Key staff

Director

Peter Davis

Professor Peter Davis

Professor Peter Davis joined the Women's as a consultant neonatologist in 1993. He trained in Brisbane and McMaster University, Canada where he developed an interest in Clinical Epidemiology and Evidence Based Medicine. He continues to work clinically in Neonatal Intensive and Special Care Nurseries and remains involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education at the Women's. He became Professor/Director of Neonatal Medicine in 2009.

He has a keen interest in the dissemination of highest quality medical evidence to practitioners and consumers and is the Regional Coordinator of the Neonatal Review Group of the Cochrane Collaboration. He is the author of more than thirty Cochrane Reviews and is responsible for the recruitment and support of reviewers within Australasia. His other research interests include alternative methods of respiratory support of premature babies, neonatal resuscitation and identification of important outcomes of neonatal intensive care. He has considerable experience in the design and conduct of international collaborative randomized controlled trials. His research work is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council through a Practitioner Fellowship, a Program Grant with colleagues at Monash Medical Centre and a Centre for Research Excellence. He is a member of the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) which is responsible for formulating guidelines for neonatal resuscitation which are used worldwide.

His team at the Women’s comprises young nurses and doctors, many of whom undertake higher degrees through which they investigate ways to improve outcomes of preterm and very unwell newborn babies.

Deputy Director

Marta Thio-Lluch

Dr Marta Thio-Lluch

Marta is a Spanish-trained neonatologist who joined The Women’s as a clinician and researcher in 2010. She has an interest in training, education and research related to neonatal resuscitation. Her PhD evaluated equipment used to provide respiratory support to babies in the delivery room. She divides her time between clinical service, research and PIPER- Neonatal transport and Education, especially focused on the Victorian Neonatal Resuscitation Project "NeoResus".

Researchers

Brenda Argus

Ms Brenda Argus

Brenda is a Neonatal Research Nurse in Newborn Research.  She has worked with neonates since 1987 as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Women’s. Her role involves the organisation, implementation and precise running of clinical trials, inservicing of nursing and medical staff on a formal and informal basis, gaining informed consent, data collection and data entry, and being a patient and parent advocate.

Shiraz Badurdeen

Dr Shiraz Badurdeen

Shiraz is a Neonatal Research Fellow at the Womens’ and PhD candidate through the Ritchie Centre, Monash University. He is the Co-Principal investigator for the Baby-Directed Umbilical Cord Clamping Study. Shiraz is interested in how optimising oxygen delivery and cardiac output can protect the brain during and shortly after resuscitation. Shiraz was a neonatal advanced trainee in Oxford and London before moving to Melbourne in 2017. He enjoys exploring better ways to do things.

Elizabeth Baker

Dr Elizabeth Baker

Liz is a neonatal trainee and the William Kitchen Research Fellow at The Women’s. Her research interest lies in using cell therapy to protect preterm babies’ lungs and brains from injury associated with their prematurity. She is completing a PhD at The University of Melbourne examining the safety of a type of stem cell called human amnion epithelial cells in preterm babies at high risk of chronic lung disease.

Merilyn Bear

Ms Merilyn Bear

Merilyn is part of the Victorian Infant Brain Studies research group (VIBeS). The group investigates brain development in extremely premature born infants to those born at term. The research is a longitudinal study of different cohorts of infants  investigating brain development using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with gold standard psychological assessment tools assessing neuro cognition and neuro behavioural development. VIBeS  is based at The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Women’s Newborn Research Centre. Merilyn‘s role since 2001 has been a nurse co-ordinator for several of the cohorts and has a Bachelor of Nursing degree from RMIT.

Doug Blank

Dr Doug Blank

Doug has an honorary research appointment at the Women's. He came to Melbourne in 2014 to pursue a PhD after completing a clinical NICU fellowship at the University of California, San Diego. He was re-educated as a fellow at the Women's while completing his thesis entitled "Umbilical cord management at birth". Doug continues to collaborate with the Newborn Research team, investigating how we can improve care for newborns requiring resuscitation immediately after birth, in both resource limited and resource rich settings. Currently, he is a neonatal consultant at Monash Health and a post-doc fellow at the Ritchie Centre. Outside of work, he enjoys exploring Melbourne's wonderful playgrounds with his sons, ages 8, 6, 4, and 1.

Rosemarie Boland

Dr Rosemarie Boland

Rose is a postdoctoral neonatal nurse researcher and educator. Her research and clinical interests are perinatal epidemiology, neonatal transport and translating neonatal resuscitation research into practice.  Rose completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2014, investigating risk factors for mortality and serious morbidity in very preterm infants born in non-tertiary hospitals in Victoria, Australia. Rose is now leading a postdoctoral program of research aimed at improving outcomes for these babies, supported by a Career Development Award from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.   

Rose divides her time between her research at MCRI, teaching in her role as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, and education at the Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) service at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
 

Jeanie Cheong

A/Professor Jeanie Cheong

Jeanie Cheong is a consultant neonatologist with expertise in neonatal neurology, neuroimaging and long term follow up. Jeanie is a Honorary Professorial Fellow with the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne and is based at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, where she is the lead Clinician in the High Risk Newborn Follow Up Clinic.

Jeanie’s research expertise is in the long-term health and developmental outcomes of high-risk infants especially those born preterm. She led the first Australian study of moderate and late preterm children, findings of which have significantly increased the understanding of development sequelae of a previously understudied group of children.
Jeanie is the Co-Group Leader of the Victorian Infant Brain Studies group, a research team based at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, which focuses on understanding brain development of preterm newborns and improving their outcomes through various intervention studies. She is also the Convenor of the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study, a world-leading research team in epidemiological cohorts of extremely preterm newborns.

Jeanie is the Director of the CRE in Newborn Medicine. Leading the Executive, she will oversee all activities within the CRE and contribute to the Policy & Practice Translation Subcommittee.

Rocco Cuzzilla

Dr Rocco Cuzzilla

Rocco joined the Women's as a consultant neonatologist in 2015 following completion of his training in Melbourne and Toronto. His PhD with the Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS) group explored the use of cranial ultrasonography to predict outcomes for babies born very preterm. His clinical and research interests include neonatal neurology and neuroimaging. He is involved with education of medical students and trainees.

Noni Davis

Dr Noni Davis

Noni is a developmental paediatrician and part of the Premature Follow-up programme at Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. She trained in Brisbane and Hamilton, Ontario. She also is part of the Growth and Developmental Clinic at Mercy Hospital for Women, Melbourne.

Jennifer Dawson

Dr Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer joined the Royal Women’s Hospital as a Neonatal Research Nurse in November 2005 and is now Clinical trial coordinator for the multi-centre PLUSS trial - Preventing Lung Disease Using Surfactant + Steroid.  She trained as a nurse in Canberra and as a midwife in Scotland. She completed a MN (Research) at the University of Sydney in 2003 and a PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2010. Her research has led to over 100 peer-reviewed publications with many incorporated into national and international guidelines for neonatal delivery room management of newly born infants.

Lex Doyle

Professor Lex Doyle

Professor Doyle has worked in the field of neonatal paediatrics for more than 40 years. He was first appointed to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the University of Melbourne in 1978 and worked exclusively in neonatal paediatrics until 2006, when he stopped working in the nursery at the Royal Women’s Hospital. As well as training in Melbourne, he was fortunate to work and train for 3½ years in Canada, at McMaster University, where he met and worked with many esteemed international colleagues in neonatal paediatrics.

Professor Doyle has major research interests in evaluating neonatal intensive care, including how to improve on that care, and its economic consequences. He is or has been a chief investigator on many randomised controlled trials of interventions designed to improve the outcome for the tiniest and most immature babies. He leads or has led several research groups interested in the outcome for tiny babies well beyond the nursery and into adulthood; these are the Premature Infant Follow-up Programme at the Women's, and the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group.  As a consequence of his research activities, he has over 580 scientific publications, one book, and two completed theses (MSc [McMaster]; MD [Melbourne]) to date (2020).
 
In addition to his research activities, Professor Doyle is now Associate Director of Research at the Women's, and is heavily involved in undergraduate and postgraduate clinical research education, mentoring, and supervision.
 

Abbey Eeles

Dr Abbey Eeles

Abbey is an occupational therapist who has specialised in paediatrics and neonatal developmental therapy, both in a clinical and research sphere. She completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2012, investigating the consequences of the preterm infant’s exposure to a sensory environment that is mismatched with their early sensory system maturation. Abbey has specialised training in the neurobehavioural and neurological assessment of premature and high-risk infants during the neonatal period and across early childhood and is an experienced educator on family centered developmentally supportive care. She is the principal investigator on multiple clinical studies and quality improvement projects that explore the parental experience of newborn care and the neonatal nurses perspective on fostering collaborative working relationships with parents in the neonatal unit.  Abbey is versed in implementation science methodology and is experienced in planning and evaluating evidence base practice change. She is a Knowledge Translation Fellow for the Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Newborn Medicine at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute where she contributes to the development of the CRE Knowledge Translation (KT) goals and strategy across clinical, policy, and consumer domains. Abbey coordinates the TEDI-Prem study (Telehealth for Early Developmental Intervention in babies born very preterm): a multi-site randomised control trial of an intensive early intervention that focuses on early motor, cognitive and language development, environmental enrichment and supporting parent-infant interaction with the aim of improving neurodevelopment outcomes and parental well-being. Abbey is passionate about understanding the impact of developmental therapy and early intervention on brain development and rehabilitation in the newborn period and beyond, and the important role parents play in delivering this intervention. 

Kate Hodgson

Dr Kate Hodgson

Kate is a neonatologist who trained in Melbourne and in Toronto, Canada. She is currently a Neonatal Research Fellow at the Royal Women’s Hospital and is undertaking a PhD through the University of Melbourne, investigating the use of nasal high-flow therapy during neonatal intubation. Kate also works with the Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) service.

Dilini Imbulana

Ms Dilini Imbulana

Dilini completed a Master of Research at the University of Melbourne in 2017. She is currently a medical student at the University of Notre Dame Australia and is completing her MD research project in moral distress interventions for intensive care clinicians.

Sue Jacobs

A/Professor Sue Jacobs

Sue is a Neonatal Paediatrician and Acting Director (Medical) of Neonatal Services at the Royal Women’s, Melbourne. She trained in Melbourne, Sydney and Toronto, Ontario and completed her MD in 2010. She combines her significant clinical and administrative commitments with clinical research into the effectiveness of novel therapies on newborn infants' outcome and their translation into clinical practice. This is exemplified in the probiotics administration study with ongoing neurodevelopmental, allergy and economic follow-up, and in the translation of therapeutic hypothermia after perinatal asphyxia into clinical practice in the neonatal intensive care, non-tertiary neonatal settings, during retrieval-transport and into government policy.

Omar Kamlin

Omar Kamlin

Omar is a Consultant Neonatal Paediatrician at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. He trained in the UK and Melbourne has a special interest investigating techniques of resuscitation in the delivery room and respiratory support in the Neonatal Intensive and Special Care. He is a perinatal clinical trialist and is involved in the design and conduct of randomised clinical trials in the delivery room and neonatal intensive care.

Elaine Kelly

Ms Elaine Kelly

Elaine is a Neuropsychologist and Speech Pathologist with over thirty years experience following-up children enrolled in research projects at the Women's, the Mercy Hospital for Women, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, and Monash Medical Centre. She also maintains a busy private practice, with a particular emphasis on language disorders, neuropsychological assessment of infants and toddlers, school readiness evaluation, and addressing specific learning difficulties in school-aged children. Elaine has been involved in many national and international research projects, particularly those involving very low birthweight children and other children treated in NICU.  She has taught and supervised psychology and speech pathology students for many years, including graduate students from Melbourne University and Australian Catholic University, being an Honorary Fellow of both Institutions.

Anna Kidman

Ms Anna Kidman

Anna is a Neonatal Nurse and Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne. Since commencing neonatal nursing in Brisbane, Anna has developed a keen interest in neonatal respiratory support, particularly optimising non-invasive respiratory supports. Anna’s PhD thesis is titled ‘Reducing extubation failure in extremely preterm infants’. Anna’s PhD is a large clinical trial: Extubation CPAP Level Assessment Trial (ÉCLAT): In extremely preterm infants born <28 weeks’ gestation, undergoing their first extubation, does extubation to a higher CPAP pressure (10 cm H2O, range 9-11 cm H2O), compared with a standard CPAP pressure (7 cm H2O, range 6-8 cm H2O) decrease extubation failure within seven days?

Carl Kuschel

A/Professor Carl Kuschel

Carl is the Medical Director of Neonatal Services at the Women’s. Carl trained in Auckland, New Zealand, Sydney and Toronto. Carl is an active supporter of research to improve outcomes for babies and their families. His research interests have included neonatal ventilation, functional echocardiography and neonatal drug withdrawal. His current clinical interests include the use of information technology to assist with clinical care.

Amanda Kwong

Dr Amanda Kwong

Amanda is a physiotherapist at the Royal Women's Hospital Newborn Follow-up clinic and a post-doctoral research fellow with the CRE Newborn Medicine group. Amanda's research interests are concerned with early detection and intervention of infants who are at high risk of cerebral palsy or movement difficulties. She is currently involved with the "Knowledge Translation of Early Cerebral Palsy (KiTE CP)" study which is investigating the implementation of early detection of cerebral palsy across key hospitals in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, including the Royal Women's Hospital 

Brett Manley

Dr Brett Manley

Brett is a Consultant Neonatologist at The Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne and an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The University of Melbourne. Brett designs and conducts clinical trials to improve outcomes for newborn infants, and has led or supervised multiple randomised trials in tertiary and non-tertiary centres. He currently leads the international, multicentre PLUSS trial of intratracheal budesonide mixed with surfactant to improve rates of survival free of chronic lung disease in extremely preterm infants. He is a Chief Investigator on the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Newborn Medicine and member of the Executive of the PSANZ IMPACT trials network.

Marion McDonald

Ms Marion McDonald

Marion is a Research Coordinator in the Preterm Infant Follow Up team which looks at following up on the long term growth and development of ex preterm born children who are enrolled in various research studies.

Emma McInnes

Ms Emma McInnes

Emma is a Neonatal Nurse currently working within the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study (VICS) and the Victorian Infant Brain Studies group (VIBeS) and is based at the Women’s in Newborn Research.

Bernice Mills

Ms Bernice Mills

Bernice is a Neonatal Research Nurse in Newborn Research.  She has been with the neonatal research team for 10 years after working in the Newborn Intensive and Special Care nurseries for the previous 10 years – more recently as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. Bernice completed her midwifery training in 1989 and postgraduate neonatal training in 1996.  She has worked on many different projects over the years and enjoys the variety that her role provides. Bernice’s tasks have included explaining studies to parents, obtaining consent, data collection and data entry, education of staff and both verbal and written presentation of study results.

Joy Olsen

Dr Joy Olsen

Joy is an occupational therapist in neonatal services at the Women’s and a postdoctoral researcher within the Victorian Infant Brain Studies team. Her research focuses on early neurodevelopment, intervention and follow-up for infants born preterm.

Louise Owen

A/Professor Louise Owen

Louise completed her undergraduate and specialist Neonatal medical training in the UK, she then relocated to the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne in 2006. She undertook a higher research degree, awarded in 2011. Louise now divides her time between her work as a clinical Neonatal Consultant in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at the Women’s, and her clinical research. 

Louise’s research focuses on newborn resuscitation and breathing support strategies for premature babies. Louise was granted an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship in 2014, followed by an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship in 2018. Louise is part of the Newborn Research Department within the University of Melbourne Department of O&G, where she leads the Respiratory Support Group. Louise is also a Chief Investigator within the MCRI Centre of Research Excellence in Newborn Medicine, sitting on the Executive Committee and co-chairing the mentoring subcommittee. 

Louise has led important clinical trials in newborn respiratory support, collaborating internationally and producing high profile publications which have resulted in direct impacts on clinical care for premature babies worldwide.

Eoin O’Currain

Dr Eoin O’Currain

Eoin is an Irish Neonatologist who is interested in improving the training of newborn resuscitation, particularly in small and medium sized hospitals. He completed clinical training and a PhD under the supervision of Dr Marta Thio and Professor Peter Davis at the Newborn Research Centre. His research consisted of two randomized controlled trials investigating training and equipment in newborn resuscitation. He is currently a Consultant Neonatologist at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, Ireland and maintains an active collaboration with the Newborn Research Centre at the Women's.

Trisha Prentice

Dr Trisha Prentice

Trisha is a consultant neonatologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She completed her PhD at the Royal Women’s Hospital as the inaugural William Kitchen Research Fellow. Her PhD examined moral distress in healthcare professionals caring for extremely preterm babies. Her clinical and research interests focus on bioethics including end-of-life decision-making.

Sheryle Rogerson

Dr Sheryle Rogerson

Sheryle is a Consultant Neonatologist at the Royal Women’s Hospital with a special interest in diagnostic and functional ultrasound. She trained in Adelaide, United Kingdom and Melbourne. Having completed her FRACP, MRCPCH DDU and CCPU she then spent 4 years in Malawi lecturing in the Malawi Medical College and working on infectious diseases and ultrasound.  She is on the committee for the Certificate of Clinician Performed Ultrasound and the Board of Standards of Practice for the Australian Ultrasound Society. She educates the Fellows in Ultrasound and is a supervisor for the CCPU. Her main research is related to use of functional ultrasound in neonatology.

Georgia Santomartino

Ms Georgia Santomartino

Georgia is a Neonatal Research Assistant in Newborn Research. She joined the Newborn Research team at the Women’s in 2020 to conduct her Honours research project, which focused on the respiratory support of newborns in the delivery room.

Dr Arun Sett

Arun is a Victorian trained neonatal fellow with an interest in the use of point of care ultrasound in neonatal patient. In particular he is interested in the use of point of care lung ultrasound to guide respiratory management. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife anticipating the arrival of their first baby.

Alicia Spittle

Professor Alicia Spittle

Alicia is a paediatric physiotherapist and international leader in early detection of motor impairments and early intervention for infants at high risk of developmental impairments. Alicia works clinically in the neonatal nursery and follow-up clinic at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne and is a researcher at the University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. She is a member of the executive committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence in Newborn Medicine, as well as being the co-chair of the Policy & Practice Translation Subcommittee.

Christiane Theda

A/Professor Christiane Theda

Christiane is a Neonatologist and Medical Geneticist who joined the Women’s in 2009 after relocation from the USA.  A native of Germany, Christiane had been at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for almost 20 years. Her multiple degrees (MD PhD MBA) illustrate her diverse background in clinical medicine, laboratory research including biochemistry, cell biology and molecular genetics and leadership/administration. In addition to continuing involvement in clinical and basic science research, Christiane has recently taken on new roles as inventor and innovator in biomedical device development; this has led her being at the forefront of translational activities which bring together hospitals, academic institutions and start-up companies to drive local biomedical engineering innovation.

Anna Tottman

Dr Anna Tottman

Anna is a Neonatologist who trained in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. She has a special interest in early life nutrition and glycaemia and completed her PhD at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, investigating long-term neurodevelopmental and metabolic outcomes in children born very preterm.  She is a member of the RWH Neonatal nutrition working group, and also provides outpatient follow up to the high risk infants cared for under the Women's Alcohol and Drug Service.
 

Karli Trevaud

Dr Karli Trevaud

Karli is a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at La Trobe University in Melbourne. She is an honorary member of the Newborn Research team at the Royal Women's Hospital, and an honorary Research Fellow with the VIBeS team at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Karli sits on the Policy & Practice Translation Subcommittee of the Centre for Research Excellence in Newborn Medicine. Karli’s research is focused on understanding and improving the parent-child relationship and developmental and mental health outcomes for children and parents after premature birth or neonatal illness.  

Emily Twitchell

Ms Emily Twitchell

Emily is a Research Nurse in Newborn Research. Emily qualified as a nurse in Manchester in 2007 and has worked in both Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive cares in the UK and Australia. Throughout her time working in these areas she has developed a keen interest in improving long term outcomes for preterm infants which has led her into research. Emily has been working in newborn research since 2016 and works on a variety of studies including TASTE, OPTIMIST and PROTECT.

Jennifer Walsh

Dr Jennifer Walsh

Jennifer is a trained general paediatrician from Ireland who came to Melbourne in 2008. She has completed an MD entitled "Neuroimaging and Neurobehaviour in Moderate and Late Preterm Infants".  She works as a Consultant in the Neonatal Intensive and Special Care nurseries and with the Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) service at the Royal Children's Hospital.

Amir Zayegh

Dr Amir Zayegh

Amir is a consultant Neonatologist who trained in Melbourne and Oxford. He has completed a Masters in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, and is currently completing his Certificate in Clinician Performed Ultrasound. His clinical and research interests include ethical issues in the neonatal intensive care, and functional echocardiography in the neonate.

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