Newborn Brain Society

Congratulations to the Winners of the NBS 2023-2024 Early Career Grant

The Newborn Brain Society is thrilled to announce the selection of awardees for the Early Career Award made by the Quality Improvement and Research Committee.

Initiated in 2022 to support investigators with a focus on the fetal and neonatal brain, the awardees will receive $10,000 each for their projects that will begin in January 2024.

Paolo Montaldo, MD, PhD

Neonatal Neurology Post-doctoral Fellow
Centre for Perinatal Neuroscience
Imperial College London, United Kingdom
Department of Women’s and Children’s Health and General and Specialized Surgery University of Campania “L. Vanvitelli”, Naples, Italy.

Project: Real-time continuous glucose monitoring in infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Dr. Montaldo earned his medical degree at the Second University of Naples, Italy and undertook his clinical residency in Neonatology both in Naples and in London at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He won a traineeship from the Second University of Naples to pursue his interest in neonatal research and joined the Imperial College London as a clinical research fellow. He obtained an MRC doctoral research fellowship to explore the use of transcriptomics in hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. Having completed his Ph.D. and clinical training, he now splits his time between the activity as neonatal consultant and research in neonatal neurology at Imperial College London and at the University of Campania, Italy.  With early career support, Dr. Montaldo is developing his independent research program focused on understanding the effects of glucose derangements on brain injury in infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. As adverse outcomes are still seen in 30% of the cooled neonates, it is essential to act on the modifiable factors soon after birth. Continuous glucose monitoring allows earlier detection and prevention of exposure to extreme glucose concentrations. Dr. Montaldo hopes to use these findings to detect promptly rising or falling glucose levels, thus enabling a better management of glucose control. 

Peter Ubuane, MBChB, FWACPaed

Consultant Paediatrician
Institute of Maternal & Child Health/Department of Paediatrics
Lagos State University Teaching Hospital 
Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria

Project: Improving survival among perinatally-asphyxiated referred to a tertiary Neonatal Unit in Lagos, Nigeria, using a quality improvement care practice bundle

Dr. Ubuane is a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians (Faculty of Paediatrics), currently working as a Consultant Pediatrician/Neonatologist at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, south-west Nigeria, where his roles include clinical services, research and training/mentorship of undergraduate and postgraduate medical trainees. Dr. Ubuane’s clinical practice and research interests include the prenatal and early-life determinants of respiratory and neurodevelopmental outcomes (lung-brain axis) across the life-course, especially among preterm-born infants and those with compromised first breathe (perinatally-asphyxiated). He is currently involved in a multi-center research that seeks to validate the utility of a smart phone app in diagnosing and predicting neurodevelopmental outcomes in perinatally-asphyxiated newborn infants. Through NBS’ support, Dr. Ubuane also hope to employ QI designs to improve outcomes among such newborns in my hospital.

Anouk Verschuur, MD

Department of Radiology and Neonatology, Isala Hospital Zwolle, The Netherlands
Department of Pediatrics, Section of Neonatology, University of Calgary, Canada
Image Sciences Institute, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands

Project: Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging and tractography as indicator for brain maturation in moderate-late preterm infants

Anouk Verschuur is a PhD candidate at Isala Hospital Zwolle and UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands, and the University of Calgary, Canada. With a Master’s degree in Technical Medicine from Twente University (2020, Dr. Meijler, Dr. Boomsma) and specialized training in medical imaging and intervention, Anouk possesses a unique blend of medical and technological expertise, allowing her to tackle complex challenges at the intersection of medicine and technology. Anouk has a strong research interest in neonatal neuroimaging, in particular brain segmentation and diffusion MRI to study the vulnerable white matter on a microstructural level. She strives to enhance imaging quality and research outputs by identifying and resolving technical and practical challenges in image acquisition and processing specific to neonates. Funded by the KNAW ter Meulen Grant, Anouk completed an internship at University of Calgary (Dr. Leijser) in 2022 to expand her research and international work experiences. The NBS Early Career Award allows Anouk to focus on advancing white matter tract reconstruction from neonatal diffusion MRIs and translation to the clinical setting. The technical advancements will enhance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the neonatal brain’s vulnerability, contributing to improvements in brain care and outcomes for preterm infants in the near future.