prof. drs. P. (Manon) Rouwenhorst

prof. drs. P. (Manon) Rouwenhorst

Full Professor
prof. drs. P. (Manon) Rouwenhorst
  • Birth Center Neonatology - Medical

Research Programs



Manon Benders is professor in Neonatology of the Wilhelmina Children's hospital, UMC Utrecht. Currently she is head of the Department since 2015 (18 stafmembers/fellows and 10 physician assistents).
She obtained her PhD degree in Leiden (1999, Prof. Margot van der Bor). She was qualified as a Pediatrician-Neonatologist since 2006 (prof. Frank van Bel). thereafter she did a fellowship in Neonatal Neurology (prof. Linda de Vries).
She has been a consultant neonatologist in the Wilhelmina Children’s hospital of the University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands since 2006. In 2014 she was working as a senior clinical lecturer, King’s college London and honary consultant in Neonatology at Guy’s and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
Before she did a junior research fellowship on cerebral ultrasound (Prof. dr. F. Walther) in UCLA in 1997, USA and a senior neonatal neurology research fellowship on neonatal neuro-imaging at University of Geneva (Prof. dr. P.S. Hüppi) in 2006-2007 as part of her fellowship Neonatal Neurology. 
Manon is currently supervising  several PhD students and  clinical research fellows/postdocs, working on national and international research projects, focusing on prediction and perinatal neuro-imaging evaluating brain development and neuro-protective and -regenerative strategies.


2008 finished fellowship Neonatal Neurology (Prof dr. Linda de Vries)
2006 Pediatrician- Neonatologist (prof. dr. Frank van Bel)
1999 PhD, Leiden University, the Netherlands (prof. dr. Margot van de Bor)
1996 Bachelor of Medicine, Leiden University, the Netherlands


Research line

Her research focuses on neonatal neuro-imaging. These techniques appear to give the opportunity to detect subtle differences, which are helpful in predicting neurodevelopmental outcome and evaluating of neuroprotective/neuroregenerative strategies to reduce brain injury, which is the other part of her research. 

Side Activities

Member of the Core team Brain, research theme UMC Utrecht

Member of the Core Team Child Helath, research theme UMC Utrecht

Member of the Programma Committee Dynamics of Youth, representative UMC Utrecht

Figurelead of the foundation 'Gezond Geboren'

Member of the Dutch/Flemish Society of Neonatal Neurology, former Chair from 2012-2016

Member Society of Pediatric Research                                                                                       

Member European Society of Pediatric Research    

Member of the section Council Brain and Development, from 2014 to now                                           

Member Dutch society of Pediatrics  (NVK): Neonatology; neonatal neurology, neonatal hemodynamics                                  

Member of the European Neonatal Brain Club

Former Member of the committee Dutch Ministry of Health Committee: ‘Pregnancy and delivery: a good start’.

Member of the Core team Brain, research theme UMC Utrecht, vice chair, jan-17
Member of the Core Team Child Helath, research theme UMC Utrecht, member, jun-18
Member of the Programma Committee Dynamics of Youth, representative UMC Utrecht, member,  okt-16 -jan22
Wetenschappelijk boegbeeld - foundation 'Gezond Geboren', sep-17
Member of the Dutch/Flemish Society of Neonatal Neurology, former Chair from 2012-2016
Member of the section Council Brain and Development, from 2014 to 2019
lMember Dutch society of Pediatrics  (NVK): Neonatology; neonatal neurology, neonatal hemodynamics 
consultant Takeda/Shire, 2018
Penningmeester Stiching de ssnoo, 2018
Member of the European Neonatal Brain Club, since 2011
InfanDX consultant, 2021
consultant, Chiesi amstem, since 2019
consultant, ACEpharmacuticals, 2008
consultatnt  Danone Nutricia Research, 2012

Fellowship and Awards

Funding as Principal Investigator

1991      Leids Universitair Fonds: International Foundation for Student Research Projects: ‘Cardiac and Cerebral Doppler-sonography in Neonates’. University of California Los Angeles, Verenigde Staten (€20K)

2005      NSCK reward: Registry ‘Severe Hyperbilirubinemia in Neonates in the Netherlands.’ (NSCK, surveillance) (€10k)

2006      “Ter Meulen Fonds”, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Netherlands, Clinical Research Fellowship. Supervisor: Prof. P.S. Hüppi, University of Geneva, Switzerland (€50k)

2006      International Pediatric Research Foundation (IPRF): exchange program Young Investigator Fellowship of the ESPR, for Clinical Research fellowship Geneve, Prof. P.S. Hüppi, University Geneva, Switzerland (€20k)

2009      The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO): program ‘early evaluation of medical innovation’: ‘Perinatal allopurinol trial for reduction of birth asphyxia induced brain damage’. Co-PI with Obstetrician: Dr. J.B. Derks (PhD: Joepe Kaandorp) (€150k +€50K UMCU)

2009      Alexandre Suerman Stipendium: ‘Reference ranges for the lateral cerebral ventricles of newborn infants’  (PhD: Margaretha Brouwer) (€75k +€50k UMCU)

2009      Catherijne Foundation: MRI of preterm infants: prediction of neurodevelopmental outcome (€200k)

2010      Univeristy Medical Center Utrecht / Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital Foundation: ‘Maturation dependent vulnerability of the Brain and Outcome of Preterm Infants assessed by MRI’ (PhD: Karina Kersbergen) (€150k+€50k UMC)

2011      International Foundation initiated by University Medical Centre Utrecht ‘MRI-biomarkers of Outcome and Perinatal Brain Injury in Neonates with Congenital Heart Disease’ (€50k)

2013      Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Province and Municipality of Utrecht, Utrecht University and the University Medical Center Utrecht: ‘The Nutri-brain project: a randomised, double-blind, controlled trial to evaluate the effects of a nutritional supplement on brain integrity in preterm infants.  (€2.5m)

2016 Nutricia research: fetal and neonatal MRI in youth cohort utrecht. 200.000 euro. Elise Turk

2018    Crucial trial: CeRebrUm and CardIac protection with ALlopurinol in neonates with congenital heart disease requiring neonatal cardiac surgery.zonMW 80-84800-98-42022 (1.6 mljn). National RCT. Prinicipal investigator.


Funding as Co-Investigator

2008-2010     European project Framework VI: ‘NEOBRAIN Neonatal estimation of brain damage risk and identification of neuroprotectants’ LSHM-CT-2006-036534, contract Nr 036534. Member of the MRI workpackage. (€2.3m)

2009                Ministero della Salute – Direzione Generale della Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica. ‘Early identification of newborns at high risk of brain injury through a valida- ted biomarkers profile and specific neuro-imaging patterns. A follow up study of clinical and neurodevelopmental outcome in a large cohort study’. (PI Prof G. Buonocore, University Siena.) Co-applicant, co-supervised 3 PhD students. (€800k)

2011      European study: ‘SafeBoosC: Safeguarding the brain of our smallest children: randomised, blinded, multinational (10 countries), phase II feasibility clinical trial on near-infrared spectroscopy monitoring combined with defined treatment guidelines versus standard monitoring and treatment as usual in premature infantsconsortium’. Neuro-imaging work package leader. (€1.2m)

2012 – 2020  The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). ‘Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to regenerate the neonatal brain’ (Co-PIs Prof Annemieke Kavelaars and Prof Linda de Vries). Co-applicant and neuro-imaging workpackage leader. (€1.7m)

2012                Grant Health Insurance company: Nuts-Ohra: ‘Neuromonitoring during neonatal surgery, and evaluating brain injury with MRI and long-term outcome’. (PI Petra Lemmers). Co-applicant, supervised PhD student: Lisanne Stolwijk. (€160k+50k)

2013                Irish Medical Research Council: ‘Automatic analysis of brain injury in MRI of asphyxiated infants’Co-applicant supervised post-doctoral Fellow (Dr Keelin Murphy). (€100k)

2013                Univeristy Medical Center Utrecht / Wilhelmina Children’s hospital Foundation: ‘White matter injury of the preterm infants’, animal experimental study.’ (PI Dr Cora Nijboer). Supervised PhD student: Erik van Tilborg (€150k +€50k UMCU)

2014                Univeristy Medical Center Utrecht / Wilhelmina Children’s hospital foundation: Anatomical brain networks and its functional dynamics in neonates : a biomarker for cognitive outcome’. (PI Dr Martijn van de Heuvel). Supervised PhD student: Kristin Keunen (€150k+€50k UMCU)

2016            IGLOInsuline like growth factor levels and outcome in extreme premature infants: Brain foundation. The Next Step HA2016-02-04. (co-applicant) (480.000)

2016   Univeristy Medical Center Utrecht / Wilhelmina Children’s hospital foundation:  The effects of preterm birth of stressresilience during childhood. WKZ foundation.  (co-applicant) €150.000 Femke Lammertink



Research Output (305)

A scoping review of behavioral sleep stage classification methods for preterm infants

Bik Anne, Sam Chanel, de Groot Eline R., Visser Simone S.M., Wang Xiaowan, Tataranno Maria Luisa, Benders Manon J.N.L., van den Hoogen Agnes, Dudink Jeroen Feb 2022, In: Sleep Medicine. 90 , p. 74-82 9 p.

Nutritional Supplementation Reduces Lesion Size and Neuroinflammation in a Sex-Dependent Manner in a Mouse Model of Perinatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury

Brandt Myrna J.V., Nijboer Cora H., Nessel Isabell, Mutshiya Tatenda R., Michael‐titus Adina T., Counotte Danielle S., Schipper Lidewij, van der Aa Niek E., Benders Manon J.N.L., de Theije Caroline G.M. 30 Dec 2021, In: Nutrients. 14 , p. 1-24

A uniform description of perioperative brain MRI findings in infants with severe congenital heart disease:Results of a European collaboration

Stegeman R., Feldmann M., Claessens N. H.P., Jansen N. J.G., Breur J. M.P.J., de Vries L. S., Logeswaran T., Reich B., Knirsch W., Kottke R., Hagmann C., Latal B., Simpson J., Pushparajah K., Bonthrone A. F., Kelly C. J., Arulkumaran S., Rutherford M. A., Counsell S. J., Benders M. J.N.L., 1 Nov 2021, In: American Journal of Neuroradiology. 42 , p. 2034-2039 6 p.

High-frequency oscillations recorded with surface EEG in neonates with seizures

Noorlag Lotte, van 't Klooster Maryse, van Huffelen Alexander, van Klink Nicole, Benders Manon, de Vries Linda, Leijten Frans, Jansen Floor E., Braun Kees, Zijlmans Maeike Nov 2021, In: Epilepsia. 62 , p. 114-115

Development of an automated real-time sleep-state prediction algorithm in preterm infants: the Sleep Well Baby project

Sentner Thom, van Schaijk Lieke, de Groot Eline, Wang Xiaowan, Bartels Richard, Vijlbrief Daniel, Benders Manon, Dudink Jeroen Oct 2021, p. 9-9

Preliminary results of the PASSIoN trial (Perinatal Arterial Stroke treated with Stromal cells IntraNasally)

Baak Lisanne M., Wagenaar Nienke, van der Aa Niek E., Groenendaal Floris, Dudink Jeroen, Tataranno Maria-Luisa, Smit Liesbeth S., Jellema Reint K., de Haan Timo R., ter Horst Henk J., de Boode Willem P., Steggerda Sylke J., de Haar Colin G., de Vries Linda S., van Bel Frank, Nijboer Cora H. A., Benders Manon J. N. L. Oct 2021, In: Pediatric Research. 90 , p. 8-8

Parental perceptions on the value of neonatal brain MRI

Aalbers Vera W., Rapuc Sara, Dudink Jeroen, Tataranno Maria Luisa, Ketelaar Marjolijn, de Bijl-Marcus Karen A., Benders Manon J. N. L. Oct 2021, In: Pediatric Research. 90 , p. 7-7

Happiness for Improvement of Premature and Parental Outcome (HIPPO): determining parental stress during and directly after NICU admission (study protocol)

Koopen Marlotte, Meesters Naomi, van Oers Hedy, van den Bosch Gerbrich, Tataranno Maria Luisa, Onland Wes, Nuytemans Debbie, de Boode Willem, Dijk Peter, Schuerman Frank, Kouwenberg-Raets Marlou, van Ganzewinkel Christ-jan, Lopriore Enrico, Reiss Irwin, van Kaam Anton, Benders Manon, van Dijk Monique, Simons Sinno, Haverman Lotte Oct 2021, In: Quality of Life Research. 30 , p. S171-S171

Morphine exposure and neurodevelopmental outcome in extremely preterm infants

Luzzati Michele, Coviello Caterina, Swarenburg-Veye Henriette, Dudink Jeroen, Dani Carlo, Koopmans Corine, deVries Linda S., Groenendaal Floris, Benders Manon, Tataranno Maria Luisa Oct 2021, In: Pediatric Research. 90 , p. 8-8

Nutritional intake, white matter integrity, and neurodevelopment in extremely preterm born infants

Hortensius Lisa M., Janson Els, van Beek Pauline E., Groenendaal Floris, Claessens Nathalie H.P., Swanenburg de Veye Henriette F.N., Eijsermans Maria J.C., Koopman-Esseboom Corine, Dudink Jeroen, van Elburg Ruurd M., Benders Manon J.N.L., Tataranno Maria Luisa, van der Aa Niek E. 27 Sep 2021, In: Nutrients. 13

All research output

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