Anna Penn, MD, PhD, to Lead Neonatology at Columbia

Anna Penn, MD, PhD

Anna Penn, MD, PhD

Anna Penn, MD, PhD, a leading clinical neonatologist and developmental neuroscientist from Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., has been named chief of the Division of Neonatology in the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and associate professor of pediatrics. Dr. Penn also will serve as chief of neonatology at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. She will begin her new roles on Jan. 1, 2020. 

“Dr. Penn is an internationally renowned neonatologist and physician-scientist who has brought impactful innovation to how we think about the developing brain in our most vulnerable and tiniest infant patients,” says Jordan S. Orange, MD, PhD, the Reuben S. Carpentier Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and pediatrician-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. “We are thrilled that she has decided to write this next chapter of her career at Columbia and assume the leadership of our profound legacy of neonatology. I know that Columbia will be a spectacular environment for the advancement of her science as well as a tremendous vehicle for her to continue to grow and recruit leaders and innovators in neonatology.”

Dr. Penn coined the term “neuroplacentology” and has pioneered research on this topic, which examines the influence of the placenta on fetal brain development. She also studies sex differences in perinatal brain injury. 

“I’m looking forward to being at this premier academic institution where there are so many people who want to collaborate across different disciplines,” says Dr. Penn. “It’s tremendously exciting and opens up many new opportunities to improve outcomes for babies.”

Dr. Penn is currently an associate professor of pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine and an attending neonatologist at Children’s National with appointments in the Fetal Medicine Institute, Neonatology, and the Center for Neuroscience Research. 

She received an AB from Harvard-Radcliffe College and her MD and PhD degrees from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco and a fellowship in neonatology at Stanford University. 

She is a past recipient of a National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award and maintains a grant-funded research laboratory. She also served as the director of membership for the Society of Pediatric Research for six years, working to support and improve the pipeline for physician-scientists. 

Though Dr. Penn has spent much of her life outside of New York, she shares a special connection to Columbia. When she was a toddler, her father was a resident at Columbia/NYP.

On Nov. 7, Dr. Penn will give the 2019 Lindenauer Lecture on “Novel Roles of Placental Hormones in Newborn Brain Injury.” The lecture is open to the CUIMC community.