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Designing Solutions for Maternal and Infant Health

Karl Sylvester


Karl Sylvester, MD
Stanford Medicine/Pediatrics/Pediatric Surgery

Prior to joining the faculty and staff of Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Children’s Health, Dr. Sylvester completed his Pediatric Surgical training at the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut. Additional post-doctoral training included General Surgery residency at Pennsylvania Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and a post- doctoral translational research fellowship in fetal medicine and surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

In his clinical practice, Dr. Sylvester specializes in the surgical care of newborn babies with congenital anomalies, pediatric trauma and children with vascular anomalies. Since 2012 Dr. Sylvester has served as the Executive Director of the Center for Fetal and Maternal Health for Stanford Children’s Health. The Center’s mission is to provide comprehensive unparalleled care to expectant mothers, complex fetal patients and high-risk newborns by developing the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic options Dr. Sylvester is leading the Center’s therapeutic evolution to extend the continuum of care through in utero fetal interventions for select fetal anomalies like congenital diaphragmatic hernia and spina bifida that are associated with significant mortality and the potential for life-long morbidity. Dr. Sylvester is also focused on expanding the translational research portfolio of the CFMH by leveraging the breakthrough discoveries in genomics, immunology, metabolomics, and molecular imaging that are occurring as part of Stanford Medicine’s vision to lead in the delivery of precision healthcare.

In addition to his clinical and administrative roles, Dr. Sylvester leads a federally funded translational laboratory that focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of human newborn disease. Dr. Sylvester has published extensively on a variety of topics and is a recognized authority on the devastating newborn disease, Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). Over the past ten years Dr. Sylvester has co-directed a national consortium of leading academic children’s hospitals and investigators focused on developing molecular markers of NEC to facilitate its prevention and diagnosis. These efforts have recently resulted in several novel discoveries that includes sensitive and specific diagnostic biomarkers and risk stratification algorithms based upon mechanistic insight drawn from newborn metabolic indicators. These discoveries are important contributions to the overall mission of innovation of the Center for Fetal and Maternal Health.

2016 Scientific Advisory Board: 
2016 Topics: 
Born too Soon