May Wanru Chen, M.D.

Headshot of May Wanru Chen
  • Associate Director, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Training Program
  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Languages: English, Mandarin, Shanghai


Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Neonatology, Pediatrics more

Research Interests

Point-of-care ultrasound; Neonatal Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy; Brain Injury; Neuroprotection; Near-infrared Spectroscopy. more


The Johns Hopkins Hospital

600 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21287
Phone: 410-955-5259 | Fax: 410-955-0298
The Johns Hopkins Hospital - Google Maps


May Chen is the associate director of the neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship training program at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her area of expertise is diagnosing and treating premature babies and newborns with high-risk or complex health conditions. She specializes in neonatal-perinatal medicine and neonatology. 

Dr. Chen graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She later completed a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in neonatology, each at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She became a faculty member in the division of Neonatology in 2018. more


  • Associate Director, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Training Program
  • Director, Neonatal Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) Program
  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Departments / Divisions



  • MD; Albert Einstein College of Medicine (2012)


  • Pediatrics; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2015)


  • Pediatrics and Neonatology; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2018)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pediatrics (Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine) (2020)
  • American Board of Pediatrics (Pediatrics) (2015)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Chen’s primary research interests are the use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) for treatment of neonates and neonatal brain injury, and she leads development of the Johns Hopkins neonatal POCUS program as its director. In this role, she collaborates with fellow neonatologists (Drs. Michelle Gontasz, Keith Leung and Kartikeya Makker), pediatric intensivists (Drs. Katherine Hoops and Amanda Levin), pediatric cardiologists (Drs. Dennis Delany and Melanie Nies) and pediatric emergency medicine colleagues (Dr. Kate Deanehan) to extend POCUS education to their respective divisions. 

Dr. Chen has received internal funding (a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center innovation grant and a Women’s Board grant) for development of a multidisciplinary POCUS curriculum, and she presented her research work at the national American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) conference in 2023. 

Dr. Chen has taught at regional POCUS workshops at Johns Hopkins and at Children’s National Hospital. Dr. Chen has additional research interests in neonatal brain injury, specifically cerebellar injury after hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in an animal model working with Dr. Jennifer Lee Summers (anesthesiology) and Dr. Lee Martin (pathology/neuroscience).  


Selected Publications

Moon J, Chen M, Gandhy SU, Strawderman M, Levitsky DA, Maclean KN, Strupp BJ.  Perinatal Choline Supplementation Improves Cognitive Functioning and Emotion Regulation in the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down Syndrome. Behavioral Neuroscience.  2010;124(3):346-361.

 Chen MW, Reyes M, Kulikowicz E, Martin L, Hackam DJ, Koehler RC, Lee JK. Abdominal near-infrared spectroscopy in a piglet model of gastrointestinal hypoxia produced by graded hypoxia or superior mesenteric artery ligation. Pediatric Research. 2018;83(6):1172-1181. PMID: 29538356 

Santos PT, O’Brien CE, Chen MW, Hopkins CD, Adams S, Kulikowicz E, Singh R, Koehler RC, Martin LJ, Lee JK. Proteasome biology is compromised in white matter after asphyxic cardiac arrest in neonatal piglets. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018; 7(20):e009415. PMID: 30371275

Chen MW, Akinboyo IC, Sue PK, Donohue PK, Ghanem KG, Detrick B, Witter FR, Page KR, Arav-Boger R, Golden WC. Evaluating congenital syphilis in a reverse sequence testing environment. J Perinatol. 2019; 39(7):956-963. PMID: 31076626

 Lee J, Santos PT, Chen MW, O’Brien CE, Kulikowicz E, Adams S, Hardart H, Koehler RC, Martin LJ. Combining hypothermia and oleuropein subacutely protects subcortical white matter in a swine model of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2021;80(2):182-198. PMID: 33212486

Chen MW, Santos P, Kulikowicz E, Koehler RC, Lee JK, Martin LJ. Targeting the mitochondrial permeability transition pore for neuroprotection in a piglet model of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. J Neurosci Res. 2021;99(6):1550-1564. PMID: 33675112

Liu X, Tekes A, Perin J, Chen M, Soares BP, Massaro AN, Govindan RB, Parkinson C, Chavez-Valdez R, Northington FJ, Brady K, Lee J. Wavelet autoregulation monitoring identifies blood pressures associated with brain injury in neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Front. Neurol. 2021;12:662839. PMID: 33995258

El Demerdash N, Chen MW, O’Brien CE, Adams S, Kulikowicz E, Martin LJ, Lee JK. Oleuropein activates neonatal neocortical proteasomes, but proteasome gene targeting by AAV9 is variable in a clinically relevant piglet model of brain hypoxia-ischemia and hypothermia. Cells. 2021; 10(8):2120. PMID: 34440889

Chen MW, Lee JK, Vezina G, Tekes A, Perin J, Li R, O’Kane A, McGowan M, Chang T, Parkinson C, Krein C, Al-Shargabi T, Northington FJ, Brady KM, Massaro AN, Govindan RB. The utility of cerebral autoregulation indices in detecting severe brain injury varies by cooling treatment phase in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Dev Neuroscience. 2022; 44(4-5):363-372. doi: 10.1159/000522314. PMID: 35100588

Li R, Lee JK, Govindan RB, Graham EM, Everett AD, Perin J, Vezina G, Tekes A, Chen MW, Northington F, Parkinson C, O'Kane A, McGowan M, Krein C, Al-Shargabi T, Chang T, Massaro AN. Plasma biomarkers of evolving encephalopathy and brain injury in neonates with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). J Pediatr. 2023; 252:146-153.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2022.07.046. PMID: 35944723

Primiani CT, Lee JK, O’Brien CE, Chen MW, Perin J, Kulikowicz E, Santos P, Adams S, Lester B, Rivera-Diaz N, Olberding V, Niedzwiecki MV, Ritzl EK, Habela CW, Liu X, Yang ZJ, Koehler RC, Martin LJ. Hypothermic protection in neocortex is topographic and laminar, seizure unmitigating, and partially rescues neurons depleted of RNA splicing protein RBFOX3 in neonatal hypoxic-ischemic male piglets. Cells. 2023; accepted for publication.

Activities & Honors


  • Thrasher Early Career Award Program Grant
  • Innovation Grant Recipient, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center


  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
  • Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM)
  • American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM)
  • Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
  • Newborn Brain Society
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