Fernando Gonzalez, MD

My research is focused on determining how the full-term brain responds to acute injury during the neonatal period, and strategies to enhance neuroplasticity and long-term functional outcomes. My specific research goals are to: (1) clearly define the neuronal subpopulations that are vulnerable to ischemia and critical for neurodevelopment, (2) determine the mechanisms of injury and endogenous repair in the immature brain, and (3) define therapeutic strategies to enhance long-term function. Specifically, I am interested in how the immature brain differs from the adult brain in its response to stroke, and how reparative mechanisms can be enhanced with delayed therapy. Throughout my training, I have had broad exposure to various aspects of central nervous system (CNS) development and repair, including: evaluation and inhibition of pain through direct CNS treatment; the effects of local injury on wound healing and phagocytosis; direct evaluation of behavioral, cognitive, and nociceptive function after injury; pathophysiologic mechanisms of early brain injury; and the effects of exogenous therapy on early brain injury. Of these experiences, the ones I found most compelling were those that linked rigorous basic science at the bench to investigation of human disease. For example, my research on the short-term effects of exogenous erythropoietin treatment on neurogenesis after early rodent stroke prompted a study to determine beneficial treatment strategies that improve long-term functional outcomes. This project showed that prolonged erythropoietin treatment is most effective for long-term behavioral improvement, a finding that informed clinical studies in humans to treat neonatal brain injury. My current research is focused on cell type-specific changes in the peri-infarct cortex, including alterations in cell fate, function, and circuit formation. This will have a significant impact in improving knowledge and identifying novel therapies to treat early injury. It is my clear desire to apply this type of translational approach to the field of neonatal brain injury, thereby unifying my interest in neuroscience and brain development with a goal of improving the care of the newborn.
2019 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training, University of California
2007 - Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, UCSF
2004 - Pediatrics, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
M.D., 2001 - School of Medicine, Brown University
Sc.B., 1997 - Neuroscience, Brown University
  1. Trial of Erythropoietin for Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy in Newborns.
  2. Interleukin-15 modulates the response of cortical neurons to ischemia.
  3. Physician-Scientist Training & Programming in Pediatric Residency Programs: A National Survey.
  4. Update on mechanisms of the pathophysiology of neonatal encephalopathy.
  5. Acute and Chronic Placental Abnormalities in a Multicenter Cohort of Newborn Infants with Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy.
  6. Neuroprotective effects of Sonic hedgehog agonist SAG in a rat model of neonatal stroke.
  7. Perspectives from the Society for Pediatric Research: advice on sustaining science and mentoring during COVID-19.
  8. Enhanced Mesenchymal Stromal Cells or Erythropoietin Provide Long-Term Functional Benefit After Neonatal Stroke.
  9. Caffeine Restores Background EEG Activity Independent of Infarct Reduction after Neonatal Hypoxic Ischemic Brain Injury.
  10. A new genetic strategy for targeting microglia in development and disease.
  11. Whither pediatric physician-scientist training in the COVID-19 era.
  12. Neuroprotection Strategies for Term Encephalopathy.
  13. Placental pathology and neonatal brain MRI in a randomized trial of erythropoietin for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
  14. Recommendations for the design of therapeutic trials for neonatal seizures.
  15. Predictive value of early EEG for seizures in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy undergoing therapeutic hypothermia.
  16. High-Dose Erythropoietin for Asphyxia and Encephalopathy (HEAL): A Randomized Controlled Trial - Background, Aims, and Study Protocol.
  17. Transient Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion Model of Neonatal Stroke in P10 Rats.
  18. High-Dose Erythropoietin and Hypothermia for Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy: A Phase II Trial.
  19. Delayed erythropoietin therapy improves histological and behavioral outcomes after transient neonatal stroke.
  20. Growth factors for the treatment of ischemic brain injury (growth factor treatment).
  21. Erythropoietin: a novel therapy for hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy?
  22. Stem cells for neonatal stroke- the future is here.
  23. Erythropoietin increases neurogenesis and oligodendrogliosis of subventricular zone precursor cells after neonatal stroke.
  24. An overview of risk factors for poor neurodevelopmental outcome associated with prematurity.
  25. Effects of combination therapy using hypothermia and erythropoietin in a rat model of neonatal hypoxia-ischemia.
  26. Erythropoietin for neuroprotection in neonatal encephalopathy: safety and pharmacokinetics.
  27. Is erythropoietin the answer?
  28. Neonatal community-acquired pneumonia: pathogens and treatment.
  29. Altered fate of subventricular zone progenitor cells and reduced neurogenesis following neonatal stroke.
  30. Neuroprotection in the newborn infant.
  31. Erythropoietin sustains cognitive function and brain volume after neonatal stroke.
  32. Therapeutics for neonatal brain injury.
  33. Erythropoietin enhances long-term neuroprotection and neurogenesis in neonatal stroke.
  34. Does perinatal asphyxia impair cognitive function without cerebral palsy?
  35. Chronic desipramine treatment desensitizes the rat to anesthetic and antinociceptive effects of the alpha2-adrenergic agonist dexmedetomidine.