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Janet  Soul, MD

Janet Soul
Neurology Research
Hospital Title:
Senior Associate in Neurology
Academic Title:
Associate Professor in Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Research Focus Area:
Neonatal neurology
Contact Via Email
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Research Overview

My research focuses on acquired brain injury in newborn infants. I am particularly interested in hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, involving a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain; the treatment of seizures in term newborns; and periventricular leukomalacia (injury to the white matter of the brain), intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding into the ventricles of the brain) and hydrocephalus in preterm newborns. The broad goal of my research is to understand the causes of these brain injuries and to detect them at their earliest onset in order to develop and test neuroprotective therapies that prevent or minimize brain injury.

A current focus is improving the treatment and long-term outcomes of newborns with hypoxia-ischemia. Term age newborns with this condition can have serious long-term disabilities such as cerebral palsy and intellectual and visual disabilities resulting from brain injury. I am the Principal Investigator of an NIH-funded clinical trial that is testing bumetanide for newborn seizures caused by hypoxia-ischemia. This is the first randomized, double-blind controlled trial of a new seizure medicine to be tested in newborns in decades, and the first to test a medicine that works specifically in the newborn brain, based on research conducted in animals. Results from this trial will be used to design larger multicenter trials of new medicines to treat newborn seizures and potentially to improve the long-term outcomes of these newborns.

Related studies are seeking to determine which newborns are most likely to develop seizures that are hard to control, the outcome of seizures and newer, more sensitive techniques to measure levels of bumetanide (or other seizure medications) in the blood and spinal fluid using very small volumes of these fluids.

In addition, I am collaborating with other investigators to study aspects of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in term newborns. With colleagues in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children's Hospital, I developed the induced hypothermia protocol used to treat these newborns to prevent or minimize brain damage from hypoxia-ischemia. Our studies include evaluation of the safety and efficacy of therapeutic hypothermia; use of advanced imaging to improve understanding of the causes, timing and prediction of long-term outcome; and evaluating the effects of treatment on the newborns' long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes.

I am also leading a project investigating the characteristics of cerebral visual impairment caused by white-matter injury to the brains of children born prematurely. Visual problems in these newborns are related to injury to the brain's visual centers, rather than eye disease. The visual perceptual problems can lead to other problems, such as learning difficulties in school and difficulties with orientation and mobility. Relatively little is known about these types of visual disorders. Our study is one of the first to look at the relationship between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evidence of brain injury and visual impairments detected by sophisticated tests of visual acuity and perception.

About Janet Soul

Janet Soul received her MD from McGill University Faculty of Medicine. She completed an internship and residency at Boston City Hospital and fellowships in neurology and neonatal neurology at Boston Children's Hospital.


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles
  1. Smyser CD, Tam EW, Chang T, Soul JS, Miller SP, Glass HC. Fellowship Training in the Emerging Fields of Fetal-Neonatal Neurology and Neonatal Neurocritical Care. Pediatr Neurol. 2016 Oct; 63:39-44.e3.
  2. Srivastava S, Olson HE, Cohen JS, Gubbels CS, Lincoln S, Davis BT, Shahmirzadi L, Gupta S, Picker J, Yu TW, Miller DT, Soul JS, Poretti A, Naidu S. BRAT1 mutations present with a spectrum of clinical severity. Am J Med Genet A. 2016 Sep; 170(9):2265-73.
  3. Glass HC, Shellhaas RA, Wusthoff CJ, Chang T, Abend NS, Chu CJ, Cilio MR, Glidden DV, Bonifacio SL, Massey S, Tsuchida TN, Silverstein FS, Soul JS. Contemporary Profile of Seizures in Neonates: A Prospective Cohort Study. J Pediatr. 2016 Jul; 174:98-103.e1.
  4. Dehaes M, Cheng HH, Buckley EM, Lin PY, Ferradal S, Williams K, Vyas R, Hagan K, Wigmore D, McDavitt E, Soul JS, Franceschini MA, Newburger JW, Ellen Grant P. Perioperative cerebral hemodynamics and oxygen metabolism in neonates with single-ventricle physiology. Biomed Opt Express. 2015 Dec 1; 6(12):4749-67.
  5. Olson H, Shen Y, Avallone J, Sheidley BR, Pinsky R, Bergin AM, Berry GT, Duffy FH, Eksioglu Y, Harris DJ, Hisama FM, Ho E, Irons M, Jacobsen CM, James P, Kothare S, Khwaja O, Lipton J, Loddenkemper T, Markowitz J, Maski K, Megerian JT, Neilan E, Raffalli PC, Robbins M, Roberts A, Roe E, Rollins C, Sahin M, Sarco D, Schonwald A, Smith SE, Soul J, Stoler JM, Takeoka M, Tan WH, Torres AR, Tsai P, Urion DK, Weissman L, Wolff R, Wu BL, Miller DT, Poduri A. Copy number variation plays an important role in clinical epilepsy. Ann Neurol. 2014 Jun; 75(6):943-58.
  6. Cheng HH, Wypij D, Laussen PC, Bellinger DC, Stopp CD, Soul JS, Newburger JW, Kussman BD. Cerebral blood flow velocity and neurodevelopmental outcome in infants undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease. Ann Thorac Surg. 2014 Jul; 98(1):125-32.
  7. Gotoh L, Inoue K, Helman G, Mora S, Maski K, Soul JS, Bloom M, Evans SH, Goto Y, Caldovic L, Hobson GM, Vanderver A. GJC2 promoter mutations causing Pelizaeus-Merzbacher-like disease. Mol Genet Metab. 2014 Mar; 111(3):393-8.
  8. Dehaes M, Aggarwal A, Lin PY, Rosa Fortuno C, Fenoglio A, Roche-Labarbe N, Soul JS, Franceschini MA, Grant PE. Cerebral oxygen metabolism in neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy during and after therapeutic hypothermia. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2014 Jan; 34(1):87-94.
  9. Wintermark P, Hansen A, Warfield SK, Dukhovny D, Soul JS. Near-infrared spectroscopy versus magnetic resonance imaging to study brain perfusion in newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy treated with hypothermia. Neuroimage. 2014 Jan 15; 85 Pt 1:287-93.
  10. O'Reilly D, Labrecque M, O'Melia M, Bacic J, Hansen A, Soul JS. Passive cooling during transport of asphyxiated term newborns. J Perinatol. 2013 Jun; 33(6):435-40.
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  12. Peters JM, Madhavan VL, Kazacos KR, Husson RN, Dangoudoubiyam S, Soul JS. Good outcome with early empiric treatment of neural larva migrans due to Baylisascaris procyonis. Pediatrics. 2012 Mar; 129(3):e806-11.
  13. Wintermark P, Hansen A, Gregas MC, Soul J, Labrecque M, Robertson RL, Warfield SK. Brain perfusion in asphyxiated newborns treated with therapeutic hypothermia. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2011 Dec; 32(11):2023-9.
  14. Li Y, Cleary R, Kellogg M, Soul JS, Berry GT, Jensen FE. Sensitive isotope dilution liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry method for quantitative analysis of bumetanide in serum and brain tissue. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2011 Apr 15; 879(13-14):998-1002.
  15. Wintermark P, Hansen A, Soul J, Labrecque M, Robertson RL, Warfield SK. Early versus late MRI in asphyxiated newborns treated with hypothermia. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2011 Jan; 96(1):F36-44.
  16. Kussman BD, Wypij D, Laussen PC, Soul JS, Bellinger DC, DiNardo JA, Robertson R, Pigula FA, Jonas RA, Newburger JW. Relationship of intraoperative cerebral oxygen saturation to neurodevelopmental outcome and brain magnetic resonance imaging at 1 year of age in infants undergoing biventricular repair. Circulation. 2010 Jul 20; 122(3):245-54.
  17. Beeghly M, Ware J, Soul J, du Plessis A, Khwaja O, Senapati GM, Robson CD, Robertson RL, Poussaint TY, Barnewolt CE, Feldman HA, Estroff JA, Levine D. Neurodevelopmental outcome of fetuses referred for ventriculomegaly. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Apr; 35(4):405-16.
  18. Tischfield MA, Baris HN, Wu C, Rudolph G, Van Maldergem L, He W, Chan WM, Andrews C, Demer JL, Robertson RL, Mackey DA, Ruddle JB, Bird TD, Gottlob I, Pieh C, Traboulsi EI, Pomeroy SL, Hunter DG, Soul JS, Newlin A, Sabol LJ, Doherty EJ, de Uzcátegui CE, de Uzcátegui N, Collins ML, Sener EC, Wabbels B, Hellebrand H, Meitinger T, de Berardinis T, Magli A, Schiavi C, Pastore-Trossello M, Koc F, Wong AM, Levin AV, Geraghty MT, Descartes M, Flaherty M, Jamieson RV, Møller HU, Meuthen I, Callen DF, Kerwin J, Lindsay S, Meindl A, Gupta ML, Pellman D, Engle EC. Human TUBB3 mutations perturb microtubule dynamics, kinesin interactions, and axon guidance. Cell. 2010 Jan 8; 140(1):74-87.
  19. O'Leary H, Gregas MC, Limperopoulos C, Zaretskaya I, Bassan H, Soul JS, Di Salvo DN, du Plessis AJ. Elevated cerebral pressure passivity is associated with prematurity-related intracranial hemorrhage. Pediatrics. 2009 Jul; 124(1):302-9.
  20. Soul JS, Robertson RL, Wypij D, Bellinger DC, Visconti KJ, du Plessis AJ, Kussman BD, Scoppettuolo LA, Pigula F, Jonas RA, Newburger JW. Subtle hemorrhagic brain injury is associated with neurodevelopmental impairment in infants with repaired congenital heart disease. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2009 Aug; 138(2):374-81.
  21. Limperopoulos C, Gauvreau KK, O'Leary H, Moore M, Bassan H, Eichenwald EC, Soul JS, Ringer SA, Di Salvo DN, du Plessis AJ. Cerebral hemodynamic changes during intensive care of preterm infants. Pediatrics. 2008 Nov; 122(5):e1006-13.
  22. Miller DT, Shen Y, Weiss LA, Korn J, Anselm I, Bridgemohan C, Cox GF, Dickinson H, Gentile J, Harris DJ, Hegde V, Hundley R, Khwaja O, Kothare S, Luedke C, Nasir R, Poduri A, Prasad K, Raffalli P, Reinhard A, Smith SE, Sobeih MM, Soul JS, Stoler J, Takeoka M, Tan WH, Thakuria J, Wolff R, Yusupov R, Gusella JF, Daly MJ, Wu BL. Microdeletion/duplication at 15q13.2q13.3 among individuals with features of autism and other neuropsychiatric disorders. J Med Genet. 2009 Apr; 46(4):242-8.
  23. Limperopoulos C, Bassan H, Sullivan NR, Soul JS, Robertson RL, Moore M, Ringer SA, Volpe JJ, du Plessis AJ. Positive screening for autism in ex-preterm infants: prevalence and risk factors. Pediatrics. 2008 Apr; 121(4):758-65.
  24. Newburger JW, Jonas RA, Soul J, Kussman BD, Bellinger DC, Laussen PC, Robertson R, Mayer JE, del Nido PJ, Bacha EA, Forbess JM, Pigula F, Roth SJ, Visconti KJ, du Plessis AJ, Farrell DM, McGrath E, Rappaport LA, Wypij D. Randomized trial of hematocrit 25% versus 35% during hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass in infant heart surgery. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2008 Feb; 135(2):347-54, 354.e1-4.
  25. Limperopoulos C, Bassan H, Kalish LA, Ringer SA, Eichenwald EC, Walter G, Moore M, Vanasse M, DiSalvo DN, Soul JS, Volpe JJ, du Plessis AJ. Current definitions of hypotension do not predict abnormal cranial ultrasound findings in preterm infants. Pediatrics. 2007 Nov; 120(5):966-77.
  26. Bassan H, Limperopoulos C, Visconti K, Mayer DL, Feldman HA, Avery L, Benson CB, Stewart J, Ringer SA, Soul JS, Volpe JJ, du Plessis AJ. Neurodevelopmental outcome in survivors of periventricular hemorrhagic infarction. Pediatrics. 2007 Oct; 120(4):785-92.
  27. Limperopoulos C, Bassan H, Gauvreau K, Robertson RL, Sullivan NR, Benson CB, Avery L, Stewart J, Soul JS, Ringer SA, Volpe JJ, duPlessis AJ. Does cerebellar injury in premature infants contribute to the high prevalence of long-term cognitive, learning, and behavioral disability in survivors? Pediatrics. 2007 Sep; 120(3):584-93.
  28. Soul JS, Hammer PE, Tsuji M, Saul JP, Bassan H, Limperopoulos C, Disalvo DN, Moore M, Akins P, Ringer S, Volpe JJ, Trachtenberg F, du Plessis AJ. Fluctuating pressure-passivity is common in the cerebral circulation of sick premature infants. Pediatr Res. 2007 Apr; 61(4):467-73.
  29. Gorman MP, Soul JS. Neonatal hypocalcemic seizures in siblings exposed to topiramate in utero. Pediatr Neurol. 2007 Apr; 36(4):274-6.
  30. Lawson-Yuen A, Berend SA, Soul JS, Irons M. Patient with novel interstitial deletion of chromosome 3q13.1q13.3 and agenesis of the corpus callosum. Clin Dysmorphol. 2006 Oct; 15(4):217-20.
  31. Haidar H, Bouix S, Levitt JJ, McCarley RW, Shenton ME, Soul JS. Characterizing the shape of anatomical structures with Poisson's equation. IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2006 Oct; 25(10):1249-57.
  32. Bassan H, Feldman HA, Limperopoulos C, Benson CB, Ringer SA, Veracruz E, Soul JS, Volpe JJ, du Plessis AJ. Periventricular hemorrhagic infarction: risk factors and neonatal outcome. Pediatr Neurol. 2006 Aug; 35(2):85-92.
  33. Bassan H, Benson CB, Limperopoulos C, Feldman HA, Ringer SA, Veracruz E, Stewart JE, Soul JS, Disalvo DN, Volpe JJ, du Plessis AJ. Ultrasonographic features and severity scoring of periventricular hemorrhagic infarction in relation to risk factors and outcome. Pediatrics. 2006 Jun; 117(6):2111-8.
  34. Tekgul H, Gauvreau K, Soul J, Murphy L, Robertson R, Stewart J, Volpe J, Bourgeois B, du Plessis AJ. The current etiologic profile and neurodevelopmental outcome of seizures in term newborn infants. Pediatrics. 2006 Apr; 117(4):1270-80.
  35. Haidar H, Soul JS. Measurement of cortical thickness in 3D brain MRI data: validation of the Laplacian method. J Neuroimaging. 2006 Apr; 16(2):146-53.
  36. Haidar H, Warfield SK, Soul JS. Talairach-based parcellation of neonatal brain magnetic resonance imaging data: validation of a new approach. J Neuroimaging. 2005 Oct; 15(4):305-14.
  37. Kuban KC, O'Shea M, Allred E, Leviton A, Gilmore H, DuPlessis A, Krishnamoorthy K, Hahn C, Soul J, O'Connor SE, Miller K, Church PT, Keller C, Bream R, Adair R, Miller A, Romano E, Bassan H, Kerkering K, Engelke S, Marshall D, Milowic K, Wereszczak J, Hubbard C, Washburn L, Dillard R, Heller C, Burdo-Hartman W, Fagerman L, Sutton D, Karna P, Olomu N, Caldarelli L, Oca M, Lohr K, Scheiner A. Video and CD-ROM as a training tool for performing neurologic examinations of 1-year-old children in a multicenter epidemiologic study. J Child Neurol. 2005 Oct; 20(10):829-31.
  38. Limperopoulos C, Soul JS, Haidar H, Huppi PS, Bassan H, Warfield SK, Robertson RL, Moore M, Akins P, Volpe JJ, du Plessis AJ. Impaired trophic interactions between the cerebellum and the cerebrum among preterm infants. Pediatrics. 2005 Oct; 116(4):844-50.
  39. Lim M, Soul JS, Hansen RM, Mayer DL, Moskowitz A, Fulton AB. Development of visual acuity in children with cerebral visual impairment. Arch Ophthalmol. 2005 Sep; 123(9):1215-20.
  40. Limperopoulos C, Soul JS, Gauvreau K, Huppi PS, Warfield SK, Bassan H, Robertson RL, Volpe JJ, du Plessis AJ. Late gestation cerebellar growth is rapid and impeded by premature birth. Pediatrics. 2005 Mar; 115(3):688-95.
  41. Yoo SS, Park HJ, Soul JS, Mamata H, Park H, Westin CF, Bassan H, Du Plessis AJ, Robertson RL, Maier SE, Ringer SA, Volpe JJ, Zientara GP. In vivo visualization of white matter fiber tracts of preterm- and term-infant brains with diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging. Invest Radiol. 2005 Feb; 40(2):110-5.
  42. Bassan H, Gauvreau K, Newburger JW, Tsuji M, Limperopoulos C, Soul JS, Walter G, Laussen PC, Jonas RA, du Plessis AJ. Identification of pressure passive cerebral perfusion and its mediators after infant cardiac surgery. Pediatr Res. 2005 Jan; 57(1):35-41.
  43. Sakamoto T, Nollert GD, Zurakowski D, Soul J, Duebener LF, Sperling J, Nagashima M, Taylor G, DuPlessis AJ, Jonas RA. Hemodilution elevates cerebral blood flow and oxygen metabolism during cardiopulmonary bypass in piglets. Ann Thorac Surg. 2004 May; 77(5):1656-63; discussion 1663.
  44. Soul JS, Eichenwald E, Walter G, Volpe JJ, du Plessis AJ. CSF removal in infantile posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus results in significant improvement in cerebral hemodynamics. Pediatr Res. 2004 May; 55(5):872-6.
  45. Haidar H, Bouix S, Levitt J, McCarley RW, Shenton ME, Soul JS. An elliptic PDE approach for shape characterization. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2004; 2:1521-4.
  46. Ryan MM, Darras BT, Soul JS. Peroneal neuropathy from ankle-foot orthoses. Pediatr Neurol. 2003 Jul; 29(1):72-4.
  47. Soul JS, Robertson RL, Tzika AA, du Plessis AJ, Volpe JJ. Time course of changes in diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging in a case of neonatal encephalopathy with defined onset and duration of hypoxic-ischemic insult. Pediatrics. 2001 Nov; 108(5):1211-4.
  48. Hsich GE, Robertson RL, Irons M, Soul JS, du Plessis AJ. Cerebral infarction in Menkes' disease. Pediatr Neurol. 2000 Nov; 23(5):425-8.
  49. Soul JS, Taylor GA, Wypij D, Duplessis AJ, Volpe JJ. Noninvasive detection of changes in cerebral blood flow by near-infrared spectroscopy in a piglet model of hydrocephalus. Pediatr Res. 2000 Oct; 48(4):445-9.
  50. Soul JS, du Plessis AJ. New technologies in pediatric neurology. Near-infrared spectroscopy. Semin Pediatr Neurol. 1999 Jun; 6(2):101-10.
  51. Taylor GA, Soul JS, Dunning PS. Sonographic ventriculography: a new potential use for sonographic contrast agents in neonatal hydrocephalus. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1998 Nov-Dec; 19(10):1931-4.
  52. Bloomberg J, Jones GM, Segal B, McFarlane S, Soul J. Vestibular-contingent voluntary saccades based on cognitive estimates of remembered vestibular information. Adv Otorhinolaryngol. 1988; 41:71-5.
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