• Synnes, Anne R.

    Investigator, BC Children's Hospital

    Clinical Professor, Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia

    Degrees / Designations
    Primary Area of Research
    Brain, Behaviour & Development
    Secondary Area(s) of Research
    Lab Phone
    Amanda Bonnell
    Assistant Phone
    Mailing Address
    BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre

    Room 1R13
    4480 Oak Street
    Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4

    Affiliate Websites
    Research Areas

    •  Neonatal follow-up
    •  Outcomes of prematurity
    •  Neonatal outcomes
    •  Models of neonatal follow-up care
    •  Neonatal infections
    •  Quality improvement
    •  Intraventricular hemorrhage
    •  Newborn hearing screening


    As a neonatologist who cares for small and sick newborns, I am interested in improving the short-term and long-term outcomes of patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I am part of a Canadian team that is testing a new method (EPIC) for improving outcomes by implementing what has been proven and learning from NICUs with good outcomes. I am coordinating the team that is implementing this method to reduce infections. After these newborns go home, I study the well-being and outcome of those who have survived extreme prematurity, severe illness in the newborn period and other factors that put children at high risk of long term developmental disabilities. In addition, I am interested in finding the best way to ensure that these survivors have access to the effective treatments, health and educational services they may require.

    Current Projects

    My research interests relate to improving the outcome of newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) and into school age. I collaborate with the Canadian Neonatal Network, the Consortium for Health Intervention Learning and Development (CHILD) and Dr. Steven Miller. 
    I am the site investigator for a Canadian multicentre EPIC (Evidence based Practice Intervention and Change) NICU study which is testing the generalizability of EPIC. a new quality improvement methodology that incorporates evidence-based practices, tracking outcomes and quality improvement techniques. As site investigator for the CIHR team in Children’s Pain, we will be developing a Canadian pain database and evaluating whether EPIC can improve the assessment and management of pain in hospitalized children.
    With the CHILD project, we have studied the survival and disabilities of extremely low birth weight children, extremely preterm children and those with severe intraventricular hemorrhages  (bleed in the brain) in premature infants. We have used local databases to collect this information and are now exploring whether a provincial database linking the BC linked health database and the educational database can provide us with comprehensive information.  
    To better understand why some children develop disabilities, we are performing leading edge MRI studies of children born preterm, children with heart problems and children with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and will be comparing the MRI studies with the developmental outcome of these children at 1 ½ and 3 years of age. 

    Selected Publications

    Sherlock RL, McQuillen PS, Miller SP, Synnes, A on behalf of aCCENT (a Congenital Heart Disease Center of Excellence for Neuroprotective Trials).: Preventing brain injury in newborns with Congenital Heart Disease: Brain imaging and innovative trial designs. Stroke. 2009 Jan:40(1):327-32.

    Synnes AR, Buchanan L, Ruth C, Albersheim S.: Management of the newborn delivered at the threshold of viability. BCMJ. 2008 Nov;50(9):498-508.

    Goelman H, CHILD Project (Synnes, A).: Three Complementary Community-Based Approaches to the Early Identifications of Young Children at Risk for Developmental Delays/Disorders. Infants and Young children. 2008 Oct-Dec;21(4):306-323.

    Schiariti V, Matsuba C, Houbé JS, Synnes A.: Severe retinopathy of prematurity and visual outcomes in British Columbia: a 10-year analysis. J Perinatol. 2008 Aug;28(8):566-72.

    Schiariti V, Klassen AF, Houbé JS, Synnes A, Lisonkova S, Lee SK.: Perinatal Characteristics and Parents' Perspective of Health Status of NICU Graduates Born at Term. J Perinatol. 2008 May;28(5):368-76.

    Sherlock RL, Synnes AR, Koehoorn M.: Working mothers and early childhood outcomes: lessons from the Canadian National Longitudinal Study on Children and Youth. Early Hum Dev. 2008 Apr;84(4):237-42.

    Cepeda IL, Grunau RE, Weinberg H, Herdman AT, Cheung T, Liotti M, Amir
    A, Synnes A, Whitfield M. Magnetoencephalography study of brain dynamics in young children born extremely preterm. Int Congr Ser 2007,doi:10.1016/j.ics.2006.12.090

    Synnes AR, Qiu Z, Ohlsson A, Gustafson P, Dean CB, Lee SK, Canadian Neonatal Network. Neonatal intensive care unit characteristics affect the incidence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage. Med Care 2006;44:754-9.

    Synnes AR, Lefebvre F, Cake HA. Current status of neonatal follow-up in Canada. Paediatr Child Health 2006;11:271-274.

    Feder KP, Majnemer A, Bourbonnais D, Platt R, Blayney M & Synnes A. Handwriting performance in preterm children compared with term peers at age 6 to 7 years. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2005 Mar;47(3):163-70.

    Jones H, Cronin CMG, Ohlsson A, Peliowski A, Synnes A, Lee SK, Canadian Neonatal Network. Actuarial survival of a large Canadian cohort of preterm infants. BMC Pediatrics 2005;5:40.

    Ulloa-Gutierrez R, Skippen P, Synnes A, Seear M, Bastien N, Li Y, Forbes JC. Life-threatening human metapneumovirus pneumonia requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in a preterm infant. Pediatrics. 2004 Oct;114(4):e517-9.

    Synnes AR , Berry M, Jones H, Pendray M, Stewart S, Lee SK; Canadian Neonatal Network. Infants with congenital anomalies admitted to neonatal intensive care units. Am J Perinatol. 2004 May;21(4):199-207.

    Chan K, Ohlsson A, Synnes A, Lee DS, Chien LY, Lee SK. Survival, morbidity, and resource use of infants of 25 weeks' gestational age or less. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Jul;185(1):220-6.

    Synnes AR , Chien LY, Peliowski A, Baboolal R, Lee SK. Variations in intraventricular hemorrhage incidence rates among Canadian neonatal intensive care units. J Pediatr. 2001 Apr;138(4):525-31.

    Lee SK, McMillan DD, Ohlsson A, Pendray M, Synnes A, Whyte R, Chien LY, Sale J. Variations in practice and outcomes in the Canadian NICU network: 1996-1997. Pediatrics. 2000 Nov;106(5):1070-9.

    Feder K, Majnemer A, Synnes A. Handwriting: current trends in occupational therapy practice. Can J Occup Ther. 2000 Jun;67(3):197-204.

    Synnes AR. Use of the laboratory in prediction of outcome in the high-risk newborn. Clin Chem. 1997 Jan;43(1):243-8.

    Robertson CM, Finer NN, Sauve RS, Whitfield MF, Belgaumkar TK, Synnes AR , Grace MG. Neurodevelopmental outcome after neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. CMAJ. 1995 Jun 15;152(12):1981-8. 

    Synnes AR, Ling EW, Whitfield MF, Mackinnon M, Lopes L, Wong G, Effer SB. Perinatal outcomes of a large cohort of extremely low gestational age infants (twenty-three to twenty-eight completed weeks of gestation). J Pediatr. 1994 Dec;125(6 Pt 1):952-60.

    Honours & Awards

    As a member of the following networks:
    1) Canadian Neonatal Network, CIHR Knowledge Translation Award - 2004
    2) Child & Youth Development Trajectories Research Unit, Michael Smith Foundation Research Unit Award - 2004

    Research Group Members
    • Dr. Sarka Lisonkova - Graduate student in epidemiology 
    • Arsalan Butt – Research coordinator