Professor Neena Modi next to an incubator in the neonatal unit

Focussing on the newborn baby, neonatal nutritional support and the later life impact of preterm birth

A diverse array of neonatal research is undertaken at Imperial College London.  

A multi-professional research group led by Professor Neena Modi is based at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Campus, within the School of Public Health. The group currently comprises around 26 staff and students. Their research questions centre upon the impact of neonatal nutrition on long-term health, and the later life impact of preterm birth. They carry out observational and interventional research including clinical trials. An important part of their work at the Neonatal Data Analysis Unit, is the use of “real-world data”, i.e. data recorded in the course of routine care, to improve the evidence-base for newborn care and enable research to be conducted more efficiently, rapidly and at a lower cost than currently possible. This research includes exciting new developments involving the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to the National Neonatal Research Database.

The National Neonatal Research Database was developed, and is lead and managed by Professor Modi’s group. The National Neonatal Research Database is an awarding winning national Information Asset and international resource, used in their own research and to support studies carried out by a wide range of clinical, academic, health services and policy researchers. The National Neonatal Research Database supports national audits and quality improvement programmes, work for the Department of Health, and Arm’s Length Bodies, and a wide range of research.

The Chelsea and Westminster neonatal research group collaborates with researchers in the UK, and around the world. They are a member of the UK Health Data Research Alliance, and co-investigators on the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centre, the Discover-NOW national data hub at Imperial College London, and the Maternal and Newborn Policy Research Unit at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford.

On the St Mary’s and Queen Charlottes & Chelsea Hospital campuses the Integrated Family Delivered Care (IFDC) programme has been developed. Led by Dr Jay Banerjee and Dr Aniko Deierl, and supported by a core group of allied healthcare professionals, nurses and veteran parents, this programme builds on pioneering work at the Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto and involves teaching and training parents to be primary carers in neonatal care settings, leading to a higher rate of breast milk feeding and early discharge of premature infants to home. The IFDC programme was funded by the Imperial Healthcare charity and has gone on to receive an HSJ award and Imperial Chairman’s award. IFDC has now become the standard of care on both campuses and ongoing research and quality improvement involves enriching the programme with additional early care interventions and building collaborations with the UK and International partners.

In addition, neonatal neurosciences and perinatal cardiovascular research are important components of the Neuroscience and Origins of Child Health and Disease themes respectively within the Centre.

Key research areas and theme leadership

Key research areas

  • Neonatal nutrition
  • Preterm care
  • Adult cardio-metabolic outcomes of preterm birth
  • Real-world health data

Theme lead

Professor Neena Modi
Professor of Neonatal Medicine

Neena Modi is Professor of Neonatal Medicine at Imperial College London. She has clinical duties as Honorary Consultant in Neonatal Medicine at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust where she contributes to a a team providing neonatal services for the tertiary medical and surgical perinatal unit for north-west London.

Further information on Professor Modi

Theme members