The division has an unwavering commitment to foster basic, translational, and clinical research.

About Us

Wet laboratory space is located in the Academic Research Building, Human Development Building, Brain Institute, and the Dental Sciences Building. Divisional faculty are involved in cutting-edge research related to enteral nutrition, microbiome and prematurity, necrotizing enterocolitis, hypoxia ischemic encephalopathy, nitric oxide and oxidative stress, health care economics, breastfeeding and lactation, neonatal sepsis and inflammatory biology, medical ethics, developmental follow-up, and clinical trials. The divisional research program is supported by grants and contracts from a variety of agencies including the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, March of Dimes, Thrasher Fund, and private industry.

person holding black and white microscope

Active Research

PI: Michael Weiss | Sponsor: Thrasher Fund

Melatonin as a neuroprotective therapy in neonates with HIE undergoing hypothermia

This project will examine the safety and dosing of enteral melatonin in infants with HI undergoing hypothermia. The phase 0/1 study will examine the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and safety and effectiveness of enterally-administered melatonin in reducing oxidative stress and the inflammatory cascade in neonates undergoing hypothermia. In addition, outcomes at 18-22 months will be performed. The study will be carried out in the Florida Neonatal Neurologic Network, which the PI founded.

PI: James Wynn

Neonatal Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (nSOFA) Calculator

In contrast to sepsis definitions in adults and children, definitions of sepsis commonly used in neonatology are variable and heavily predicated on the isolation of pathogens from blood and/or the associated length of prescribed antimicrobial treatment. Sepsis is defined as life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection. The presence of life-threatening organ dysfunction is demonstrated using a sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) to determine risk of ICU admission or mortality. To define sepsis in neonates therefore requires an operational definition of organ dysfunction applicable specifically to this population (neonatal SOFA; nSOFA) that predicts mortality in the setting of presumed infection. We recently showed the progression of organ failure in neonates with lethal LOS in a large retrospective cohort (2016). Guided by those data, we developed and tested an objective, electronic health record (EHR)-automated, nSOFA scoring system to predict mortality from LOS in premature, very low birth weight infants (2019).

PI: Michael Weiss | Sponsor: Florida Department of Health

Neuropathology & Neuroprotection in Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH)

Co-PI: Michael Weiss

Neuroprotection Mediated by Medical Gas

Inhalational gases are attractive to the bedside clinician caring for neonates with HIE because they have minimal side effects and can be easily titrated and rapidly stopped if side effects develop. Three potential inhalational agents that could act synergistically with hypothermia are carbon monoxide (CO), inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) and helium. Studies during the last decade have demonstrated that inert gases may be promising therapies following HI injury. The Xenon gas been the most promising inhaled gas to date, however the translational utility is limited by cost. Our long-term goal is to utilize inhalational gases as a therapy for neonates with HIE.