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Career Summary


Having trained in Paediatrics in the U.K., I sub-specialised in neonatal medicine. I have a strong background in academic neonatal medicine, undertaking my research training with Professor Malcolm Levene in Leeds. I have experience at a senior level in major teaching hospitals in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, holding specialist qualifications in both the U.K. and Australia. I have been involved at these sites in the running of research studies ranging from physiology studies through to international multi-centred trials and thus have extensive experience of the difficulties of recruitment and involvement of sick neonates in clinical trials. Most of my research has examined aspects of cardiovascular function in neonates. In particular I have experience of a variety of vascular flow methods, including Ultrasonic Doppler, laser Doppler, flow probes (in animals) and xenon cerebral blood flow. I continued my interest in neonatal cardiovascular adaptation through my time as Neonatal Senior Lecturer in Auckland and to my current post in Newcastle.

I am now a part of the Mothers and Babies Research Centre of the Hunter Medical Research Institute, directed by Professor Roger Smith and I have developed the project on the effect of gender on neonatal cardiovascular adaptation with Dr Vicki Clifton. This work has been developed from work that we have done looking at the mechanisms of microvascular control in pregnancy and the effects of preeclampsia. I have been responsible for the microvascular part of these studies. Local competitive grants and an equipment grant from local industry (2000-4) have funded this work, which has recently been performed as part of the PhD of Dr Michael Stark and has lead to international recognition, prize awards and several publications.

I work 50% of my time as a Senior Staff Specialist Neonatologist and as 50% as Senior lecturer the Faculty of Health of the University of Newcastle. Research is an integral part of that work and I am currently undertaking a self-funded PhD. I have recently supervised 1 PhD student, and 2 honours students and two summer studentships, all awarded on time. I currently supervise 2 PhD students. I am actively involved in encouraging research participation by junior medical, nursing and allied health staff. I am the convenor of the ABC Children’s Research network – a group of over 100 children’s researchers in NSW. I am the paediatric representative on the Research Council of the Hunter Medical Research Institute.

I am currently or have recently been local coordinator for several national and international studies aimed at improving outcomes for the sick or preterm infant including: the ICE trial (NHMRC ID:216725), BOOST2 (NHMRC ID: 352386), the Proprems trial and I was an Associate Investigator on The Bubbles for Babies trial of level 2 CPAP (NHMRC ID:253790) and DAISY trial of developmental outcomes of surgical infants (March of Dimes, US,). I am a PI on the TORPIDO study of oxygen targeting in the preterm and on the PremiRemi trial. I currently am sole CI on NHMRC grant 569285 2009-2013.


  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne - England


Research keywords

  • Cardiovascular
  • Fetal Development
  • Microvascular
  • Neonatal Intensive Care
  • Neonatal Survival
  • Neonate
  • Paediatrics
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Sex Differences

Research expertise

Ian is a Senior Staff Specialist in neonatal medicine within the John Hunter Children's Hospital and Associate Professor in Paediatrics and Child Health, Newcastle University. Ian's own research program is focused on cardiovascular adaptation of newborns following preterm birth, for which he holds a sole investigator NHMRC grant and has a developing research group. He leads the Newcastle Neonatal Research Group, within the Mother and Babies Research Centre of HMRI. Ian is currently local coordinator, AI or CI for several national and international studies aimed at improving outcomes for sick or preterm infants

Fields of Research

110399Clinical Sciences Not Elsewhere Classified45
110299Cardiovascular Medicine And Haematology Not Elsewhere Classified10


Dr Hannah Palliser and Ms Rebecca Dyson, University of Newcastle (2010-ongoing): This project focuses on microvascular function in the preterm neonate and uses the guinea pig as an animal model for preterm birth. Two years of local funding has been awarded for this research, which supports the work of 1 PhD student and 1 honours student. One publication has been accepted and 9 conference abstracts have been presented on this work.

Dr Yoga Kandasamy, Townsville Hospital (2009-ongoing): This collaboration is exploring the relationship between kidney size and function in preterm babies and relating this to the appearance of the blood vessels in the retina. It is hoped this research will increase our insight into the risk of chronic renal failure as premature infants grow.

Dr. Barbara Lingwood (University of Queensland) and Em Prof Eugine Lumbers (University New South Wales): Newborn Pigs are being used to explore the cardiovascular adaptation of preterm neonates. The research combines expertise in heart structure and control along with expertise in microvascular blood flow.

Dr Susie Lord, Alison Jones and Kate O’Hara (University of Newcastle): A collaboration focusing on neonatal pharmacology. In particular, this collaboration looks at the use of remifentanil; a fast acting, short lived opioid; in neonates for pain relief during intensive care procedures.

Associate Professor Vicki Clifton, Dr Michael Stark and Dr Nicolette Hodyl (University of Adelaide): The collaborators within this group provide expertise in placental physiology, fetal growth, neonatal adaptation and neonatal immune development. This collaboration has recently resulted in a publication on the the Influence of fetal sex and antenatal betamethasone exposure on the preterm microvasculature.

Current clinical trials:

Boost II (University of Sydney): Very premature babies may need treatment with oxygen because their lungs are not fully developed but a premature baby's eyes, lungs or brain can be harmed by too much or too little oxygen in the blood for long periods. The purpose of this study is to understand which blood oxygen level (oxygen saturation) is better for very premature babies.

TORPIDO (University of New South Wales): When babies are born they may need some oxygen to help them recover from the birth process. We have switched from using 100% oxygen for all babies to using air and increasing oxygen as required in term babies as this has been shown to improve their outcomes. This study is looking to see if we should be doing the same thing or continue with 100% oxygen in premature babies at delivery.

Australian Placental Transfusion Study (APTS) (North Shore Heart Research Foundation): This trial is testing the benefits of a placental transfusion at birth on cardiac function and outcome in preterm infants. It involves delaying the clamping of the umbilical cord for up the 60 seconds.

AEEG (Murdoch Children's Research Institute): Seizures in the newborn infant are common and may be harmful to the developing brain. They are not always recognised. This study investigates whether or not treating all seizures detected using a bedside brain activity monitor improves developmental outcome, compared to just treating seizures that doctors recognise.

High-flow nasal cannulae trial (HFNC): A multicentre, randomised controlled trial (University of Newcastle): This study aims to answer the question of whether High Flow Nasal Cannulae (HFNC), a gentle, easy-to-use new way of providing support for babies with breathing diificulties, can be used in special care nurseries to significantly reduce the number of babies who need transfer to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) 100s kms away.


Administrative expertise

Consultant neonatal senior staff specialist

Chair of research subcommittee of Hunter Children’s Research Executive

HMRI representation on NSW Paediatric Research Network Committee

Course Coordinator for B Med Sci University of Newcastle.

200-2004 Treasurer of Hunter Paediatric Society

HMRI representation on National Paediatric Research Network Committee

Convenor of ABC Children's Research Network


Teaching keywords

  • Fetal Development
  • Neonatal Intensive Care
  • Neonatal Survival
  • Neonate
  • Paediatrics
  • Reproductive Medicine

Teaching expertise


Tutor University of Manchester; organising curriculum delivery, monitoring teaching, individual student supervision, as well as organising OSCE examination for the entire year (200+ students)

Research fellow Leeds University; Curriculum delivery through individual student tutoring, small group seminars and assessment through MCQ and OSCE examination at both St James's University Hospital and Leeds Infirmary.

Senior Lecturer in Neonatology, University of Auckland; Undergraduate curriculum delivery for 4th yr medical students. Elective research student supervision.

University of Newcastle; Organisation of neonatal component of 4th year undergraduate paediatric curriculum. Collegiate development of the paediatric curriculum over the years (only conjoint to regularly attend discipline meetings for past 10 years). Teaching into Biomedical Science, Nursing, Medicine, Education and Sports Sciences. Supervision of research attachments and elective projects for Biomedical, Biotech, Psychology and Medical students, University of Newcastle and overseas elective students (approx 4 student projects supervised per year, excluding overseas). Exam duties (questions written, reviewed and marked, summative projects, clinical exams and OSCE).


Informal teaching on a regular basis for clinical MRCP (past) and FRACP (current) candidates.

Specialist neonatal nursing and Neonatal Nurse Practioner courses at Leeds, Auckland and Newcastle.

PBL training and delivery, University of Newcastle.

‘Teaching on the Run’ course as participant and then teacher.

Neonatal Advanced Life Support workshops on regular basis.

Introduction of regular performance appraisal tools for basic and advance trainees in NICU (prior to RACP recommendation).

Introduction of Minicex assessment for basic and advance trainees in NICU (prior to RACP recommendation).

AMC work based assessments for the past 2 years

Successful supervision of PhD candidature of Dr Michael Stark and 2 previous research honours students. 3 further current PhD students (on track) and another commencing 2012.

I have an increasing interest in the methodology of assessment examined at undergraduate level in 3 countries and continue to do so locally. I have set questions for and examined for the Diploma in Obstetrics for the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Australia and New Zealand and have examined for the national postgraduate FRACP clinical exam.


Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions5
Total current UoN Masters EFTSL0.4
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL0.95

For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.

Current Supervision

ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20142016M Philosophy (Physiotherapy)Co-SupervisorHead Moulding in Preterm Infants: Incidence, Severity and Risk Factor
20122018PhD (Paediatrics)Principal SupervisorEffect of Inotropes and Volume on the Peripheral Microvascular Flow in the Preterm
20112019PhD (Paediatrics)Co-SupervisorDevelopmental and Environmental Determinants on Neonatal Pharmacology
20102014PhD (Paediatrics)Principal SupervisorUnderstanding Microvascular Function in Preterm Neonates
20042008PHD Medical Science
University of Newcastle
Co-SupervisorMicrovascualar blood flow and glucocorticoid metabolism in the preterm infant

Past Supervision

YearProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
2013PhD (Reproductive Medicine)Co-SupervisorRelationship Between Renal Volume, Prematurity, Birth Weight and Retinal Microvasculature
2008PhD (Medicine)Consultant SupervisorThe Influence of Sex-Specific Differences in Feto-Placental Glucocorticoid Metabolism on the Preterm Microvasculature and Transitional Circulation

Conjoint Professor Ian Wright

Work Phone(02) 4921 4362
Fax(02) 4921 4408
PositionConjoint Professor
School of Medicine and Public Health
Faculty of Health and Medicine
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Focus AreaPaediatrics and Child Health
JHH 3641,
John Hunter Hospital,
New Lambton Hts 2305