Jane Pillow


  • The University of Western Australia (M309), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Professor Jane Pillow is a clinical academic neonatologist at the University of Western Australia. She pursued undergraduate medical studies at the University of Queensland. A one-year interruption to her medical education to undertake research at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne as part of a Bachelor of Medical Science underpinned a life-long enthusiasm for medical research. After a clinical internship in Townsville, she moved to Victoria to undertake postgraduate training in Paediatrics, subsequently specialising further in Neonatology. She subsequently pursued PhD studies at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth (1997-2000), and undertook an NHMRC Neil Hamilton Fairley postdoctoral fellowship at The Institute of Child Health in London (2001-3) before returning to Perth in 2004. She has subsequently held multiple other prestigious Fellowships including a Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship, and Career Development, Senior Research and more recently Leadership Fellowships from the NHMRC.
Professor Pillow is acknowledged internationally as an expert in the area of neonatal respiratory physiology and mechanical ventilation. She has obtained over $17 million AUD in research funding, including 9 NHMRC project and ideas grants since 2007 (6 as CIA), an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CIA/Co-Director) and 4 grants from the NIH (3 as Australian CI).

Roles and responsibilities

Professor Pillow is Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Science at UWA. She is also CIA and Co-Director on an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for Improving the Immediate and Longer-Term Outcomes of Preterm Infants (2013-20). Prof Pillow is an experienced NHMRC project grants and fellowship applications reviewer (since 1999), previously serving on NHMRC grant review panels and the Assigners Academy. She has ongoing peer review responsibilities to local and international grant funding and scientific publication bodies. In addition to her academic responsibilities, Prof Pillow is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute.
Prof Pillow has extensive commitments to undergraduate, postgraduate and clinical education through involvement in University course delivery and small group theoretical and practical workshops throughout Australia, Asia and Europe.  She is a member of the Executive of the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network, and Chairs the ANZNN working group on Chronic Lung Disease.

Future research

Prof Pillow is focused on leading and developing transdisciplinary research, within and beyond current research focus areas. Future research will continue to have a major focus on treatments that improve respiratory outcomes in preterm infants such as an upcoming study aiming to improve nebulised surfactant treatment for infants with respiratory distress on non-invasive respiratory support. However, Prof Pillow's research is increasingly developing along more integrative pathways, as treatments that focus on improved immediate and longer-term outcomes across multiple body systems are pursued.  Preclinical studies in 2021-2022 will evaluate how a new immunomodulatory mini-protein (peptide) that also has anti-microbial activity alters outcomes of the gut, lung and brain, as well as the immune system development.  Clinical research activity is centred on leading a randomised clinical trial that aims to stimulate earlier development of circadian rhythm in hospitalised premature infants.  The hypothesis underpinning the trial is that earlier development of these rhythms will improve neurodevelopmental outcomes after premature birth.  

Funding overview

Over $17M Career Funding

Current NHMRC Funding includes:

Improving the Immediate and Longer Term Outcomes of Preterm Infants (CRE) Pillow JJ, Simmer K, Patole S, Strunk T, Moss TJM, Burgner D, Whitehouse A, Prescott S, Tingay D, Gill AW


Innate Defence Regulator Peptide for Protecting the Preterm Infant from Postnatal Sepsis.  Pillow JJ, Lee A, De Jong E, Christophersen C, Gummer J. 


Reducing global mortality and severity of disease in newborn infants through innovation and
holistic interventions. Pillow JJ.

Other Current Funding:

Channel 7 Telethon Trust
Nebulised surfactant: simplifying the delivery of the liquid of life for infants with breathing difficulties after birth

WA Child Research Fund

Cognitive Improvement through early Restoration of circadian rhythms in very preterm Infants via Environmental Modification: The Circa Diem WA Follow-Up Study

Previous positions

PSANZ National Executive

Current projects

Innate Defence Regulator Peptides to Reduce Sepsis, and Improve Developmental Outcomes in Preterm Infants

Nebulised Surfactant during Noninvasive Respiratory Support in Preterm Subjects with Respiratory Distress

Restoring Circadian Rhythm to Improve Neurodevelopment and Reduce Risk of Metabolic Syndrome in Later Life

Biozone - Transdisciplinary Biomedical/Biological Research and Training at UWA

Industrial relevance

Prof Pillow works closely with a number of medical device companies to improve equipment and strategies used in the delivery of respiratory care to newborn infants.

Teaching overview

Respiratory physiology
Mechanical ventilation
Scientific writing
Writing in Large Documents
Biostatistics (Honours Level)


Professor Pillow’s research interests evolve from her determination to improve the respiratory outcomes of preterm infants through development and enhanced understanding of novel approaches to mechanical ventilation and postnatal care. She is Director of the Preclinical Intensive Care Research Unit (PICRU) – a unique (inter)national facility for extended duration care of preterm lambs as a model of lung disease associated with preterm birth. PICRU studies evaluate the long-term systemic outcomes associated with controversial or promising new neonatal therapies. Prof Pillow’s clinical research includes clinical trials of novel respiratory treatments such as nebulised surfactant, as well as restoration of circadian rhythm to premature infants. She runs a neonatal lung function laboratory and is involved in lung function follow-up functional studies of children born prematurely at King Edward Memorial Hospital. A major focus of current clinical research is the CIRCA DIEM trial, which aims to improve long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes of premature infants by encouraging earlier development of circadian rhythms.



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research expertise keywords

  • Neonatal respiratory physiology
  • Infant lung function
  • High-frequency ventilation
  • Conventional ventilation
  • Non-invasive ventilation
  • Ventilation induced lung injury
  • Neonatal diaphragm dysfunction
  • Preterm lamb translational research
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Immunomodulation
  • Surfactants
  • Randomised controlled trials


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