The PI has long studied behavioral development in rodents and contributed to basic knowledge of fetal sensory function, perinatal behavior, contact behavior (huddling), suckling, energy homeostasis, and parent-offspring interactions. This K18 project would provide mentoring in clinical approaches and perspectives in neonatology. A training sequence in the Cincinnati Children's Hospital's NIDCAP certification course, tutelage from a leader in infant feeding techniques for premature infants, and structured interactions with Drs. Steven Hoath and Marty Visscher (clinical and research neonatologists) are outlined. The mentors and their team welcome a merging of psychobiological methods with theirs;and an initial sequence of hypothesis-testing measures are proposed as probes into new studies of feeding onset in the unique developmental model of the prematurely born infant. The project promises new integrative approaches in basic research and potential to contribute to a significant healthcare challenge in neonatal intensive care.
This proposal is to provide mentoring in neonatology to a researcher with expertise in animal development, to enable a merging of two contrasting conditions that share behavior topics. The onset of feeding, a persistent problem with prematurely-born infants, will be the focal problem for the integrated research methods.
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