Dr. Mussatto is a scientist and Co-Director of Cardiac Research in the Herma Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW) and Associate Professor of Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Dr. Mussatto is Co-Director and research PI for the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up Program at CHW. Established in 2007, this program was the first of its kind in the nation. This work has documented longitudinal development in children with congenital heart disease (CHD) and factors which put children at higher risk for developmental delays. Dr. Mussatto is recognized as an international leader in this area and has been asked to educate others about the evaluation and management of neurodevelopmental outcomes in children with CHD.
Dr. Mussatto’s career path over the past 28 years includes transitions from bedside nurse to research coordinator to principal investigator. She has been engaged in clinical research with children and families with CHD for more than 15 years. Dr. Mussatto has extensive experience in the design, conduct, coordination, interpretation and dissemination of research findings in this population, and a strong record of extramural funding. Her program of research is focused on understanding and optimizing the psychosocial and functional outcomes of pediatric heart disease for affected individuals and their families.
Head of the Division of Neurology and the Centre for Brain & Mental Health at the Hospital for Sick Children, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, and Senior Scientist in the Neuroscience & Mental Health Program at the Research Institute of SickKids. He holds the Bloorview Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Paediatric Neuroscience, and was previously a Canada Research Chair in Neonatal Neuroscience.
Leading a multidisciplinary team, his research program focuses on better understanding brain injury and development in the newborn. He and his team use advanced brain imaging and detailed long-term follow-up to help children who were born early or with conditions that put them at risk of neurological and developmental deficits. He has contributed to our understanding of brain abnormalities caused directly by premature birth, perinatal asphyxia or indirectly by congenital heart disease. The ultimate goal of his team’s work is to promote strategies to prevent brain injury, and to promote recovery if the brain is injured to improve the lifelong health of children and their families. He is passionate about supporting the career development of young child health researchers and recently completed his tenure as President of the Society for Pediatric Research.
Dr. Wernovsky is a Pediatric Cardiologist and Pediatric Cardiac Intensivist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has held academic appointments at Cornell University, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and clinical appointments at Children’s Hospital, Boston, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and most recently at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida. He is a founding member of the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society and International Society for Pediatric Mechanical Cardiopulmonary Support. He is the incoming co-chair of the 2021 World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.
Dr. Wernovsky has been involved in the training of over 150 fellows in pediatric cardiology, intensive care, cardiac surgery and cardiac anesthesia. His clinical interests include the inpatient care of newborns and infants with critical congenital heart disease, mechanical support of the failing circulation, and outpatient follow-up of complex congenital heart disease (CHD). His career goal has been to identify modifiable factors in the care of children with complex CHD to improve overall outcomes, longevity, and quality of life through a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to care.
Dr. Latal is the Co-Director of the Child Development Center at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich. She leads a large research group and is dedicated to teaching and faculty development. In her research, she investigates the developmental outcome of newborns and children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. This includes children born very prematurely, children with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (“perinatal asphyxia”) and children with severe congenital heart disease. Dr. Latal’s main research goals are to characterize the prevalence and severity of neurodevelopmental impairments in these children, to identify the potential risk factors for impairments and to study the mechanisms involved in the etiology of brain injury. Dr. Latal also examines the application of diagnostic tools such as amplitude integrated EEG, cerebral MRI and neurological examination for their potential usefulness as outcome predictors. Outcome research is becoming more important with the increasing survival rates achieved, thanks to major improvements in intensive care medicine and general care. A better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the etiology of brain injury in these high-risk children will allow for neuroprotective drug therapies and other interventions. Such interventions will improve the neurodevelopmental outcome and quality of life of these vulnerable patients and will ensure an optimal integration into adult life.
Over the past three decades, Dr. Newburger has led prospective clinical studies in the field of congenital heart disease, including randomized trials, prospective cohort studies, and translational research studies related to neurodevelopmental outcomes. She has particular expertise in leadership of multi-center and multi-disciplinary research, including the building of collaborative groups. She is an author of 400 original peer-reviewed manuscripts, chapters, and reviews. Continuously NIH-funded since 1982, she is currently PI on UG1, UM1, and T32 grants, as well as randomized clinical trials funded by the Department of Defense and Children’s Heart Foundation. She has served in leadership roles in a broad array of national organizations and journal editorial boards, and served as a Senior Editor of Circulation. She has personally mentored over 40 trainees in their clinical research projects, many of whom have sought careers in extramurally-funded clinical research and have achieved positions of academic leadership. Dr. Newburger maintains an active practice of patients with congenital and acquired heart disease.
David C. Bellinger is a pediatric neuropsychologist and environmental epidemiologist. He is Professor of Neurology and Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His research focuses primarily on the neuropsychological and behavioral sequelae of childhood disorders and exposures. This work has included studies of children with congenital heart disease, low birth weight, and other medical conditions as well as studies of a wide range of chemicals, most notably lead, mercury, and general anesthetics. He has published approximately 400 papers and served on numerous committees at the National Academies, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the World Health Organization. Much of his work is conducted internationally, including India (Chennai, Bangalore), Tanzania (Dar es Salaam, Ifakara), the Philippines (Leyte), Mexico (Mexico City, Guadalajara), Bangladesh (Dhaka), China (Xining City, Sichuan), and Mongolia (Ulaan Baatar). He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Toxics and an Associate Editor of Environmental Health, responsible for the section on children’s environmental health. He was the inaugural President of the International Society for Children’s Health and the Environment, and is currently Chairperson of the WHO Committee on Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Lead Poisoning, a member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Food Safety, and a member of the National Academies Committee on Inorganic Arsenic.