Baby in an incubator

The art and science of newborn care

The Neonatal Update has its origins in a meeting established over 40 years ago by the late Professor David Harvey, former head of the Department of Paediatrics at Imperial College London, a distinguished paediatrician known for having championed training in neonatal medicine at a time when the speciality had no official recognition. Professor Neena Modi took over leadership of the meeting in 2001, adding the strapline “the science of newborn care”. In 2023 Dr Sabita Uthaya and Dr Vimal Vasu, who both worked closely on the Neonatal Update for many years, took over the leadership in developing “the art and science of newborn care”.

Dr Sabita Uthaya, Director of the Neonatal Update is a Professor of Practice (Neonatal Medicine) at Imperial College London and Consultant in Neonatal Medicine Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust. Her research interests are in neonatal nutrition and the long-term health outcomes of nutrition in premature babies. 

Vimal Vasu who is Co-director of the Neonatal Update is a consultant neonatologist who currently works at the regional neonatal unit at the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, Kent. He completed his MD (Res) degree at Imperial College in 2011 and a Masters in Healthcare Law and Ethics (University of Dundee). He continues to be actively involved in clinical research with interests in telomere biology, communication and nutrition. He holds an honorary senior lectureship post at the School of Biosciences, University of Kent. He is also actively involved in global child health through work with an NGO in Haiti.

The Neonatal Update meeting is notable for including contributions from a very wide range of world-leading scientists and clinical researchers, many of whom have no direct involvement in newborn care. The aim is to introduce delegates to areas of science they might not necessarily meet in their day-to-day activities, widen horizons and foster new collaborations. The programme provides ample time for lecturers to explain their subject in depth and for discussion, comment and questions. Delegates attend from around the world and a growing proportion returning again and again.

Details of the Neonatal Update 2024 can be found on the Neonatal Update 2024 site.

Feedback from previous meetings

“Great variety of topics. Enjoyed mix of very clinical lectures and more academic lectures and some ethical topics.”

“A fantastic meeting with very relevant topics. Counting on being back next year”

“This was the most well-organised conference I have had the pleasure of attending. Every detail was taken care of. The speakers were excellent. It is rare to attend a conference where the duration of a talk is one hour - I think this is a great idea. It allows experienced speakers to share their work and passion without rushing and leaves ample time for questions and discussion - something which is often lacking in other conferences. The programme was really interesting and stimulating and opened my eyes to many areas of medicine I had not previously given much thought to."

Young Investigator Awards

Neonatal Update traditionally offers two “young investigator” awards providing an opportunity for neonatal scientists transitioning or newly transitioned to independent research careers to present their work and discuss their programmes with a senior, international audience. Further details can be found on the Young Investigator Award page.