Neonatology Research

The Division of Neonatology has a robust research program that focuses on several key areas: understanding the fundamental biology of preterm birth and its complications, rigorously testing new therapeutics in newborns through expertly designed clinical trials, developing new knowledge about risk factors for poor outcomes in sick neonates through rigorous observational studies, and developing new understanding of the social and medical impact of the organization and economy of healthcare delivery structures on maternal and child health. In addition, the Division also serves as a national leader in the development and conduct of multicenter and single-center clinical trials. As a member of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network, the Division is at the forefront of academic centers in clinical and epidemiological research in the U.S. 

The Division has recognized strength in neonatal follow-up and outcomes research; laboratory research into the fetal origins of adult disease, the causes of preterm birth and fetal growth restriction, inflammatory lung diseases, and drug discovery for rare genetic diseases; and research in neonatal infectious disease, antibiotic stewardship and the microbiome and its impact of long term health. 

In collaboration with CHOP’s Research Institute, we oversee the work of more than 150 investigators pursuing hundreds of active research projects.

Basic and Translational Research Team

Our current areas of research in neonatology-related topics include


  • Factors involved in adverse events during tracheal intubation in the NICU
  • Fetal lung development
  • Lung antioxidant defenses
  • Lung disease in premature infants
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia and complex lung lesions
  • Role of inflammation in lung disease
  • Pulmonary function testing in the neonate
  • Hormone regulation of fetal lung development
  • Use of inhaled nitric oxide in premature infants
  • Hormone regulation of fetal lung development
  • The role and regulation of heme oxygenase in lung antioxidant defenses


  • Effect of inflammation and oxidative stress on the neonatal brain
  • Neuroimaging and neurodevelopmental outcomes
  • Biomarkers and neonatal brain injury
  • Management of myelomeningocele (the most severe form of spina bifida) 
  • Maternal drug use and neonatal neurodevelopmental outcomes


  • Circadian gene improvement of cellular bioenergetics; preconditioning for protection against oxidative stress
  • Oxidative stress mediated gene regulation
  • Fetal origins of adult disease
  • Surfactant protein processing and physiology
  • Biological chemistry and molecular mechanisms of action in nitric oxide
  • Intrauterine growth retardation and insulin resistance
  • Effect of maternal obesity on the fetus
  • Mitochondrial biology
  • Biomarkers of neonatal sepsis
  • Serum biomarkers in necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Neonatal pharmacokinetics
  • Cell motility and proliferation; process of inflammation and fibrosis following tissue injury 
  • Surfactant protein processing and physiology 
  • Surfactant clinical trials — booster prophylaxis and rescue therapy 


  • Development of the conotruncal region of the heart


  • Neonatal health services research 
  • Impact of neonatal outreach on referral patterns 
  • Multicenter trials to assess safety and efficacy of neonatal therapies 
  • Simulation strategies for neonatal education 
  • Community satisfaction of neonatal Level 4 care
  • Recent publications

Please visit CHOP's Research Institute website for more information. 

You Might Also Like
Marcus Davey, researcher, in the lab

Transforming Care for Extremely Premature Babies

CHOP researchers design a unique womb-like, fluid-filled environment to bridge critical time from mother’s womb to outside world.

Child in hospital laying down

Research on ECMO

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is advancing extracorporeal life support technologies for the most critically ill children.

Mom holding infant

Support for Short Bowel Syndrome Beyond the N/IICU

This case study highlights the care of an infant with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) that led to short bowel syndrome (SBS), one of the most devastating complications of prematurity.