CHIESI PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN NEONATOLOGY 2014

The Chiesi Prize for Excellence in Neonatology wishes to acknowledge an outstanding clinician and/or basic scientist in the field of neonatology whose professionalism, expertise and passion has significantly contributed to improving the care of premature infants. The awardee is selected by an independent panel of experts in neonatal medicine who take into consideration the clinical and scientific excellence and/or the empathy that has driven the awardee's outstanding lifelong experience in the field of neonatal medicine.

The Prize Committee 2014 consisted of:

Prof. Giuseppe Buonocore, MD, Siena, Italy
Prof. Tore Curstedt, MD, PhD, Stockholm, Sweden
Prof. Henry L. Halliday, MD, FRCP, FRCPE, Belfast, UK
Prof. Mikko Hallman, MD, PhD, Oulu, Finland
Prof. Dominique Haumont, MD, Brussels, Belgium
Prof. Ola D. Saugstad, MD, PhD, FRCPE, Oslo, Norway
Prof. Christian P. Speer, MD, FRCPE, Würzburg, Germany

And the past Prize Winners were:

2004    Prof. Mikko Hallman, MD, PhD, Oulu, Finland
2006    Prof. Christian P. Speer, MD, FRCPE, Würzburg, Germany
2008    Prof. Henry L. Halliday, MD, FRCPE, FRCP, FRCPCH, Belfast, UK
2011    Prof. Tore Curstedt, MD, PhD, Stockholm, Sweden


The Prize Winner 2014 who has been anonymously elected by the Prize Committee is:

Prof. Colin J. Morley, MD Professor of Pediatrics
Honorary Lecturer,
Royal Women’s Hospital, University of Melbourne, Australia
Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Cambridge, UK

Professor Colin Morley was born in the United Kingdom in the year 1943; he studied at the University of Cambridge and St Thomas’s Hospital London and started his paediatric training in Portsmouth and Manchester. In 1976 he was awarded a Research Fellowship at the Nuffield Institute of Medical Research in Oxford where he investigated surfactant replacement therapy with surfactant from sheep lungs. In 1977 he teamed up with Dr Alec Bangham at the Institute of Animal Physiology, Babraham, Cambridge and made the synthetic surfactant ALEC (Artificial Lung Expanding Compound). Two large, placebo controlled, randomised trials showed that this synthetic surfactant reduced the mortality and incidence of pneumothoraces by about 50%. ALEC was licenced and sold for several years in the UK but in a head to head randomised trial Curosurf was shown to increase survival of preterm infants with respiratory distress syndrome. Dr. Colin Morley worked for 20 years for the University of Cambridge and Addenbrookes hospital. During this time he showed among other projects that babies dying from sudden infant death syndrome were seriously deficient in surfactant.

His research has been focussed on understanding the major clinical problems faced by very premature babies, particularly investigating how to improve their treatment and outcome, with a major interest in respiratory support. In 1998 he was appointed Professor/ Director of Neonatal Medicine at the Royal Women’s and Royal Children’s Hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. During the next ten years, he developed successful research collaborations with his neonatal colleagues and Professor Hooper’s group in the Physiology Department of Monash University. They showed that PEEP or CPAP started at birth was essential for aerating the lung at birth and significantly reduced the inspired oxygen, incidence of intubation, ventilation and surfactant therapy. They also showed tidal volume targeted ventilation was much more effective than pressure limited ventilation in reducing the combined incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia or death, intraventricular hemmorhage dysplasia and airleaks.

Prof. Morley was involved in designing a number of exceptional trials, i.e. the ICE trial, a simple technique of whole body cooling for term infants with HIE. This trial showed cooling could be started at a referring hospital, continued during transport, and was as effective as more complex techniques of cooling. He initiated the PROPREMS trial of probiotics for very preterm infants. It showed no benefit for late onset infection and a small reduction in necrotising enterocolitis.

Being frustrated by neonatal resuscitation training and practice being largely based on dogma and subjective assessment, his team investigated all aspects of neonatal resuscitation. They defined the changes in heart rate and oxygen saturation in the minutes after birth. Showed large leaks and airway obstruction are common during mask ventilation, resulting in either overventilation or inadequate ventilation and this can be improved by objective measurement and display of ventilation parameters so the resuscitators can improve their technique. Prof. Morley has published over 300 papers, he is invited speaker and chairman at symposia all over the world. He retired from clinical work in 2008 but still lectures, supervises research, and writes papers Prof. Colin Morley is definitely an outstanding clinician and scientist whose professionalism, creativity and passion has significantly contributed to improving the care of premature infants.