Division News

A compilation of professional and academic accomplishments and recognition in the popular press. 

In Brief


  • Bill Benitz, MD, gave the inaugural Philip Sunshine State of the Art lecture at the 2018 Western Society for Pediatric Research (WSPR) Annual Meeting. This lectureship was established in partnership with the WSPR by our Division to honor Dr. Sunshine. Dr. Benitz spoke about Dr. Sunshine’s legacy of mentorship of the many individuals who have contributed to the care and well being of babies, and the ongoing changes in evaluation and management of babies at risk for early onset sepsis. 
  • Residents have submitted their mid-year feedback, and the PICN rotation is currently the overall top-ranked rotation in the Stanford Pediatrics Residency Program. Run by our Neonatal Hospitalist Group, the rotation is compared against 26 others in the Program. For the past several years the rotation has claimed the #1 or #2 spot.


Notable Publications

Collaborative, multidisciplinary research from the Fetal and Pregnancy Health Program include two recent publications: 1) Noninvasive Prenatal Diagnosis of Single-Gene Disorders by Use of Droplet Digital PCR (Clinical Chemistry), and 2) Prenatal treatment of ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (Molecular Genetics and Metabolism). Fetal Program Medical Director Susan Hintz, MD, MS Epi, is an author on both papers. 

The first is a multidisciplinary collaboration between medical genetics, maternal-fetal medicine, Dr. Steve Quake’s lab, and neonatology. It is a Hearst Foundation-funded study that was housed within the Fetal and Pregnancy Health Program. Findings indicate non-invasive prenatal testing may be used to detect metabolic disorders as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. Using this methodology, thereby avoiding amniocentesis and other invasive testing, will alleviate anxiety and allow clinicians and families to formulate a tailored course of action for delivery depending on if the test delivers positive or negative results.

Two other neo faculty, William Benitz, MD, and Jonathan Palma, MD, MS, are co-authors on the second paper. This paper provides evidence showing that intravenous treatment during labor is safe and effective for mothers and babies born with urea cycle defects. The study follows two women whose male fetuses were diagnosed prenatally with ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, an x-linked condition. The mothers received intravenous infusions of Ammunol shortly before birth to jump-start treatment for their babies; together with post-natal drug delivery, the infusions helped to prevent their babies from getting acute hyperammonemia. Both babies recovered and show normal development after receiving liver transplants at 3 and 5 months after birth.