EGA Institute for Women's Health


Development of Neonatal Sensory Processing

neonatal baby
Preterm neonates are born during a critical phase of their brain development and are exposed to the external world ahead of time. Many of them can spend their first months of life in neonatal care, where they are exposed to different and more intense stimuli than those normally experienced in the womb, especially when needing repeated clinically-required painful procedures. This experience may affect the way their brain develops and in particular interfere with the maturation of those circuits that are responsible for processing the external environment. We are a team of neonatologists, neuroscientists, clinical neurophysiologists and statistical scientists who are investigating how brain activity changes with development, and how it responds to stimulation from the surroundings, including while having clinically required procedures. To do this, we use non-invasive neurophysiological and imaging techniques. Our aim is to understand when the framework for processing the sensory environment matures to inform clinical care of newborn infants during hospitalization and how this may affect their long term neurodevelopment.


Team Leads

Dr Judith Meek

Dr Judith Meek

Research Group Clinical Lead

Research Profile - J Meek

Dr Maria Fitzgerald

Professor Maria Fitzgerald

Research Group Scientific Co-Lead

Iris Profile - M Fitzgerald

Dr Lorenzo Fabrizi

Dr Lorenzo Fabrizi

Research Group Scientific Co-Lead

Iris Profile: L Fabrizi


Other members of the Team


Our team is based on two sites:

  • The UCLH Neonatal Unit, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing, 25 Grafton Way, London, WC1E 6DB
  • Department of Neuroscience Physiology & Pharmacology, Medawar Building, Gower St, London WC1E 6BT,  UCL


  • Dr Tomoki Arichi, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Perinatal Imaging, King's College London, UK
  • Prof Sofia Olhede, Professor of Statistical Data Science, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Prof Rebecca Pillai-Riddell, Professor of Psychology, York University, Canada
  • Prof Nikki Robertson, Professor of Perinatal Neuroscience, UCLH, UK
  • Prof Etienne Burdet, Professor of Human Robotics, Imperial College London, UK
  • Dr Ronit Pressler, Consultant in Clinical Neurophysiology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, UK
  • Dr Christos Papadelis, Director of Research Centre at Cook Children's Health Care, Dallas, US

Current and Previous Funding

 MRC, NIHR, Brain Research UK, Wellcome Trust