The Neonatal Society has a long established tradition of honouring researchers and teachers of great merit with lectures named in their honour.
Young Investigator's Prize
Since 2001 the Neonatal Society has hosted an annual Young Investigator’s Prize. The winner presents a 30 minute lecture at the Summer Meeting of the Neonatal Society.
Elsie Widdowson Lecture
Elsie Widdowson was one of the founding members of The Neonatal Society. Born in 1906 she was one of the first ever female graduates from Imperial College, London. Her first calling was chemistry, and her PhD thesis concerned the chemistry of ripening fruit, but during the 1930s her interest turned towards dietetics.
Whilst studying at the Courtauld Institute she met Robert McCance and the two formed a strong scientific partnership which ended only with the death of Professor McCance in 1993. Much of their work was seminal; in particular, their study of calcium availability in breads during World War II led to the statutory fortification of flour with chalk, a huge contribution to the health of the nation during difficult times.
Elsie Widdowson’s research has been of great significance to perinatal medicine, not least her work on human body composition and infant feeding. She became head of the Infant Nutrition Research Division at the Medical Research Council’s Dunn Nutrition Laboratory, before she a moved to the Department of Investigative Medicine in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. Elsie was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1976, following which she took up the Presidency of the Nutrition Society (1977 – 1980), before becoming President of the Neonatal Society (1978 – 1981) and then Honorary President of the British Nutrition Foundation (1986 – 1996).
Elsie Widdowson CBE died on June 14th, 2000. In 2004 the Neonatal Society decided to name one of its regular lectures in honour of her; the first Widdowson lecture was held that year, delivered by Professor Hugo Lagercrantz.
The lectures given so far are:
- 2019, Professor Andrew Copp. UCL Institute of Child Health. Neural tube defects: developmental biology, prevention and policy
- 2018, Prof Hugo Lagercrantz
The Emergence of Consciousness
- 2017, London: Professor Pierre Gressens
Genomics and Preterm Brain Injury
- 2016, London: Professor Jeremy Farrar
Fighting emerging infectious diseases in developing countries
- 2015, London: Professor John Mathers
The Science of Nutrigenomics
- 2014, London: Professor Andrew Prentice
Conceptions, pregnancies and neonates: Lessons from rural Africa
- 2013, London: Dr Susan Ozanne
Intrauterine nutrition and life-long health
- 2012, London: Professor Michael Weindling
Growth and development in the preterm brain
- 2011, London: Professor David Edwards
Tissue oxygenation in the newborn infant
- 2010, London: Professor Colin Morley
Newborn resuscitation research
- 2009, London: Professor Alan Lucas
Counter-intuitive concepts in early nutrition
- 2008, London: Professor Fiona Broughton-Pipkin
Molecular mechanisms of Pre-eclampsia
- 2007, London: Larry Nogee
Genetic mechanisms of surfactant deficiency
- 2006, Cambridge: Olav Oftedal
Adaptive lactation strategies
- 2005, London: Professor Michael Symonds
Leptin – its role in adaptation at birth and later health and disease
- 2004, London: Professor Hugo Lagercrantz
The development of the brain and the emergence of the mind
David Harvey Fellowship & Lecture
The lectures given so far are as follows:
- 2020, Linda de Vries (lecture deferred due to COVID 19)
- 2019, Reconceptualising Preterm Birth by Professor Neena Modi
- 2018, Prof Allyson Pollock.
The Future of the National Health Service in England and implications on the rest of the UK?
- 2017, Brighton: Professor Mike Symonds, University of Nottingham
Brown adipose tissue – essential for effective adaptation at birth and lifelong metabolic health
- 2016, Cambridge: Professor Peter Fleming
Thermal care: more complex than we thought?
- 2015, Winchester: Professor Nicola Robertson
Effective and safe but cheap and practical: new therapies for neonatal encephalopathy
This Fellowship was created in 2015 following receipt of a generous bequest from the Estate of Professor David Harvey (Committee Member 1971-1979; Meetings Secretary 1975-1977; General Secretary 1977-1979).
Recipients hold the Fellowship for a period of two years, and deliver a special lecture, the “David Harvey Lecture” at the summer meeting of the Society. Fellows will commit to attending at least two of the subsequent three meetings of the Society where they will contribute to the Society’s goal of advancing newborn care through academic excellence, by discussion and critical appraisal of original research papers presented.
The award includes an honorarium, attendance expenses, including travel expenses within the UK, and waiver of membership fees during their tenure.
For more details on this fellowship, please contact the General Secretary.
Peter Tizard Lecture
Professor Sir Peter Tizard, was a founder member of the Neonatal Society in 1959, and Professor of Paediatrics at the Hammersmith Hospital (1964-1972) and Oxford University (1972-1983).
He was widely regarded as a teacher, leader and source of inspiration to those involved in scientific investigation and the clinical care of newborn babies. After his death in 1993, a fund was established to be used in recognition and celebration of his life.
Contributions have been received from many members of the Neonatal Society, former students and friends at Jesus College, Oxford and the Society of Apothecaries. The proceeds are used either as a research grant or to support an annual lecture.
In 1997 the Neonatal Society agreed that an Annual Lecture should be given at the Summer Meeting – The Peter Tizard Lecture.
If you would like to make a contribution to the Peter Tizard Lecture Fund, please make this payable to Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Charitable Trust Fund or contact the General Secretary.
The lectures given so far are:
- 2019, Professor David Edwards, Kings College London, Imaging the Developing Brain
- 2018, Professor Andrew Morris
Data Science: the cornerstone of medical discovery
- 2017, Brighton: Professor Peter Brocklehurst, University of Birmingham
New methods for clinical and health services research in perinatal medicine
- 2016, Cambridge: Professor David Rowitch, University of Cambridge
The Developing Brain
- 2015, Winchester: Prof Dino A. Giussani
Fetal origins of cardiovascular disease: new treatment strategies
- 2014, Harrogate: Professor Andrew Hattersley
The potential life-long implications of neonatal hyper and hypoglycaemia
- 2013, Edinburgh: Professor Joy Lawn
Three million neonatal deaths: closing action and knowledge gaps
- 2012, Canterbury: Professor Evan Snyder
Cross-talk & developmental programs – A key to the potential role of stem cell biology in perinatal medicine
- 2011, Harrogate: Professor Alan Jobe
Who are these miracle babies?
- 2010, Nottingham: Professor Hans van Goudoever
Early nutrition and long term consequences
- 2009, County Durham: Professor Frances Jensen
Mechanisms and therapeutic targets in neonatal seizures
- 2008, Harrogate: Professor Sam Hawgood
Lung surfactant: protecting alveolar stability and sterility
- 2007, Portsmouth: Dr Jeffrey A. Whitsett
Transcriptional networks mediating respiratory adaptation at birth
- 2006, London: Professor David Gadian
Imaging the developing brain
- 2005, Bristol: Professor Marianne Thoresen
Hypothermia: from anecdote to brain protection
- 2004, Cambridge: Sir Iain Chalmers
Confronting therapeutic uncertainties in neonatal care
- 2003, Oxford: Professor Lynne Murray
Effects of maternal depression and social adversity on parenting: Implications for infant physiological development
- 2002, Tours, France: Professor Petra Huppi
Steroids and the developing brain – what have magnetic resonance techniques taught us?
- 2001, Nottingham: Professor Lord Winston
Clouds over Science
- 2000, Netherlands: Professor Dick Tibboel
Molecular biological aspect of underdeveloped lung in the newborn
- 1999, Manchester: Professor Mark Ferguson
Cleft Palate: New insights into development, prevention and treatment
- 1998, Rennes, France: Dr Anita Aperia
Molecular mechanisms of sodium and water balance during fetal development
- 1997, Edinburgh: Professor John Davis
“a la recherche”
Robert McCance Lecture
The lectures so far are as follows:
- 2019, Professor Bo Jacobsson.
A genetic perspective of preterm delivery – is it the mother or the child or both?
- 2018, Dr Helen Pearson.
The Life Project: How 70 years of data from the British Birth Cohorts changed health and social policy
- 2017, Professor Frances Cowan.
30 years of Neonatal MRI: Lessons Learned about Prognosis following Perinatal Brain Injury.
- 2016, London: Professor Kate Costeloe
Forty years on: changes, challenges and new solutions
- 2015, London: Professor Malcolm Macleod
Why Preclinical Trials Fail to Translate
- 2014, London: Professor Tim Cole
Describing Growth in Infancy and Childhood
- 2013, London: Dr Anne McCartney
Early Nutrition and the Gut Microbiota
- 2012, London: Professor Ann Hellström
ROP pathogenesis, diagnosis & therapies (today’s and future)
- 2011, London: Professor Abigail Fowden
The placenta and fetal programming
- 2010, London: N Marlow
Preterm neurodevelopment – strategies to avoid long term follow up
- 2009, London: H Hagberg
Hypoxia-ischemia in the neonatal brain: molecular mechanisms of injury
- 2008, London: E Saliba
White matter injury: from pathogenesis to prevention
- 2007, London: T Costello
The evidence base for saving newborn lives in the developing world
- 2006, London: M Fitzgerald
Neonatal pain processing
- 2005 Lecture 1, London: M Hanson
Developmental origins of health and disease: concepts, mechanisms and implications
- 2005 Lecture 2, London: O Saugstad
Air vs 100% oxygen for resuscitation of asphyxiated infants: time to decide
- 2004, London: L de Vries
Neonatal neuroimaging – the last 30 years
- 2003, London: D FitzPatrick
Identifying genes that cause human malformations
- 2002, London: A Prentice
Yokesacs, placentas and breasts: nutritional regulation of early growth
- 2001, London: C Blakemore
The nature of nurture in the development of the brain
- 1999, London: J Owens
Placental restriction and the impact of IGF-1 on fetal growth
- 1998, London: A Jackson
Nutrition during pregnancy
- 1995, London: A Lucas
Nutritional Programming – back to the future
- 1994, London: E Widdowson
Why think? Why not try the experiment?
Robert McCance was born in 1898, the son of an Ulster linen merchant. After leaving school his first duty was military service, spending the years of World War I with the Royal Naval Air Service. It was only after his service that he went to read natural sciences at Cambridge, then going on to study medicine at King’s College Hospital in London.
It was in the kitchens of King’s College that he met Elsie Widdowson, and the duo made a formidable scientific partnership. Much of McCance’s work was seminal and concerned food composition and nutrition, but his talents were many and varied. Although his food compsotion tables are perhaps the most significant of his publications, he also played a role in the design and development of, among other things, inflatable life rafts.
Robert McCance MedalIn later years McCance was the caretaker director of the Medical Research Council’s infantile malnutrition unit in Kampala, Uganda, and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1948 and appointed CBE in 1953. He died on March 5th, 1993.
Since 1994, a year after his death, the Neonatal Society has hosted the McCance lecture, now a regularly annual event. Each lecture is delivered whilst wearing the McCance medal. The first ever lecture was delivered by his long-time colleague, Elsie Widdowson.