New Chief of the Division of Neonatology and Developmental Medicine Appointed by Stanford Medicine Children’s Health

Lawrence (Lance) S. Prince, MD, PhD, will also serve as Co-director of the Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, together with Co-director Yasser El-Sayed, MD, Obstetrician in Chief

For release: January 6, 2021

Lawrence (Lance) S. Prince, MD, PhD
Lawrence (Lance) S. Prince, MD, PhD

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Physician-scientist and clinician Lawrence (Lance) S. Prince, MD, PhD, has been appointed Chief of the Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, as well as Professor of Pediatrics. He will also serve as Co-director of the Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, together with Co-director Yasser El-Sayed, MD, Obstetrician in Chief.

Widely recognized as a distinguished physician scientist, dedicated clinician, generous mentor, and visionary leader, Dr. Prince previously served as Chief of the Division of Neonatology and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, and Rady Children’s Hospital–San Diego. Before arriving in California, he was Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University.

At Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, Dr. Prince will continue to advance the Neonatology division’s leadership in both care and clinical research. The Neonatology division at Packard Children’s Hospital was recently ranked #3 in the U.S. News & World Report 2020–2021 Best Children’s Hospitals survey.

“We are very happy to welcome Dr. Lance Prince to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health,” says Paul King, president and CEO of Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. “He brings an impressive set of experiences and skills to our program, and beyond that he is an exceptional individual. Dr. Prince’s sincere dedication to caring for the health of the youngest patients is at the heart of our mission here, and we look forward to a long and successful time together.”

Overseeing newborn care for all stages of complexity

Prince will oversee Stanford Medicine Children’s Health’s multiple levels of care for premature and critically ill infants, which includes comprehensive neonatology services for newborns, including micro-preemies, at all stages of complexity. Non-critically-ill babies are cared for in the hospital’s Newborn Nursery; and according to the severity of their needs, babies receive more intensive support in the Level II Intermediate Care Nursery, a 40-bed Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and two specialized units that work not only to prevent brain injury but also to promote brain development.

One of these is the Neuro-Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which cares for at-risk term and preterm newborns using monitoring and assessment tools that allow clinicians to track the physiology and function of newborn brains. The Neuro-NICU uses advanced techniques, such as therapeutic hypothermia, to minimize damage to young brains. The other unit is the seven-bed Nest (small baby unit) within the NICU, which cares for the youngest and smallest babies. Here, a specially trained team uses specific protocols and equipment, including ventilator protocols that minimize later breathing complications, and other approaches that account for these fragile babies’ unique medical and developmental needs.

Dr. Prince will also oversee the specialized Cardiac and Respiratory Care for Infants with BPD (CRIB) Program, which brings cardiologists, pulmonologists, and neonatologists together to address lung and heart diseases associated with prematurity. Dr. Prince has dedicated his own multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to researching and treating one of the most intractable challenges in neonatology: bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in babies born extremely prematurely, and his NIH-funded laboratory is focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling lung development.

“I am thrilled to join Stanford Children’s Health, which is not only an epicenter of medical discovery and advancement, but also a place where care is delivered with the utmost compassion and support for families,” says Dr. Prince. “As a physician-scientist, I am inspired by this spirit of innovation, and excited to lead a team whose work to advance care for pregnant women and newborns is driven by these values.”

Advancing research for the tiniest patients

Dr. Prince received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Miami; received an MD, PhD with a focus in Cell Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and completed a postdoctoral fellowship, a pediatrics residency, and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship training at the University of Iowa. His seminal research work has made fundamental contributions to the scientific understanding of the molecular mechanisms that link the innate immune system, inflammatory pathways, and lung development.

Stanford scientists are leading the field of prematurity prevention with research conducted at the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford University. The center, the first of its kind, was established with a $20 million donation from the March of Dimes in 2011 and has produced several advances in the field.

In 2018, for example, Stanford researchers developed a new, noninvasive blood test that can predict premature births. By testing blood samples from pregnant women, the team was able to predict premature deliveries with 75% to 80% accuracy. The test can also predict due dates as reliably as a prenatal ultrasound.

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, home of the Johnson Center for Newborn and Pregnancy Services, is the only freestanding children’s hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area—and one of just a few in the country—to offer complex fertility, obstetric, delivery, newborn, and pediatric services all in one place. The team combines the expertise of more than two dozen medical and surgical subspecialists, including maternal-fetal medicine, perinatal genetics, neonatology, fetal and pediatric radiology, surgery, and cardiology.

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About Stanford Medicine Children's Health

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its center, is the Bay Area’s largest health care system exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Our network of care includes more than 65 locations across Northern California and more than 85 locations in the U.S. Western region. Along with Stanford Health Care and the Stanford School of Medicine, we are part of Stanford Medicine, an ecosystem harnessing the potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education, and clinical care to improve health outcomes around the world. We are a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community through meaningful outreach programs and services and providing necessary medical care to families, regardless of their ability to pay. Discover more at