Department of Pediatrics Annual Report – 2020

Neonatology and Perinatology

Our programs in newborn care lead the way nationally

Members of the Division of Neonatology and Perinatology are dedicated to the highest level of neonatal care and provide outstanding care for the sickest infants, including those with extreme prematurity or low birth weight, respiratory failure, congenital heart disease, and other complex congenital abnormalities that may require surgery. New York State has designated our team at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital as a Regional Perinatal Center, the highest classification level. Our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was recently recognized as a VON Center of Excellence. We are internationally recognized for our pioneering use of non-invasive gentle ventilation techniques, our novel infant cardiac intensive care unit, and our multidisciplinary perinatal-neonatal palliative care program.


The division also has a long history of clinical and translational research that has had a substantial impact on the field. The strength of our clinical research has evolved from studies  demonstrating the beneficial respiratory outcome of early use of bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bubble CPAP) and gentle mechanical ventilation in premature infants and babies with pulmonary hypertension. This work has received worldwide recognition and acceptance in current neonatal respiratory care. This history of excellence continues in the innovative work we are doing to change how we communicate with and empower families, how we manage infections, how we support the neurodevelopment and growth of infants, and, of course, how we continue to help babies breathe.

Honors and Awards

Richard Polin, MD

  • Graham’s Foundation Honoree, 2018

Anna Penn, MD, PhD

  • Society for Pediatric Research Thomas A. Hazinski Award, 2020

Amelie Collins, MD, PhD

  • Elected to membership in the Society for Pediatric Research, 2020
  • Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholar Award, 2019
  • Young Investigator Al Cassady Award, Perinatal Research Society, 2019

Jen-Tien Wung, MD

  • Pioneer Award, American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, 2018
  • Award from the Brazilian Pediatric Society for teaching, contribution, commitment, and dedication for the development of Neonatology in Brazil, 2018

Rakesh Sahni, MBBS

  • Nominated to American Board of Pediatrics Sub-board of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and elected as member, American Pediatric Society, 2018

David Rubenstein, MD

  • Elected to Council for Eastern Society for Pediatric Research, 2018

Elvira Parravicini, MD

  • Neonatal Comfort Care Program, ASTRA AWARD from The New Jersey Communication, Advertising & Marketing Association for best print media – brochure, 2019
  • Invited as guest editor by Frontiers in Pediatrics to lead a new issue about Perinatal Palliative Care, 2020

Sandhya Brachio, MD

  • NICU chosen as a VON Center of Excellence. Dr. Brachio presented work on parent engagement in NICU discharge, featured in VON iNICQ webinar, 2019

Ganga Krishnamurthy, MD

  • Elected President of the Neonatal Heart Society, 2019-2021

New Appointments

Anna Penn, MD, PhD Division Chief of Neonatology, 2020

Claire-Marie Vacher, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neonatology, 2020

Pamela Good, MD, PhD, Instructor in Pediatrics, 2020

Thomas Hays, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, 2020

Major Grants

  • The role of FMN loss by mitochondrial complex I in neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. National Institute of Health (NIH), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) 1R01NS112381-01A1. Principal Investigator: Alexander Galkin, Co-PI: Vadim Ten.
  • Mapping the unique features of fetal and neonatal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells conferring susceptibility to inflammation and infection. NIH K08DK124657 Career Development Award. Principal Investigator: Amelie Collins, MD, PhD.
  • NANO (NICU Antibiotics and Outcomes) Trial. NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R01HD097578-01A1. Trial Co-Principal Investigator: Richard Polin, MD.
  • Novel roles of placental allopregnanolone in brain development and injury. National Institutes of Health R01HD092593. Principal Investigator: Anna Penn, MD, PhD.
  • Linking preterm birth and ASD risk with cerebellar white matter. SFARI (Simons Foundation). Principal Investigator: Anna Penn, MD, PhD.
  • Effects of prenatal maternal depression and antidepressant exposures on offspring neurodevelopmental trajectories: A birth cohort study. NIH/ National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) R01MH119510. Co-Investigator: Philip Grieve, PhD.
  • Preventing postpartum depression: A dyadic approach adjunctive to obstetric care. NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R01HD088105-01A1. Co-Investigator: Philip Grieve, PhD.
  • Promoting mother-baby bonding through a relaxation routine during pregnancy. Johnson and Johnson. Co-Investigator: Philip Grieve, PhD.
  • Nurture Science Program. Columbia University private grant. Co-Investigator: Philip Grieve, PhD.
  • Predictive informatics monitoring in the neonatal intensive care unit. NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R01HD072071. Site-Principal Investigator: Rakesh Sahni, MD.
  • Intravenous remodulin as add-on therapy for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension of the newborn: A randomized, placebo controlled, safety and efficacy trial. United Therapeutics. Co-Investigator: Rakesh Sahni, MD.
  • Mitochondrial complex-I as a target for metabolic resuscitation in perinatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. NIH/ National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke R01NS100850. Principal Investigator: Vadim Ten, MD.
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction and white matter injury. NIH/ National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; R01NS099109-05. Principal Investigator: Vadim Ten, MD.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, acute neuroprotection via mitochondria. NIH/ National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; R01NS088197-05. Co-Principal Investigator: Vadim Ten, MD.
  • Neonatal comfort care program. Cabrini Health Foundation, Al Smith Foundation, and the Bravo Foundation in support of the Neonatal Comfort Care Program. Director: Elvira Parravicini, MD.
  • The Nurture Science Program. The Chiaroscuro Foundation and other sources. Director: Martha Welch, MD.
  • Environmental influences on child health outcomes in the Northern Plains Safe Passage Study Cohort. NIH/Office of the Director; UG3 OD023279-01. Co-Investigator: Joseph Isler, PhD.
  • Nurture Science Program, Columbia University grant. Co-Investigator: Joseph Isler, PhD.
  • Socioeconomic disparities in cognitive & neural development in the first 3 years. NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R01HD093707-03. Subaward PI: Joseph Isler.
  • Predictive informatics monitoring in the neonatal intensive care unit. NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R01HD072071-06. Co-Investigator: Joseph Isler, PhD.
  • Income and child development in the first three years of life. NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R01HD087384-03S1. Co-Investigator: Joseph Isler, PhD.
  • Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell biology in the developing fetus and neonate. Louis V. Gerstner Jr Scholar Award. Principal Investigator: Amelie Collins, MD, PhD.
  • Clinical and Translational Science Award. NIH/National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS); 1UL1TR001873-01; Investigator: Sudha Kashyap, MD.
  • A randomized controlled trial to evaluate growth velocity and clinical outcomes of infants with single ventricle physiology fed an exclusive human milk diet with early nutritional fortification following surgical repair. Prolacta Bioscience Inc. Site Principal Investigator: Sudha Kashyap, MD.
  • Effects of an exclusive human milk diet on enteral feeding outcomes of neonates with congenital gastrointestinal disorders. Prolacta Bioscience Inc. Co-Investigator: Sudha Kashyap, MD.

Selected Publications

Wynn JL, Polin RA. A neonatal sequential organ failure assessment score predicts mortality to late-onset sepsis in preterm very low birth weight infants. Pediatric Research. 2019 Aug.

Grieve PG, Fifer WP, Cousy NP, Monk CE, Stark RI, Gingrich JA, Myers MM. Neonatal infant EEG bursts are altered by prenatal maternal depression and serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor use. Clin Neurophysiol. 2019 Nov; 130(11): 2019-2025.

Haxel C, Glickstein J, Parravicini E. Neonatal palliative care for complicated cardiac anomalies: A 10-year experience of an interdisciplinary program at a large tertiary cardiac center. J Pediatrics, 2019; 214: 79–88.

Callahan K, Steinwurtzel S, Brumaire L, Schechter S, Parravicini E. Early palliative care reduces stress in parents of neonates with congenital heart disease: Validation of the ‘Baby, Attachment, Comfort Interventions’. J Perinatol. 2019; doi: 10.1038/s41372-019-0490-y.

Vesoulis ZA, Bank R, Lake D, Wallman-Stokes A, Sahni R, Moorman R, Isler J, Fairchild K, Mathur A. Early hypoxia burden is strongly associated with severe intraventricular hemorrhage in preterm infants. J Perinatol. 2019; 39: 48-53. PMID: 30267001.

Ten VS, Ratner V. Mitochondrial bioenergetics and pulmonary dysfunction: Current progress and future directions. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2019 Apr 12; pii: S1526-0542(19)30036-3.

Majed B, Bateman DA, Uy N, Lin F. Patent ductus arteriosus is associated with acute kidney injury in the preterm infant. Pediatric Nephrology. 2019 Jan.

Krishnamurthy G. Cardiopulmonary bypass in premature and low birth weight neonates - implications for postoperative care from a neonatologist/intensivist perspective. Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg Pediatr Card Surg Annu. 2019; 22:2-9. doi: 10.1053/j.pcsu.2019.02.009. Review


Anna Penn, MD, PhD, to Lead Neonatology at Columbia

Anna Penn, MD, PhD, a leading clinical neonatologist and developmental neuroscientist from Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., has been named chief of the Division of Neonatology in the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and associate professor of pediatrics. Dr. Penn also will serve as chief of neonatology at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.


Neoheart 2020: Cardiovascular Management of the Neonate

In October 2020 CUIMC and NYP hosted the 5th annual, entirely virtual, meeting of the Neonatal Heart Society, Neoheart 2020: Cardiovascular Management of the Neonate. Columbia neonatologist Ganga Krishnamurthy, MD, president of the society, noted that the four-day conference was broad in scope, with 40 sessions and 162 speakers, and had nearly 1,800 registrants from 35 countries.