Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine has been an active participant in clinical research, including single center and multicenter randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies, for years. For example, Yale’s NICU faculty investigators participated in surfactant replacement trials for preterm infants with respiratory distress syndrome and in erythropoietin trials to prevent red cell transfusions during the early 1990’s. In addition, as a member of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network (NRN) from 1991-2011, Yale’s NICU actively participated in over 25 clinical investigations, and Yale’s NRN principal investigator played major roles in 2 RCTs that led to significant practice changes, an inhaled nitric oxide trial for treatment of hypoxic respiratory failure and a hypothermia trial for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. There are currently 15 active clinical research and quality improvement protocols in the NICU, including enteral and parenteral nutritional RCTs, a multicenter RCT of minimally invasive surfactant administration, pharmacokinetic studies of commonly used medications, a multicenter study investigating the utility of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to identify preterm infants at highest risk for brain injury or death, an antibiotic-stewardship quality improvement project, a state-wide perinatal breastfeeding collaborative project, and others.
Faculty and fellows within the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine are currently engaged in a variety of laboratory-based research projects. The work of this group has largely involved aspects of developmental biology. Areas of investigation include molecular genetics of red cell disorders, developmental erythropoiesis, molecular genetics of reading disabilities, imaging of the newborn brain, and hypoxic brain injury.
Other Academic Work
Other areas of academic work currently carried out by neonatology faculty include quality improvement, nosocomial infection prevention, assessment of provider’s procedural competency, and the study of an array of issues in bioethics in the NICU setting.