Professional background

I have been consultant neonatologist at UCLH since 2003 and have a special interest in newborn brain protection and brain imaging and spectroscopy using MRI and MRS. I am the research lead of neonatology, Institute for Women’s Health at UCL.

I was lecturer in neonatology at Imperial College London from 1998-2003 where I completed my PhD in brain injury and pH in birth asphyxia. I have served as general secretary of the UK Neonatal Society and led the brain and development section of the European Society for Pediatric Research from 2003-2008.

I have co-edited the book Neonatal Cerebral investigation in 2008.

I lead the preclinical neuroprotection group to investigate new ways to protect the developing brain using a model of neonatal encephalopathy. My research team are basic scientists, physicists and neonatologists and focus on magnetic resonance biomarker development and validation in both my preclinical model and in babies.

My ten year vision is to develop a balanced therapy of compatible and complementary neuroprotective interventions that can be combined with maximal safety and efficacy; the aim is that this combination can then translate to the clinic to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes after perinatal asphyxia in all settings across the world.

Research interests

  • Optimising hypothermic neuroprotection of the newborn as a therapy for birth asphyxia
  • Introducing adjunct therapies to improve outcomes after birth asphyxia
  • Neuroinflammation and its role in brain injury
  • Development of MRI biomarkers of outcome




Robertson NJ, Marlow N. Depth and duration of Cooling: first estimates were correct. JAMA (in press)

Alonso-Alconada D, Broad K, Bainbridge A, Chandrasekaran M, Faulkner S, Kerenyi A, Hassell J, Rocha-Ferreira E, Hristova M, Fleiss B, Bennett K, Kelen D, Cady E, Gressens P, Golay X, Robertson NJ. Brain Cell Death is Reduced With Cooling by 3.5 to 5oC but Increased with Cooling by 8.5oC in a piglet Asphyxia Model. Stroke (in press)

Robertson NJ, Thayyil S, Cady EB, Raivich G. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy biomarkers in term perinatal asphyxial encephalopathy: from neuropathological correlates to future clinical applications. Curr Pediatr Rev. 2014;10(1):37-47

Magnesium is not consistently neuroprotective for perinatal hypoxia-ischemia in term-equivalent models in preclinical studies: a systematic review.
Galinsky R, Bennet L, Groenendaal F, Lear CA, Tan S, van Bel F, Juul SE, Robertson NJ, Mallard C, Gunn AJ. Dev Neurosci. 2014;36(2):73-82.

Tann CJ, Nkurunziza P, Nakakeeto M, Oweka J, Kurinczuk JJ, Were J, Nyombi N, Hughes P, Willey BA, Elliott AM, Robertson NJ, Klein N, Harris KA. Prevalence of bloodstream pathogens is higher in neonatal encephalopathy cases vs. controls using a novel panel of real-time PCR assays. PLoS One. 2014 May 16;9(5):e97259

Ezzati M, Broad K, Kawano G, Faulkner S, Hassell J, Fleiss B, Gressens P, Fierens I, Rostami J, Maze M, Sleigh JW, Anderson B, Sanders RD, Robertson NJ. Pharmacokinetics of dexmedetomidine combined with therapeutic hypothermia in a piglet asphyxia model. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2014 Jul;58(6):733-42.

Mallard C, Davidson JO, Tan S, Green CR, Bennet L, Robertson NJ, Gunn AJ. Astrocytes and microglia in acute cerebral injury underlying cerebral palsy associated with preterm birth. Pediatr Res. 2014 Jan;75(1-2):234-40.

Melbourne A, Kendall GS, Cardoso MJ, Gunny R, Robertson NJ, Marlow N, Ourselin S. Preterm birth affects the developmental synergy between cortical folding and cortical connectivity observed on multimodal MRI. Neuroimage. 2014 Apr 1;89:23-34.


Melbourne A, Eaton-Rosen Z, Bainbridge A, Kendall GS, Cardoso MJ, Robertson NJ, Marlow N, Ourselin S. Measurement of myelin in the preterm brain: multi-compartment diffusion imaging and multi-component T2 relaxometry. Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 2013;16(Pt 2):336-44.

Kendall GS, Melbourne A, Johnson S, Price D, Bainbridge A, Gunny R, Huertas-Ceballos A, Cady EB, Ourselin S, Marlow N, Robertson NJ. White matter NAA/Cho and Cho/Cr ratios at MR spectroscopy are predictive of motor outcome in preterm infants. Radiology. 2014 Apr;271(1):230-8.

Sanders RD, Hassell J, Davidson AJ, Robertson NJ, Ma D. The Impact of Anaesthetics and Surgery on Neurodevelopment: an update. British Journal of Anaesthesia. 2013 Jun;110 Suppl 1:i53-72.

Hassell J, Reiter R, Robertson NJ. Melatonin: role in neurodevelopment during the perinatal period. Fetal and Maternal Medicine. In press

Uria-Avellanal C, Robertson NJ. Na⁺/H⁺ exchangers and intracellular pH in perinatal brain injury. Transl Stroke Res. 2014 Feb;5(1):79-98.

Lee AC, Kozuki N, Blencowe H, Vos T, Bahalim A, Darmstadt GL, Niermeyer S, Ellis M, Robertson NJ, Cousens S, Lawn JE. Intrapartum-related neonatal encephalopathy incidence and impairment at regional and global levels for 2010 with trends from 1990. Pediatr Res. 2013 Dec;74 Suppl 1:50-72.

Bainbridge A, Tachtsidis I, Faulkner SD, Price D, Zhu T, Baer E, Broad KD, Thomas DL, Cady EB, Robertson NJ, Golay X. Brain mitochondrial oxidative metabolism during and after cerebral hypoxia-ischemia studied by simultaneous phosphorus magnetic-resonance and broadband near-infrared spectroscopy.
Neuroimage. 2013 Aug 17. pii: S1053-8119(13)00870-7.

Horn AR, Swingler GH, Myer L, Linley LL, Chandrasekaran M, Robertson NJ. Early clinical predictors of a severely abnormal amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram at 48 hours in cooled neonates. Acta Paediatr. 2013 Aug;102(8):e378-84.

Azzopardi D, Robertson NJ, Kapetanakis A, Griffiths J, Rennie JM, Mathieson SR, Edwards AD. Anticonvulsant effect of xenon on neonatal asphyxial seizures. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2013 Sep;98(5):F437-9.


Melbourne A, Kendall GS, Cardoso MJ, Gunney R, Robertson NJ, Marlow N, Ourselin S. Radial structure in the preterm cortex; persistence of the preterm phenotype at term equivalent age? Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 2012;15(Pt 3):256-63.

Roberson NJ, Kato T, Bainbridge A, Chandrasekaran M, Iwata O, Kapetanakis A, Faulkner S, Cheong J, Iwata S, Hristova M, Cady EB, Raivich G. Methyl-isobutyl Amiloride Reduces Brain Lac/NAA, Cell Death and Microglial Activation in a Perinatal Asphyxia Model. J Neurochem 2012 Nov 22. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12097. [Epub ahead of print]

Robertson NJ, Faulkner S, Fleiss B, Bainbridge A, Andorka C, Price D, Powell E, Lecky-Thompson L, Thei L, Chandrasekaran M, Hristova M, Cady E, Gressens P, Golay X, Raivich G. Melatonin Augments Hypothermic Neuroprotection in a Perinatal Asphyxia Piglet Model. Brain 2012 Nov 26. [Epub ahead of print]
Horn AR, Swingler GH, Myer L, Harrison MC, Linley LL, Nelson C, Tooke L, Rhoda NR, Robertson NJ. Defining hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in newborn infants: benchmarking in a South African population. J Perinat Med. 2012 Aug 28. doi:pii: /j/jpme.ahead-of-print/jpm-2012-0107/jpm-2012-0107.xml. 10.1515/jpm-2012-0107.

Bainbridge A, Kendall GS, Vita ED, Hagmann C, Kapetanakis A, Cady EB, Robertson NJ. Regional neonatal brain absolute thermometry by (1) H MRS. NMR Biomed. 2012 Oct 16. doi: 10.1002/nbm.2879.

Faulkner SD, Downie NA, Mercer CJ, Kerr SA, Sanders RD, Robertson NJ. A xenon recirculating ventilator for the newborn piglet: developing clinical applications of xenon for neonates. Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2012 Dec;29(12):577-85.

Cardoso MJ, Melbourne A, Kendall GS, Modat M, Robertson NJ, Marlow N, Ourselin S. AdaPT: An adaptive preterm segmentation algorithm for neonatal brain MRI. Neuroimage. 2012 Aug 14;65C:97-108.

Yang T, Zhuang L, Rei Fidalgo AM, Petrides E, Terrando N, Wu X, Sanders RD, Robertson NJ, Johnson MR, Maze M, Ma D. Xenon and sevoflurane provide analgesia during labor and fetal brain protection in a perinatal rat model of hypoxia-ischemia. PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37020.

Bennet L, Tan S, Van den Heuij L, Derrick M, Groenendaal F, van Bel F, Juul S, Back SA, Northington F, Robertson NJ, Mallard C, Gunn AJ. Cell therapy for neonatal hypoxia-ischemia and cerebral palsy. Ann Neurol. 2012 May;71(5):589-600.

Kendall GS, Hristova M, Zbarsky V, Clements A, Peebles DM, Robertson NJ, Raivich G.Distribution of pH changes in mouse neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic insult. Dev Neurosci. 2011;33(6):505-18.

Robertson NJ, Tan S, Groenendaal F, van Bel F, Juul SE, Bennet L, Derrick M, Back SA, Valdez RC, Northington F, Gunn AJ, Mallard C. Which neuroprotective agents are ready for bench to bedside translation in the newborn infant? J Pediatr. 2012 Apr;160(4):544-552.e4.

Kerenyi A, Kelen D, Faulkner SD, Bainbridge A, Chandrasekaran M, Cady EB, Golay X, Robertson NJ. Systemic effects of whole-body cooling to 35 °C, 33.5 °C, and 30 °C in a piglet model of perinatal asphyxia: implications for therapeutic hypothermia. Pediatr Res. 2012 May;71(5):573-82.

Moroz T, Banaji M, Robertson NJ, Cooper CE, Tachtsidis I. Computational modelling of the piglet brain to simulate near-infrared spectroscopy and magnetic resonance spectroscopy data collected during oxygen deprivation. J R Soc Interface. 2012 Jul 7;9(72):1499-509.


Thayyil S, Sebire NJ, Chitty LS, Wade A, Olsen O, Gunny RS, Offiah A, Saunders DE, Owens CM, Chong WK, Robertson NJ, Taylor AM.Post mortem magnetic resonance imaging in the fetus, infant and child: a comparative study with conventional autopsy (MaRIAS Protocol).BMC Pediatr. 2011 Dec 22;11:120.

Cardoso MJ, Melbourne A, Kendall GS, Modat M, Hagmann CF, Robertson NJ, Marlow N, Ourselin S. Adaptive neonate brain segmentation. Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 2011;14(Pt 3):378-86.

Higgins RD, Raju T, Edwards AD, Azzopardi DV, Bose CL, Clark RH, Ferriero DM, Guillet R, Gunn AJ, Hagberg H, Hirtz D, Inder TE, Jacobs SE, Jenkins D, Juul S, Laptook AR, Lucey JF, Maze M, Palmer C, Papile L, Pfister RH, Robertson NJ, Rutherford M, Shankaran S, Silverstein FS, Soll RF, Thoresen M, Walsh WF; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Hypothermia Workshop Speakers and Moderators. Hypothermia and other treatment options for neonatal encephalopathy: an executive summary of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD workshop. J Pediatr. 2011 Nov;159(5):851-858

Cady EB, Penrice J, Robertson NJ. Improved reproducibility of MRS regional brain thermometry by 'amplitude-weighted combination'. NMR Biomed. 2011 Aug;24(7):865-72.

Faulkner S, Bainbridge A, Kato T, Chandrasekaran M, Hristova M, Liu M, Kapetanakis A, Evans s, De Vita E, Kelen D, Sanders R, Thayyil S, Edwards AD, Maze M, Cady EB, Raivich G, Robertson NJ.  Xenon augmented hypothermia reduces early lactate/NAA and cell death in Perinatal Asphyxia. Ann Neurol 2011;70(1):133-150


Kendall GS, Kapetanakis A, Ratnavel N, Azzopardi D, Robertson NJ; Cooling on Retrieval Study Group. Passive cooling for initiation of therapeutic hypothermia in neonatal encephalopathy. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2010 Nov;95(6):F408-12.

Thayyil S, Chitty LS, Robertson NJ, Taylor AM, Sebire NJ. Minimally invasive fetal postmortem examination using magnetic resonance imaging and computerised tomography: current evidence and practical issues. Prenat Diagn. 2010 Aug;30(8):713-8.

Hagmann C, Robertson NJ, Acolet D, Chan D, Onda S, Nyombi N, Nakakeeto M, Cowan F. Cranial ultrasound findings in well newborn Ugandan infants. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2010 Sep;95(5):F338-44.

Asaduzzaman M, Chaussalet TJ, Adeyemi S, Chahed S, Hawdon J, Wood D, Robertson NJ. Towards effective capacity planning in a perinatal network centre. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2010 Jul;95(4):F283-7.

Thayyil S, Chandrasekaran M, Taylor A, Bainbridge A, Cady EB, Chong WK, Murad S, Omar RZ, Robertson NJ. Cerebral magnetic resonance biomarkers in neonatal encephalopathy: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2010 Feb;125(2):e382-95.

Thayyil S, Cleary JO, Sebire NJ, Scott RJ, Chong K, Gunny R, Owens CM, Olsen OE, Offiah AC, Parks HG, Chitty LS, Price AN, Yousry TA, Robertson NJ, Lythgoe MF, Taylor AM. Post-mortem examination of human fetuses: a comparison of whole-body high-field MRI at 9.4 T with conventional MRI and invasive autopsy. Lancet. 2009 Aug 8;374(9688):467-75.

Thayyil S, Chandrasekaran M, Chitty LS, Wade A, Skordis-Worrall J, Bennett-Britton I, Cohen M, Withby E, Sebire NJ, Robertson NJ, Taylor AM Diagnostic accuracy of post-mortem magnetic resonance imaging in fetuses, children and adults: a systematic review. Eur J Radiol. 2010 Jul;75(1):e142-8.