.  She has leadership role as a Steering Committee Member to the Global Pregnancy Collaborative (CoLab), an international professional organization that explores improved global maternal care and adverse conditions confronted by the maternal/placental/fetal triad. She is also an Adjunct Member on Global Research on Developmental Disabilities Collaborators (GRDDC), a foremost culturally-diverse partnership for data driven optimal early childhood development. She also serves as Clinical Chair for the CHOP Family StEPS (Starting Early with Psychosocial Support) program, an initiative focused on developing a comprehensive and unified process for all families receiving fetal and early childhood care at CHOP.

She is an accomplished educator and has won several education awards at local institutions and nationally. She is Director of the Resident Fellow Board of the Journal of Child Neurology/Child Neurology Open and an Associate Editor in Fetal Neonatal Section. She is a peer reviewer for several journals and has presented and organized symposia at national/international conferences. She has also developed several podcasts for medical and family education. She has several active research and educational projects in fetal-neonatal neurology. She is also a Faculty Advisor for the AAN Transforming Leadership Program to mentor a diverse group of future leaders in neurology and a participant on the AAN Neurology on the Hill for advocacy initiatives.

Education and Training

Medical School

MD - Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, Varanasi, India

MBBS - Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, Varanasi, India


Obstetrics and Gynecology - Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, Varanasi, India


Pediatrics - Baylor College of Medicine & Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX


Child Neurology - Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX
NIH Fellowship, Department of Health Services Research and Policy Making - University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY

Board Certification

Child Neurology – American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Physician

Clinical Chair, CHOP Family StEPS Program

Associate Professor, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Departments and Services




Akash Virupakshaiah, Sara Reis Teixeira, Susan Sotardi, Sonika Agarwal: Frontonasal dysplasia: a diagnostic challenge with fetal MRI in twin pregnancy. Child Neurology Open. Dr. Ali Christy (eds.). Sage Journals, 10, March 2023.

Kirsten E. Craddock, Jillian L. McKee, Mark Fitzgerald, Rebecca Ahrens-Nicklas, Sonika Agarwal.: Neonatal hypertonia and progressive respiratory failure due to novel heterozygous mutation in ATAD1. Pediatric Neurology Dr. Yasmin Khakoo (eds.). Elsevier Inc, ISSN 0887-8994. 142: 56-57, March 2023.

Sonika Agarwal, Tomo Tarui, Virali Patel, Abigail Turner, Usha Nagaraj, Charu Venkatesan.: Prenatal Neurologic Diagnosis: Challenges in Neuroimaging, Prognostic Counseling, and Prediction of Neurodevelopmental Outcomes. Pediatric Neurology. Dr. Yasmin Khakoo (eds.). Elsevier B.V. 142: 60-67, May 2023.

Kumar N, Nomakuchi T, Vossough A, Leonard JMM, Dubbs H, Agarwal S: A Case of INPP5E-Related Joubert Syndrome: Connecting Evolving Phenotype With Novel Genotype. Pediatric Neurology. Dr. Yasmin Khakoo (eds.). 145: 112-114, August 2023.

Tarui T, Venkatesan C, Gano D, Lemmon ME, Mulkey SB, Pardo AC, Emrick L, Scher M, Agarwal S: Fetal Neurology Practice Survey: Current Practice and the Future Directions. Pediatric Neurology. Dr. Yasmin Khakoo (eds.). 145: 74-79, August 2023.


Joseph Vithayathil; Colbey Freeman; Marin Jacobwitz; Erin Simon Schwartz; Sonika Agarwal: Prolonged neurologic deficits with brain MRI changes following ECT in an adolescent with CACNA1a-related disorder; a case report. BMC Neurology BMC Neurol. 2022 Dec 9;22(1):466. doi: 10.1186/s12883-022-02994-7. PMID: 36494636 Springer Nature, 22(466): 3-6, December 2022.


Agarwal, S., Scher, M.S. Fetal-neonatal neurology program development: Continuum of care during the first 1000 days. J Perinatol (2021).

Agarwal S, Scher MS, Tilton A. Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitative Care: The Role of Home-Based Care and Family-Centered Approach. Indian Pediatr. 2021 Sep 15;58(9):813-814. PMID: 34508333.

Agarwal S. The Guiding Star: The Journey of an International Physician From Maternal Fetal Medicine to Fetal Neonatal Neurology. Child Neurol Open. 2021 Jul 29;8:2329048X211030740. doi: 10.1177/2329048X211030740. PMID: 34377734; PMCID: PMC8327000.

Tencer J, VirupakshaiahA, Campbell IM, Zackai EH, Zarnow D, Agarwal S. A Case of Prenatally Diagnosed Periventricular NodularHeterotopiainaSurvivingMalePatient with FLNA Mutation. J of Pediatric Neurology 2021.


Hardy D, Peterson C, Santi-vicini, M, Beslow L, Agarwal S. Acute fulminant cerebral edema: A case series at a large pediatric tertiary center. J of Pediatric Neurology, December 2020.

Karlin A, Vossough A, Agarwal S, Jacobwitz M, Virupakshaiah, Beslow L. Spinal cord infarct due to fibrocartilagenous embolism. Clinical Images, Neuropediatrics, October 2020.


Agarwal S. When and how to evaluate a child with possible cerebral palsy. In: Miller F, Bachrach S, Lennon N, O’Niel M (eds). Cerebral Palsy, Springer 2019.


Agarwal S, Keller JR, Nunneley CE, Muscal E, Braun MC, Srivaths P, Lotze TE. Therapeutic Plasma Exchange Use in Pediatric Neurologic Disorders at a Tertiary Care Center: A 10-Year Review. J Child Neurol. 2018; 33 (2):140-145.

Stowe RC, Kan P, Breen DB, Agarwal S. Mechanical thrombectomy for pediatric acute stroke and ventricular assist device. Brain Dev. 2018; 40 (1):81-84.


Stowe RC, Agarwal S. Novel PEX26 Mutation Causing Zellweger Syndrome Presenting as Feeding Intolerance and Hypotonia. Pediatr Neurol. 2017; 75: 96-97.


Agarwal S, Potocki L, Collier TR, Woodbury SL, Adesina AM, Jones J, Lotze TE. Utility of whole exome sequencing in evaluation of juvenile motor neuron disease. Muscle Nerve. 2016; 53(4)


Agarwal S. Emrick L. De Novo Mutations in Patients with Ataxic CP. Pediatr Neurol Briefs. 2015; 29(8):62.


Agarwal S, Lotze TE, Woodbury S. A 7-year-old child with chronic droopy eyes, weakness in head-neck control, and an abnormal gait. Seminars in Pediatric Neurology 2014; 21(2):111-13.


Sailors MH, Bodurka DC, Gning I, Ramondetta LM, Williams LA, Mendoza TR, Agarwal S, Sun CC, Cleeland CS.Validating the M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) for use in patients with ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 2013; 130(2):323-8.

Williams L, Agarwal S, Bodurka DC, Saleeba A, Sun CC, Cleeland CS: Capturing the patient's experience: using qualitative methods to develop a measure of patient-reported symptom burden: an example from ovarian Cancer; Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2013; 46(6):837-45.


Agarwal S, Schmeler KM, Ramirez PT, Sun CC, Nick A, Reis R, Brown J, Frumovitz M: Outcomes of patients undergoing radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer of high-risk histologic subtypes; International Journal of Gynecological Cancer 2011; 21(1): 123-7.


Agarwal S, Bodurka DC. Symptom research in gynecologic oncology: a review of available measurement tools; Gynecologic Oncology 2010; 119 (2): 384-9.


Roy KK, Agarwal R, Agarwal S, Kumar S, Malhotra N, Gopendru N. Recurrent vulval congenital lymphangioma circumscriptum--a case report and literature review. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2006; 16(2):930-4.

Roy KK, Agarwal S, Charu C, Sunesh K, Neena M. Labial adhesions in pubertal girls. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2006; 273(4):243-5.


Roy KK, Agarwal S, Bannerjee K, Kumar S, Chanana C. Gravid uterus in a incisional hernia leading to burst abdomen. The Internet J Gynecol Obstet. 2005; 5(1).

Mittal S, Agarwal S, Kumar S, Batra A. Comparison or oral versus vaginal misoprostol & continued use of misoprostol after mifepristone for early medical abortion. Indian J Med Res 2005; 122(2):132-6.


Agarwal S, Agarwal A. Blood pressure patterns in undernourished pregnant women in rural Varanasi. J Obstet Gynecol Ind. 2004; 54:251-54.

Agarwal S, Mittal S. A randomized prospective trial of intrauterine insemination versus timed intercourse in superovulated cycles with clomiphene. Indian J Med Res 2004; 120(6):519-22.


Agarwal S, Agarwal A, Bansal AK, Agarwal DK, Agarwal KN. Birth weight patterns in rural undernourished pregnant women. Indian Pediatrics 2002; 39(3):244-53.


Agarwal S, Agarwal A, Agarwal KN, Agarwal DK, Bansal A. Physical activity and pregnancy outcome in rural undernourished women. Indian Pediatrics 2001; 38(9):1017-22.

Agarwal S, Agarwal A, Agarwal KN, Agarwal DK, Bansal A. Physical activity and pregnancy outcome in rural undernourished women. Indian Pediatrics 2001; 38(9):1017-22.


Agarwal KN, Agarwal DK, Agarwal A, Rai S, Prasad R, Agarwal S, Singh TB. Impact of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) on maternal nutrition and birth weight in rural Varanasi. Indian Pediatrics 2000; 37(12):1321-7.


Agarwal DK, Agarwal A, Singh M, Satya K, Agarwal S, Agarwal KN. Pregnancy wastage in rural Varanasi: relationship with maternal nutrition and sociodemographic characteristics. Indian Pediatrics 1998; 35(11):1071-9.

Srivastava M, Agarwal DK, Agarwal A, Agarwal S, Agarwal KN. Nutritional status of rural non-pregnant non-lactating women in reproductive age. Indian Pediatrics 1998; 35(10):975-83.

 Agarwal DK, Agarwal KN, Satya K, Agarwal S. Weight gain during pregnancy- a key factor in perinatal and infant mortality. Indian Pediatrics 1998; 35(8):733-43.




Agarwal S, Lotze TE. Neurodegenerative Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. In: Pediatric demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system and their mimics, Waubant E, Lotze TE. Springer 2017.


Agarwal S. Brain development and neurodevelopmental processes: role of imaging techniques. In: The Growth: Infancy to Adolescence, Agarwal KN. CBS Publishers, 93-95, 2015.


Agarwal KN, Agarwal S. Instant Nutrition in Medical Practice. In: Instant Nutrition in Medical Practice. CBS Publishers, 2014.

Agarwal KN, Gupta V, Agarwal S. Effect of Maternal Iron Status on Placenta, Fetus & Newborn. In: Textbook of Pediatrics. Lokeshwar et al. 2014.


Agarwal S. Management of Nulliparous Prolapse, Evidence Based Clinical Practice Guidelines in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Delhi, India, 2005

Posters and Presentations


Tomo Tarui, Charu Venkatesan, Dawn Gano, Monica Lemmon, Sarah B. Mulkey, Andrea Pardo, Lisa Emrick, Mark Scher, Sonika Agarwal: Fetal Neurology Practice Survey. 14th International Newborn Brain Conference (INBBC) 2023 February 2023.

Renee DiCicco, Natalie Burrill, Haley Crane, Nahla Khalek, Juliana Gebb, Sonika Agarwal, Matthew Whitehead, Deborah Zarnow, Edward Oliver, Ashley Bach, Julie Moldenhauer: Two Cases of Prenatally Diagnosed Cri-du-Chat Syndrome and Associated MRI Findings. ACMG Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting 2023 March 2023.


Angie Ellison, Brenna Aredas, Andrea Duncan, Sonika Agarwal, Hannah Andersen, Marissa Anto, Jackie Arce, Dorene Balmer. Mia Benson, Kenisha Campbell, Marleny Franco, Bridget Godwin, Herodes Guzman, Jen Heimall, Nola Juste, Marissa Kilberg, Stephen Leff, Sonya Lopez, Nadea Mak, Ignacio Tapia, Lela Villegas, Nicole Washington, Brittany Waiters, Kate Wallis, Caroline Wilkes, Lisa Wray, Jackie Zedalis, Joe St Geme : Doing the Work To Create A Diverse, Equitable and Anti-racist Environment in Academic Medicine. Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting 2022, Denver, Colorado April 2022.

Virali Patel, Tomo Tarui, Charulata Venkatesan, Sonika Agarwal: Prenatal Neurologic Diagnosis: Challenges in Neuroimaging, Prognostic Counseling, and Prediction of Neurodevelopmental Outcomes. Child Neurology Society Annual Meeting 2022 October 2022.


Natalie Burrill, Beverly Coleman, Sonika Agarwal, Julie Moldenhauer, Nahla Khalek.: Prenatal Diagnosis of Two Co-Occurring Genetic Conditions: FOGX1 Contiguous Deletion and Becker Muscular Dystrophy. American College Medical Genetics Annual Conference March 2021.


Balasa A, Shukla N, Rathore G, Agarwal S, Lotze TE. Rituximab for autoimmune disorders of nerve and muscle hyperexcitability. CNS 2017.

Agarwal S, Keller J, Clark GD, Emrick LT. Fetal central nervous system malformations: a ten year review of prenatal consultations at a tertiary care center. AAN 2017.

Keller J, Clark GD, Emrick LT, Agarwal S. Malformations of cortical development: a ten year review of prenatal consultations at a tertiary care center. AAN 2017.

Keller J, Nunneley C, Srivaths P, Braun MC, Muscal E, Lotze TE, Agarwal S. A ten year profile of plasmapheresis use in pediatric neurologic disorders at a tertiary care center. AAN 2017.


Agarwal S, Keller J, Clark GD, Emrick LT. Fetal central nervous system malformations: a ten year review of prenatal consultations at a tertiary care center. CNS 2016 (Award).

Agarwal S, Clark GD, Emrick LT. Rhombencephalosynapses and neurodevelopmental outcomes: a review of 4 cases. CNS 2016.

Agarwal S, Williams JM, Demmler G, Emrick LT. Isolated neurological phenotype in congenital CMV: an under recognized and characterized cohort. CNS 2016.


Hainlen M, Agarwal S, Chao HT, Houck K, Lee J, Wolf V. Severe neurotoxicity following nelarabine administration in a pediatric patient. CNS 2015.

Agarwal S, Lotze TE, Potocki L, Woodbury S, Adesina AM, Collier TR. Utility of whole exome sequencing in evaluation of juvenile onset motor neuron disease. AAN 2015.

Collier TR, Agarwal S, Lotze TE, Potocki L, Woodbury S, Adesina AM. The role of electrodiagnostic and genetic testing in a case of juvenile amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. AANEM 2015.

Invited Lectures


Agarwal S. Perinatal/Fetal Surgery Conference Guest Speaker, October 2018 (Fetal Ventriculomegaly).

Agarwal S. Faculty mentor for MFM fellow at Fetal Surgery conference, May 2018 (Neurologic complications in TTTS).

Awards and Honors

2023, Fellow, American Academy of Neurology
2023, Selected for American Academy of Neurology Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum
2021, 2022, Participant in Neurology on the Hill (American Academy of Neurology)
2021, American Academy of Neurology Transforming Leadership Program
2020, Resident Faculty Teaching Award, Neurology, University of Pennsylvania
2020, A.B Baker Teaching Award, American Academy of Neurology
2017-2018, Annual Faculty Best Educator Award, Thomas Jefferson University, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program
2016, Outstanding Junior Member Award, Child Neurology Society Meeting, USA
2001, 2002, 2004, Best Paper Award, Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of India
1995, Best Research Paper, Dr. U Sharma Gold Medal
1992, Honors/First Position, Professional III, MBBS
1992, Pfizer Gold Medal & University Prize, First Rank/Honors MBBS
1992, Best Intern, CK Wadhwa Memorial Award
1987-1991, Honors in Anatomy, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Forensic Medicine, Community Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology
1988-1991, First Position, Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, India
1991, First Position, Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, India
1991, Highest marks in Surgery, Association of Surgeons of India Medal & Cash Prize
1991, IMS Alumni Association Gold Medal & Cash prize and B Wadhwa Memorial Gold Medal
1991, Banaras Hindu University Doctor's Association Award, BHU Gold Medal
1990, Best student of the year award, MBBS

Editorial and Academic Positions

Editorial positions

2023-Present Ad hoc Reviewer, Neurology

2023-Present Editorial Board Member, Pediatric Neurology

2022-present, Adhoc reviewer, Pediatric Neurology

2022-present, Director of the Residents and Fellows Board of the Journal of Child Neurology/Child Neurology Open

2021, Reviewer for Abstracts, American Academy of Neurology Annual Conference 2021

2021-present, Associate Editor, Fetal and Neonatal Neurology Section, Sage Neuroscience & Neurology/Child Neurology Open

2020, Reviewer for abstracts submitted for Pediatric Academic Society Conference May 2020, Philadelphia, USA

2020-present, Reviewer, Arch Diseases Pediatrics

2019-present, Peer-Reviewer, Child Neurology Open

2016-present, Reviewer, Journal of Child Neurology

2005-present, Reviewer, Indian Pediatrics

Leadership and Memberships

Memberships in professional organizations

2023-Present, American Academy of Neurology (Vice Chair, Child Neurology Section)
2023-Present, Child Neurology Society (Scientific Selection & Planning Committee. International Affairs Committee.)
2022-Present, Member, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia IDEA Council and IDEA Council Recruitment and Retention Subcommittee
2022-Present, Co-Diversity officer, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council, CHOP


2021-present, Steering Committee Member, Global Pregnancy Collaborative (CoLab)
2022-present, Adjunct Member, Global Research on Developmental Disabilities Collaborators (GRDDC)
2001-present,  Executive Board Member, Association of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, India
2000-present, Association of Obstetrics & Gynecology, India, Member, Life Member
2000-present, Fellow of the International Medical Science Academy
1996-present, National Academy of Medical Sciences, India


2022-present, Director of the Residents and Fellows Board of the Journal of Child Neurology/Child Neurology Open
2021-present, Board of Director at the Child Neurology Foundation
2013-present, Child Neurology Society
2017-present, International Committee, Child Neurology Society
2013-present, American Academy of Neurology