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photo-of-Dawn-ElderMB ChB DCH FRACP PhD
Emeritus Professor, Department of Paediatrics

Dawn graduated from the University of Otago and did her paediatric training in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. During her paediatric training she was awarded the Lady King scholarship and undertook SIDS-related research with a piglet animal model of hyperthermia at the Dept of Paediatrics, University of Otago, Dunedin. Dawn has been a member of the department since 1995 following completion of advanced training in neonatal medicine in Perth, Western Australia. In addition to her University Work (6/10ths) she works 5/10ths for Capital Coast Health. Dawn has clinical paediatric specialist qualifications in neonatal medicine and paediatric sleep medicine. She worked as a neonatal medicine specialist until 2004 transferring then to retrain in paediatric sleep medicine. She also works clinically in the area of child protection and has particular expertise in the area of child sexual abuse.

As well as teaching roles with 5th years and Trainee Interns, Dawn is also involved in teaching child protection and sleep medicine topics in the DCH.

Research interests

Dawn's main research focus has been in the area of sleep and breathing, starting initially in the preterm and neonatal age group but extending now to older children. Dawn's PhD thesis addressed the topic of respiratory variability in infants and children. Further projects are planned along this theme and in particular in relation to the assessment of cardiorespiratory stability at neonatal discharge. Dawn's research during specialty training related to SIDS and this is still an area of interest. She has also published on death review and the role of post mortem after preterm and term neonatal death. She has on-going research collaborations with colleagues in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery and Anaesthesia at the UOW, and with colleagues in the Dept of Women's and Children's Health at the UOD. She is also a co-investigator on the national SUDI case-control study based in Auckland and led by Prof Ed Mitchell. A PhD student Lucie Zwimpfer has just completed a thesis looking at the impact of empathic attunement on infant stress during painful procedures. A current PhD student Conway Niu is looking at intermittent hypoxia as measured by oximetry in term and preterm infants.


Haszard, J. J., Jackson, R., Morrison, S., Meredith-Jones, K. A., Galland, B. C., Beebe, D. W., Elder, D. E., & Taylor, R. W. (2024). Losing sleep influences dietary intake in children: A longitudinal compositional analysis of a randomised crossover trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 21(1), 61. doi: 10.1186/s12966-024-01607-5 Journal - Research Article

Galland, B. C., Haszard, J. J., Jackson, R., Morrison, S., Meredith-Jones, K., Elder, D. E., … Taylor, R. W. (2023). Predictors for achieving optimal sleep in healthy children: Exploring sleep patterns in a sleep extension trial. Sleep Health. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2023.09.012 Journal - Research Article

Rawcliffe, N., Elder, D., & Dobinson, H. (2023). Time to first dose of antibiotics in febrile neonates. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jpc.16375 Journal - Research Article

Morrison, S., Jackson, R., Haszard, J. J., Galland, B. C., Meredith-Jones, K. A., Fleming, E. A., … Elder, D. E., … Taylor, R. W. (2023). The effect of modest changes in sleep on dietary intake and eating behavior in children: Secondary outcomes of a randomized crossover trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 117, 317-325. doi: 10.1016/j.ajcnut.2022.10.007 Journal - Research Article

Morrison, S., Haszard, J. J., Galland, B. C., Jackson, R., Meredith-Jones, K. A., Elder, D. E., & Taylor, R. W. (2023). Where does the time go when children don't sleep? A randomized crossover study. Obesity, 31, 625-634. doi: 10.1002/oby.23615 Journal - Research Article

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