Faculty Feature: Amit Mathur, MD

Faculty Features

Amit Mathur was born in New Delhi, India and comes from a family of engineers. Bucking the family trend, he graduated from Medical School at Delhi University in 1982. His Pediatric residency at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi with Prof. Santosh Bhargava, sparked his initial interest in Neonatology. With 12,500 deliveries a year and a 100 bed NICU, his initial training in neonatology was rich with exposure to diverse pathology. His subsequent residency training in Pediatrics occurred initially in Agra and New Delhi, and then in Scotland, UK where he trained for an additional 6 years in Pediatrics, attaining the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh in 1991. Along this journey, through family connections, he met his lovely wife Sunita, then a medical student at Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi. Yes! It was an arranged marriage and it is still going strong at 32 years!

Amit’s career took an interesting turn when he decided to continue Neonatology training in the USA in 1993. He was fortunate to get a neonatology fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. Leaving the idyllic Scottish surroundings in Kirkcaldy, Sunita and he with three young energetic kids, Ankita, Kunal and Karan (all under 6 years of age) moved to St. Louis in 1994. The transition to life in the USA was tumultuous for them at times, with the onerous schedule of a clinical fellow in Neonatology (well before the 80-hour work week restrictions!) and managing three young kids at home. However, what made work fascinating was the divergent approach to clinical care between the UK (resource constrained with the National Health Service) and USA (unlimited resources). While his background in clinical pediatric training in India and the UK was a strong asset, integrating them into the culture of clinical practice in the US took a little time. His two-year bench research, during fellowship, with Arnold Strauss MD not only taught him the basics of molecular biology and genetics, but made him realize that, although he found the field fascinating, his passion lay in the practice of neonatology, teaching and clinical and translational research. Perhaps the most disorienting part of his training, for him and his peers, was when after completing his fellowship, he back-stepped to do a year of senior residency before becoming a faculty member in the Division of Newborn Medicine. Simultaneously, Sunita completed a residency in Internal Medicine and, after a stint in private practice, joined the VA medical center in 2009 as an Internist.

Since joining the Division of Newborn Medicine as Faculty in 1998, under the mentorship of F. Sessions Cole MD, Amit has followed his passion for clinical and translational research. The seed for his interest in neonatal neurology was sown in the UK. As faculty at WUSM, he was able to leverage the rich Pediatric Neurology and Neuroradiology infrastructure and start a career in clinical research. He now leads an active laboratory group with a focus on understanding brain injury and conducting clinical studies in neonatal seizures and neuroprotection in both premature and term neonates using an array of bedside monitoring tools e.g. EEG and NIRS along with MRI. His research group is funded through both intramural and extramural support. He is the Co-PI of the neuroimaging core for the HEAL trial, an NINDS funded multicenter Phase III trial of high dose erythropoietin in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. He has been Medical Director of the NICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital since 2009. Recognizing the importance of teamwork he has established working collaboratives with several sub-specialists who consult in the NICU streamlining communication amongst providers and families. He enjoys working through the constant challenges that arise in this often-emotional, melting pot of providers, nurses and families in the NICU. Throughout this time he has come to truly enjoy teaching and mentoring fellows and junior faculty.

Amit and Sunita’s 23-year journey in St. Louis has been a blur. Their children, now adults, have grown up with St. Louis roots (Marquette High School in case you were wondering!). Ankita is an Actuarial Analyst, Kunal is a 4th year medical student at WUSM and Karan just started work as a Product Manager having graduated from Stanford in 2017. In their now “freer” time, they feel Blessed and are thankful to have time to enjoy socializing with friends, traveling, reading and listening to music. Having grown up in India and lived in Scotland, they truly feel St. Louis and St. Louis Children’s hospital is home!

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