Grace Centre for Newborn Care

The Grace Centre for Newborn Care serves about 600 babies a year who need complex surgery around the time of birth. The Centre consists of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a High Dependency Unit and a Developmental Follow-up Clinic.  Our Research Department has an international reputation for research into all aspects of care for these infants, including their long term outcomes.

The aim of our research is to improve clinical practice. For example, we have found that infants who undergo major surgery are at risk of developmental delay, so we are tailoring our follow-up services to provide the best possible outcomes for these children.

Our researchers collaborate with multiple departments within the Sydney Children's Hospital Network, national and international colleagues. We also work collaboratively on many projects with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Clinical information on the Grace Centre for Newborn Care can be found on the Sydney Childrens Hospitals Network Grace Centre webpage

General enquiries should be directed to

Current projects

Psychosocial Research

  • Congenital Heart disease and Early suppoRt for family and Infant pSychological Health (CHERISH)
  • The social and emotional burden of having a baby with complex needs following neonatal surgery
  • Needs and stressors of parents in a surgical neonatal intensive care unit

Developmental Outcomes Research

  • Optimising motor learning for infants at risk of cerebral palsy using environmental and goal oriented interventions
  • Characteristics of childhood hospitalization for survivors of infants with abdominal wall defects
  • General movements assessment to predict one year outcomes after neonatal surgery
  • Severe neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia: neurodevelopmental follow-up study
  • DAISy: determining the outcomes at 8 years of age following infant surgery
  • Research into the aetiology and prevention of cerebral palsy

Clinical Research

  • Evaluation of lipid emulsions in Parenteral Nutrition associated liver disease in term infants
  • Predicting and preventing leukaemia in children with Down syndrome
  • Genetic testing in babies with congenital heart disease
  • Newborn Electrographic Seizure Trial (NEST)
  • Neonatal ultrasound in transport

The research team

> Professor Nadia Badawi, Head of Research

Nadia’s research spans all aspects of care for infants who need complex surgery around the time of birth. She is especially interested in cerebral palsy and works with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute to identify the best world research into a prevention and cure. Further information can be found on Nadia's University of Sydney profile page

> Dr Karen Walker, Clinical Research Fellow, email:

Karen’s research interest is the long term outcomes of newborn babies who undergo major surgery in the first few weeks of life. Karen’s work has led to expansion of the Grace Developmental Follow-up Clinic to identify as early as possible, which infants are at greatest risk of poor outcomes. Please visit Karen's University of Sydney profile page for more information.

> Associate Professor Kaye Spence AM, CNC in Neonatology, email:

Kaye's research interests include newborn pain, infant feeding, developmental care and other issues facing newborn babies who require surgery. Kaye is committed to translating evidence into practice and facilitates a Clinical Neonatal Nursing Fellowship to undertake a small research study in evidence to practice.

> Other Research Team Members

  • Dr Peter Barr, Neonatologist
  • Dr Kathryn Browning Carmo, Neonatologist
  • Angela Casey, Nurse Unit Manager
  • Susan Clarke, Social Worker

Key publications

McIntyre S, Blair E, Badawi N, Keogh JM, Nelson  KB (2014) Antecedents of Cerebral Palsy and of Perinatal Death in Term and Late Preterm Singletons. Obstetrics and Gynecology

Popat H, Browning Carmo K, Wall M, Berry A (2014) Potentially avoidable neonatal retrievals in NSW: a retrospective analysis. Medical Journal of Australia

Phad N, Trivedi A (2014) Post NEC intestinal strictures: Risk factors and clinical profile. Journal of Paediatric Surgery

Smithers-Sheedy H, Badawi N, Blair Eve et al. (2014) What constitutes cerebral palsy – in the twenty-first century? Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology

Abdel-Latif ME, Bajuk B, Ward M, Oei JL, Badawi N (2013) NSW and ACT Neonatal Intensive Care Units Audit Group.Neurodevelopmental outcomes of extremely premature infants conceived after assisted conception: a population based cohort study. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 98(3):F205-11

Badawi N, Keogh JM (2013) Causal pathways in cerebral palsy. J Paediatr Child Health 49(1):5-8.

Balegar V KK, Azeem MI, Spence K, Badawi N (2013) Extending total parenteral nutrition hang time in the neonatal intensive care unit: is it safe and cost effective? J Paediatr Child Health 49(1):E57-61.

McIntyre S, Taitz D, Keogh J, Goldsmith S, Badawi N, Blair E (2013) A systematic review of risk factors for cerebral palsy in children born at term in developed countries. Dev Med Child Neurol 55(6):499-508.