Alicia Yee from the Infant and Child Health Research Group at Hudson Institute

Alicia Yee


PhD student

Research Group:

Neonatal Brain Protection

Research Centre:

The Ritchie Centre

Area of study:

Sleep, cardio-respiratory control in preterm infants, neruodevelopment

Year of enrolment:


Why did you choose Hudson Institute and your research group?

I chose the Infant and Child Health Research group as I am interested in infant development as well as sleep and was really happy that I found a group that was exploring exactly these. I'm also a huge fan of translational science where basic scientific research and clinical applications go hand in hand. Hudson Institute and The Ritchie Centre are great places for translational research due to their connections to Monash Medical Centre and health services around the world.

What is your research about and what do you hope to achieve?

Preterm infants are born with immature cardio-respiratory control, which often manifests as pauses of breathing in the form of short central apnoeas and periodic breathing (a cyclical pattern of short repetitive central apnoeas). These breathing patterns occur during sleep are currently undetected in the nursery because they are deemed to be not life threatening. Recently, these short apnoeas and periodic breathing have been associated with hypoxia and reduced cerebral oxygenation in preterm infants after hospital discharge. This suggests that apnoea and periodic breathing may influence long-term cognitive and cardiovascular control in preterm infants. My research follows preterm infants before and after hospital discharge to explore the relationship between apnoea and periodic breathing on neurodevelopmental outcomes and cardiovascular control. We hope to determine a threshold that is related to neurodevelopmental impairment, which aid to clinical treatment decisions in the future.

How will your research help others?

There is a large and growing number of children born preterm, who despite improved care exhibit reduced neurodevelopmental outcomes compared to infants born at term. We hope to bring awareness of short apnoeas and periodic breathing in the nursery as well as understanding how these respiratory events play a part in infant development. Ultimately, we hope that our findings will contribute to improving developmental outcomes in preterm infants.