The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Karen Simmer

Professor Karen Simmer AO

Neonatal Research and Education, Centre for

Contact details
Centre for Neonatal Research and Education
The University of Western Australia (M551)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 9340 1262
+61 8 9340 1266
Email /

Professor of Newborn Medicine (Neonatal Research)
Paediatrics and Child Health, School of (SPACH)

Contact details
School of Paediatrics and Child Health (SPACH)
The University of Western Australia (M550)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 9340 1262
+61 8 9340 1266
Email /
MB BS Syd., PhD Lond., GradCertTertEd Flin., MRCP(UK), FRCPCH(UK), FRACP
Karen Simmer is Professor of Newborn Medicine at The University of Western Australia. She is Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at King Edward Memorial Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth. She is Director of the Perron Rotary Express Milk Bank (human milk bank) which was established in 2006 and is viewed around the world as the 'best practice' human milk bank.
She has paediatric specialist qualifications from the Australasian and British Colleges and was awarded a PhD in perinatal nutrition from London University.
She is co-director of the UWA Centre for Neonatal Research and Education. Prof Simmer was elected to the UWA Senate and was Chair of the Academic Board UWA 2009-2012 during introduction of new undergraduate and postgraduate courses. She is Chair of the Nutrition Reference Group for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Her current research interests are in neonatal nutrition and infection.
Key research
Nutrition of the preterm infant – enteral and parenteral
Human milk and breastfeeding
Human milk banks
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and child development
Neonatal infection – innate immunity and late-onset sepsis
Karen Simmer has published 134 original peer-reviewed research articles since 1983. A full listing of these is available from the 'research profile and publications' link at the bottom of this page. A selection of Prof Simmer's most important papers follows:

Strunk T, Doherty D, Jacques A, Simmer K, Richmond P, Kohan R, Charles A, Burgner D.
Histological chorioamnionitis is associated with reduced risk of late-onset sepsis in preterm infants. Pediatrics 2012; Jan 129(1): e134-41.
(data to suggest early fetal exposure to infections primes the immune system such that the preterm infant is less vulnerable to sepsis.)

Makrides M, Gibson RA, McPhee AJ, Collins CT, Davis PG, Doyle LW, Simmer K, Colditz PB, Morris S, Smithers LG, Wilson K, Ryan P.
Neurodevelopmental outcomes of preterm infants fed high-dose docosahexaenoic acid: a randomised controlled trail. JAMA 2009:301 (2):175-82.
(68 citations in 3 years, largest RCT in most at-risk population of preterm infants)

Hartmann BT, Pang WW, Keil AD, Hartmann PE, Simmer K.
Best practice guidelines for the operation of a donor human milk bank in Australia. Early Human Dev 2007; 83(10): 667-73.
(establishment of risk management for donor human milk in an unregulated environment. System subsequently adapted nationally and internationally)

Deshpande GC, Simmer K, Mori T, Croft K.
Parenteral lipid emulsions based on olive oil compared with soybean oil in preterm (<28 weeks) neonates: a randomised controlled trail, J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2009; 49(5): 619-25.
(First of 3 RCT of novel lipid emulsions in very preterm infant, vulnerable to nutritional disturbance and disability)

Dunstan JA, Simmer K, Dixon G, Prescott SL.
Cognitive assessment of children aged 2.5 years after maternal fish oil supplementation in pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial. Arch Dis Child, Fetal and Neonatal Ed 2008; 93(1): F45-50, published with editorial.
(one of the earliest papers to demonstrate the safety to the fetus of high-dose fish oil supplements re growth and potential benefit re: neurodevelopment)

Brooks JM, Travadi JN, Patole SK, Doherty D, Simmer K.
Is surgical ligation of patent ductus arteriosis necessary? The Western Australian experience of conservative management. Arch Dis Childhood, Fetal and Neonatal Ed 2005; 90: 235-39.
(38 citations, one of the first papers with data to demonstrate that surgical intervention of PDA may not be necessary and may even be harmful)

Makrides M, Neumann M, Simmer K, Gibson RA.
Are long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids essential nutrients in infancy? Lancet 1995; 345: 1463-68.
(342 citations, innovative origin clinical science)

Makrides M, Neumann MA, Byard RW, Simmer K, Gibson RA.
The fatty acid composition of brain and erythrocytes in breast and formula fed infants. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1994;60:189-194.
(430 citations, one of the earliest papers to demonstrate that dietary fat influences brain composition and therefore likely function)

Simmer K, Lort-Phillips L, James C, Thompson RPH.
Double-blind randomised trial of zinc supplementation in pregnancy. European immerJournal of Clinical Nutrition. 1991;45:139-144.
(68 citations, prevention of fetal growth retardation)
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Winthrop Professor of Newborn Medicine, The University of Western Australia.
Co-Director, Centre for Neonatal Research and Education.
Director, Neonatal Intensive Care Units, King Edward Memorial and Princess Margaret Hospitals.
Director, Perron Rotary Express Milk Bank.
Funding received
Please see Full Profile link for list of grants received.
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

This Page

Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM