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Dr Karen Luyt

Neonatal Neurology and Health Outcomes in high risk infants

Karen Luyt read medicine in South Africa and received a CCST in Paediatrics (Neonatal Medicine) in the UK in 2004. She was appointed as a consultant in neonatal medicine in 2004 and as Walport Senior Lecturer in Neonatal Neuroscience in 2009. She works as a clinical neonatologist in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care unit at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, with special interests in intensive care and improving health outcomes in high risk infants. 

 Dr Luyt’s laboratory based research has focused on mechanisms of brain injury and regeneration in the newborn central nervous system. Her translational clinical research concerns genetic susceptibility indicators and MR Imaging biomarkers in the high risk newborn infant groups (preterm infants, term infants with perinatal asphyxia and infants with congenital cardiac disease). She completed a PhD in Neonatal Neuroscience in the MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity at the University of Bristol in 2006.

  • Structural and functional effects of preterm birth and complications on brain development (functional and structural MR imaging, MR Biomarkers and neurodevelopmental assessment).
  • Genetic susceptibility to brain injury in newborn infants and pharmacogenetic intervention.
  • Mechanisms of injury and repair in the developing central nervous system. Targeting novel neuroprotective pathways in immature white matter (in vitro and in vivo systems).
  • Health Services Research: Clinical care factors contributing to neurodevelopmental adverse outcomes for high risk infants (e.g infants with congenital heart disease, and congenital diaphragmatic hernia).


 Chief Investigator for 3 ongoing studies:

  • The Neonatal Gene Study; the largest multicentre genetic susceptibility study of preterm brain injury in the UK. This study is ongoing and has recruited 600 infants, linking DNA with functional neurodevelopmental and structural (imaging) outcomes.
  • School age outcome of the DRIFT (Drainage, Irrigation, and Fibrinolyitic Therapy) Trial. Functional outcome and brain imaging in children who received DRIFT for posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation.
  • CoHEART study; National study of neurodevelopmental outcomes after cardiac surgery in infancy.

Diseases related to this field of research

  • Neurodevelopment
  • Health Outcomes
  • Neonatal Mortality