Sandra E Juul, MD, PhD

Sandra E Juul, MD, PhD


  • Academic Title: Professor, Pediatrics
  • On Staff Since: July 2000
"As a neonatologist, I am honored to participate in the care of precious, fragile individuals ranging from extremely preterm infants to term neonates with complex medical or surgical problems. These small patients and their families humble me with their endurance in the face of great adversity. I believe that my role as an academic neonatologist is to work to advance care and improve outcomes for our patient population. My research focuses on neonatal neuroprotection: how to optimize neurodevelopment, protect the newborn brain from injury, and how to repair the injured brain."
  • Biography

    Dr. Sandra "Sunny" Juul, MD, PhD is Division Chief of Neonatology at Seattle Childrens Hospital and the University of Washington. After completing her medical degree, residency, fellowship and two years as an acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, Dr. Juul left Seattle in 1991 for the University of Chicago where she began a Ph.D. in Developmental Biology. She then joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1993, where her Ph.D. work was completed. In 2000, Dr. Juul was successfully recruited back to Seattle. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatology.

    Dr. Juul leads a translational neonatal neuroscience research program. The focus is to identify new therapeutic approaches to neonatal brain injury, determine whether they are safe and effective, and if so, bring these new treatments from the laboratory to the bedside. Dr. Juul identified Epo and its receptor in the developing human brain, demonstrated that it is neuroprotective and safe using multiple animal models of neonatal brain injury. Bringing this work from the bench to the bedside, Dr. Juul is currently Principal Investigator of a multicenter randomized controlled trial to determine whether Epo is a safe and effective neuroprotectant for extremely preterm infants. The study, Preterm Epo Neuroprotection (PENUT) is funded by NINDS, and has enrolled 940 babies born between 24-0/7 and 26-6/7 weeks of gestation. These children are currently being followed to two years of age for detailed neurodevelopmental assessments. Dr. Juul is also multi-PI with Dr. Yvonne Wu (UCSF) on the High-Dose Erythropoietin for Asphyxia and Encephalopathy (HEAL) Trial, a randomized controlled trial of Epo neuroprotection for 500 term infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This multicenter trial will determine whether Epo in addition to therapeutic cooling will improve the outcome for infants with HIE.

    Board Certification(s)

    Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine


    University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
    University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA


    University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA


    Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA

    Clinical Interests

    Non-hematopoietic effects of erythropoietin (Epo), particularly its neuroprotective effects. Hematopoiesis and iron balance in preterm infants are additional areas of interest and research.

    Research Description

    Recombinant erythropoietin (rEpo) has been used since 1989 as an erythropoietic agent in adults and children. More recently, Epo effects have been recognized in tissues other than bone marrow. Functional receptors for Epo are present in the developing brain, liver, heart, blood vessels, and intestine.

    During development, endogenous Epo acts as a general trophic and anti-apoptotic factor. Mechanisms of Epo action are being investigated. Two promising areas of research include the use of rEpo to prevent or ameliorate necrotizing enterocolitis, and the use of rEpo to decrease brain damage following injury such as perinatal hypoxia-ischemia.

    Using a variety of molecular biology, cell and tissue culture techniques, and in vivo models, Dr. Juul's research is focused on determining the effects of Epo on neurodevelopment, neuroprotection, intestinal development, and intestinal injury. Additional areas of interest include neonatal hematology, and iron deficiency in the developing neonate.

    Research Focus Area

    Neuroscience / Neurodevelopment

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