As a neonatologist, I care for newborns who require critical care during the neonatal period. These patients include infants born preterm, infants born with critical illnesses or who have developed critical illnesses during the neonatal period, and infants with congenital anomalies that require surgical management during the neonatal period.
I advocate for family-centered care because it supports both the infant going through critical care and the family trying their best to assist their new family member. I make sure that the family is informed of the infant's medical condition and that we empower the family by having them participate in the care of the infant when possible. Having the family's participation in the treatment, such as skin-to-skin care, breastfeeding and frequent positive interaction, will benefit the infant.
For many families, their child's admission to NICU is a traumatic event. These families are under significant stress and at risk of experiencing psychological symptoms. I try everything I can to help families have a positive experience in the NICU and enjoy their new child even though it can be challenging at times.
When I was a pediatric resident in Japan, it struck me that being a neonatologist requires immense knowledge, procedural dexterity and communicational skills. Good communication maximizes the team effort to treat critically ill babies and support their families. This realization led me to seek further opportunities in neonatology. I joined a neonatal research project in Japan, where I gained a great deal of research experience and the mindfulness of how vital research is to the advancement of neonatology.
I also realized that while neonatologists do an excellent job saving many babies' lives, there is room for improvement in the neurodevelopmental outcomes of infants who went through critical illness during the neonatal period. Thus, I expanded into the study of the neonatal brain.
After my pediatric training at Keio University in Japan, I came to the United States. I joined a research team at Wayne State University, where I became familiar with a functional brain-mapping method utilized by Dr. Eishi Asano and his team. We showed that our brain mapping method helped predict language impairment after brain surgery of epilepsy patients.
I won the 2016 Best Oral Presentation award and third place for my poster presentation, at the annual Mid-Michigan Research Day. Only nine abstracts out of more than 100 were selected for oral presentation. It’s unusual to win for both the oral presentation and the poster category in the same year.
While at the University of California, San Francisco, I worked with Drs. Edward Chang and Srikantan Nagarajan to investigate the neural mechanism of speech perception using magnetoencephalography (MEG). We showed how the speech is encoded in the human brain by assessing the brain’s response to natural speech and slowed speech. Our finding has the potential to be useful in understanding how children process speech in their brains.
Building upon my previous research work, I leveraged the resources available at Cincinnati Children’s, including the Communication Sciences Research team directed by Dr. David Moore and the MEG Research team headed by Dr. Jing Xiang. I am motivated to study cortical speech processing in children at risk of developmental auditory and language problems, including those who graduated from the NICU.
I live with my wife and two children. We enjoy spending time together at local parks during my free time.
Neonatology; newborns with critical illnesses; neonatal encephalopathy
Early detection of neurodevelopmental impairment; early intervention; language development; speech perception; M/EEG
Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics