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Dr Mark Johnson


Consultant Neonatologist

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Dr Mark Johnson is a consultant neonatologist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and an honorary senior clinical lecturer in neonatal medicine at the University of Southampton. 

Mark's research centres around the nutritional care and growth of preterm infants, and the implementation of practice change in order to improve care. In particular, Mark’s research focusses on understanding and characterising the optimal growth for infants born very prematurely, the factors which affect this, and how best to achieve this using nutrition in clinical practice.

Mark has been involved in national and international guidelines for intravenous and milk feeding for very premature babies and their nutritional requirements, and has also written on topics which include nutritional assessment in children and premature babies neonatal nutritional screening and the assessment of growth in premature babies. Mark has also undertaken several systematic reviews in the area of neonatal nutrition.

During his training, Mark was an NIHR (National Institute of Health Research) academic clinical fellow, and was later awarded a prestigious NIHR doctoral research fellowship to fund his PhD, which he was awarded by the University of Southampton in 2015. He is currently the lead for education and training for the nutrition theme of the Southampton NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Landmark publications:

Enteral Nutrition in Preterm Infants (2022): A Position Paper from the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition and invited experts. Embleton, Nicholas David; Moltu, Sissel Jennifer; Lapillonne, Alexandre; van den Akker, Chris H.P.; Carnielli, Virgilio; Fusch, Christoph; Gerasimidis, Konstantinos; van Goudoever, Johannes B.; Haiden, Nadja; Iacobelli, Silvia; Johnson, Mark J.; Meyer, Sascha; Mihatsch, Walter; de Pipaon, Miguel Saenz; Rigo, Jacques; Zachariassen, Gitte; Bronsky, Jiri; Indrio, Flavia; Köglmeier, Jutta; de Koning, Barbara; Norsa, Lorenzo; Verduci, Elvira; Domellöf, Magnus. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: October 21, 2022 - 10.1097/MPG.0000000000003642. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000003642

Changes in the growth of very preterm infants in England 2006–2018. Young, A., Cole, T. J., Cheng, G., Ennis, S., Beattie, R. M., & Johnson, M. J. (2022). Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and      Neonatal Edition Published Online First: 28 October 2022. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2022-324584

Research priorities in pediatric parenteral nutrition: a consensus  and perspective from ESPGHAN/ESPEN/ESPR/CSPEN. Johnson, M.J., Lapillonne, A., Bronsky, J. et al.. Pediatr Res 92, 61–70 (2022). 

Total body water in full term and preterm newborns: systematic review and meta-analysis. A. Young, LK. Brown, S. Ennis, RM. Beattie,   MJ. Johnson. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2021

Generating longitudinal growth charts from preterm infants fed to current recommendations. A.   Young, ET. Andrews, JJ. Ashton, RM. Beattie, MJ. Johnson. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2020;105(6):646-51

Improving growth of infants with congenital heart disease using a consensus-based nutritional pathway (2019) LV Marino, MJ   Johnson, NJ Davies, CS Kidd, J Fienberg, T Richens, T Bharucha, RM   Beattie, AS Darlington. Clinical   Nutrition doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2019.10.031 [Epub ahead of print]

Measuring body composition in the preterm   infant: Evidence base and practicalities (2018) ET Andrews, RM   Beattie, MJ Johnson. Clinical   Nutrition 2018 Dec;38(6):2521-2530

Home use of breast milk fortifier to promote   post discharge growth and breastfeeding in preterm infants: a quality   improvement project (2018) LV Marino, C Fudge, F Pearson, MJ Johnson. Arch Dis Child 2018 Oct;104(10):1007-1012

Early postnatal growth failure in preterm   infants is not inevitable (2018) ET Andrews, JJ Ashton, F Pearson, RM Beattie, MJ Johnson. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2018 104:F235-F241

Successfully implementing and embedding   guidelines to improve the nutrition and growth of preterm infants in neonatal   intensive care: a prospective interventional study.(2017) MJ Johnson,   AA Leaf, F Pearson, HW Clark, BD Dimitrov, C Pope, CR May. BMJ Open. 2017 Dec 6;7(12):e017727.   doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017727.

Care bundles to reduce central line-associated   bloodstream infections in the neonatal unit: a systematic review and   meta-analysis (2017) V Payne, M Hall, J Prieto, M Johnson. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2017 Nov 25. pii:   fetalneonatal-2017-313362. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2017-313362

Assessing the growth of preterm infants using   detailed anthropometry (2017). JJ Ashton, MJ Johnson, J Pond, P Crowley, BD   Dimitrov, F Pearson, RM Beattie. Acta   Paediatrica 2017 Jun;106(6):889-896. doi: 10.1111/apa.13804

Implementation, context and complexity (2016). CR   May, MJ Johnson, T Finch. Implementation   Science 2016; 11:141. DOI: 10.1186/s13012-016-0506-3

Nutrition and neurodevelopmental outcomes in   preterm infants: a systematic review (2016). SHT Chan, MJ Johnson, AA Leaf, B   Vollmer. Acta Paediatrica doi: 10.1111/apa.13344. [Epub ahead of print].

Promoting professional behaviour change in   healthcare – what interventions work, and why? A theory-led overview of   systematic reviews (2015). MJ Johnson and CR May. BMJ Open 2015;5:e008592   doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008592

Early parenteral nutrition and growth   outcomes in preterm infants: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2013) HE Moyses*, MJ Johnson*,   AA Leaf, VR Cornelius, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2013   Apr;97(4):816-26 *Joint first authors

Preterm birth and body composition at   term equivalent age: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2012). MJ Johnson, SA   Wootton, AA Leaf, AA Jackson. Pediatrics   2012 130(3): e640-649.

Major grants:

  • NIHR RfPB. Exploring barriers to acceptance and adoption of trans-anastomotic tube feeding in babies born with duodenal atresi. Mr N Hall, Dr M Johnson, Dr J Turnbull. 2022-24. £138,000.00

  • NIHR HTA, Fluids Exclusively   Enterally from Day 1 (FEED1): a randomised controlled trial of full milk   feeds versus intravenous nutrition with gradual feeding for preterm infants (30-33 weeks gestational age), Dr S Ohja (CI), Dr C Gale, Dr H Mistry, Dr K Walker, Dr M Johnson, Dr P Pallotti, Dr R Ogollah, Miss C Kenyon, Miss M Patel, Ms E Mitchell, Prof A   Montgomery, Prof J Dorling, Prof S Oddie, Professor W McGuire, 2019-23, £1.6 million

  • NIHR BRC Southampton, Scaling up of the Standardising Preterm Infant Nutrition’ (SPIN) study as part of the Growth Assessment of Preterm Infants (GAP) study, Dr M Johnson, Prof RM Beattie, 2019-22,   £16,000

  • NIHR BRC Southampton, Clinical, nutritional, genomic and metabolomic influences on growth and body composition in very preterm infants, Dr M Johnson, Prof RM Beattie, Prof   S Ennis, 2019-22, £187,285

  • ESPR, Growth assessment of preterm infants using detailed Anthropometry- 3D scanning of preterm infants to determine growth and body composition, Dr J Ashton, Dr M Johnson, Professor RM Beattie, Dr F Pearson, 2016-18, £7,000

  • NPPA, What effect do oral   drugs have on the osmolality of feeds given to preterm infants, Miss Z Lansdowne, Dr M Johnson, Dr F Pearson, 2013-14, £22,990

  • NIHR Doctoral Research   Fellowship, Understanding change management in neonatal intensive care, Dr M Johnson, 2012-15, £102,843

Impact example:

Mark’s NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship work in Southampton   demonstrated that the nutrient intakes and growth of preterm infants can be   improved by using a standardised and evidence-based approach to feeding them.   His research group have subsequently been able to show that the growth   failure previously seen in very premature babies is not inevitable and can be   avoided through improved nutrition.

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