We are exploring a number of different areas of neonatal research including volume targeted and patient-triggered ventilation, developmental neurochemistry, ECMO, elements of chronic lung disease, nitric oxide therapy, and newer surfactant treatments.  Our B.R.A.I.N. care program focuses on prevention and treatment of neonatal brain injury.

Strong collaborative ties exist with the Division of Pediatric Neurology, Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, the Department of Radiology, and the Department of Obstetrics. Fellows are exposed to significant research involvement during their training.

Our Faculty members are currently involved in these projects:

John D.E. Barks, M.D. (
Division Director

  • Preclinical Evaluation of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) Treatment to Prevent or Treat Perinatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury
  • Impact of Maternal Dietary Fat on Neonatal Brain Injury
  • Impact of rewarming after therapeutic hypothermia in neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy
  • Impact of neonatal seizures on cerebral metabolism: a near-infrared spectroscopy study

Mohammed A. Attar, M.D. (

  • Evaluation of pediatric resident education methods
  • Evaluation of neonatal resuscitation
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Pulmonary response to treatment with surfactant

Jennifer R. Bermick, M.D. (

  • Epigenetic regulation of innate immunity in ELBW infants
  • Clinical correlates with intraventricular hemorrhage in ELBW infants

Karl Desch, M.D. (

  • Identification of the genetic determinants of complex traits related to thrombosis and hemostasis, such as von Willebrand factor levels and thrombophilia
  • Linkage studies
  • Common and rare variant genome-wide association studies
  • Whole exome and whole genome sequencing studies
  • ADAMTS 13 and Von Willebrand Factor substrate specificity

Steven M. Donn, M.D. (
Editor-in-Chief, Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine and Co-editor, Year Book of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine

  • Management of respiratory failure in preterm and term neonates, including newer modalities of ventilation, and real-time pulmonary graphic analysis
  • Evaluation and comparison of different surfactant preparations
  • Development of a synthetic, non-animal-derived surfactant
  • Hypothermic neuroprotection following birth asphyxia
  • Medical liability and risk management in perinatal and neonatal practice

Stephanie Kukora, M.D. (

  • Neonatal clinical bioethics
  • Moral distress and decision making
  • Effectiveness of prenatal counseling

Naomi Laventhal, M.D. (

  • Clinical research ethics
  • Neonatal clinical bioethics
  • Effectiveness of prenatal counseling

Subrata Sarkar, M.D. (

  • Impact of Therapeutic Hypothermia on Brain Injury and Multi-organ Dysfunction
  • Temperature Regulation in Therapeutic Hypothermia
  • Informed Choice for Medication use in Culturally Diverse Patients
  • Intraventricular Hemorrhage and Post-Hemorrhagic Hydrocephalus

Robert E. Schumacher, M.D. (
Medical Director of the Brandon NICU

  • Efficacy of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) life support in premature and low birth weight infants
  • Cognitive aspects of medical information needs
  • Provision of “quality” in NICU
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – Optimization of Management
  • Vermont-Oxford Network Site PI

Kate P. Stanley, M.D. ( )

  • Parental and Caregiver Attitudes as Barriers to Donor Human Milk Use
  • Impact of Enteral Nutrition Source on the Fecal Microbiome of ELBW infants

Rebecca J. Vartanian, M.D. ( )

  • Vermont-Oxford Network Site Co-I
  • Optimization of Oxygen Management in Premature Infants
  • Impact of Standardized Feeding Protocols on NICU Outcomes

Gary M. Weiner, M.D. (
Fellowship Program Director

  • Neonatal resuscitation
  • Clinical simulation
  • Care of the extremely low birth weight newborn
  • Biostatistics/evidence-based medicine education