prof. dr. M.J.N.L. (Manon) Benders

prof. dr. M.J.N.L. (Manon) Benders

Full Professor
prof. dr. M.J.N.L. (Manon) Benders
  • Birth Center Neonatology - Medical

Research Programs



Manon Benders is professor in Neonatology of the Wilhelmina Children's hospital, UMC Utrecht. Currently she is head of the Department and director of research of the Division of Woman&Baby.
She obtained her PhD degree in Leiden (1999, Prof. Margot van der Bor). She was qualified as a Pediatrician-Neonatologist since 2006 (prof. Frank van Bel). thereafter she did a fellowship in Neonatal Neurology (prof. Linda de Vries.
She has been a consultant neonatologist in the Wilhelmina Children’s hospital of the University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands since 2006. Since april 2014 she was working part-time as a senior clinical lecturer, King’s college London and honary consultant in Neonatology at Guy’s and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
Before she did a junior research fellowship on cerebral ultrasound (Prof. dr. F. Walther) in UCLA in 1997, USA and a senior neonatal neurology research fellowship on neonatal neuro-imaging at University of Geneva (Prof. dr. P.S. Hüppi) in 2006-2007 as part of her fellowship Neonatal Neurology. 
Manon is supervising in total 12 PhD students and 4 clinical research fellows/postdocs, working on national and international research projects, focusing on perinatal neuro-imaging evaluating brain development and neuro-protective and -regenerative strategies.


2008 finished fellowship Neonatal Neurology (Prof dr. Linda de Vries)
2006 Pediatrician- Neonatologist (prof. dr. Frank van Bel)
1999 PhD, Leiden University, the Netherlands (prof. dr. Margot van de Bor)
1996 Bachelor of Medicine, Leiden University, the Netherlands


Research line

Her research focuses on neonatal neuro-imaging. These techniques appear to give the opportunity to detect subtle differences, which are helpful in predicting neurodevelopmental outcome and evaluating of neuroprotective/neuroregenerative strategies to reduce brain injury, which is the other part of her research. She is supervising several PhD students and clinical research fellows, working in different national and international research projects, focusing on neonatal neuro-imaging and neuro-protective and regenerative strategies.


Most recent key publications

1: Benders M, Palmu K, Menache C, Borradori-Tolsa C, Lazeyras F, Sizonenko S, Dubois J, Vanhatalo S, Hüppi PS. Early Brain Activity Relates to Subsequent Brain Growth in Premature Infants. Cereb Cortex. 2014 May 27. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24867393.
2: van den Heuvel MP, Kersbergen KJ, de Reus MA, Keunen K, Kahn RS, Groenendaal F, de Vries LS, Benders M. The Neonatal Connectome During Preterm Brain Development. Cereb Cortex. 2014 May 15. pii: bhu095. [Epub ahead of print] PubMedPMID: 24833018.
3: Benders M, van der Aa NE, Roks M, van Straaten HL, Isgum I, Viergever MA, Groenendaal F, de Vries LS, van Bel F. Feasibility and safety of erythropoietin for neuroprotection after perinatal arterial ischemic stroke. J Pediatr. 2014 Mar;164(3):481-486.
4: Benders M, van der Aa NE, Roks M, van Straaten HL, Isgum I, Viergever MA, Groenendaal F, de Vries LS, van Bel F. Feasibility and safety of erythropoietin for neuroprotection after perinatal arterial ischemic stroke. J Pediatr. 2014 Mar;164(3):481-486.
5: Dubois J, Benders M, Cachia A, Lazeyras F, Ha-Vinh Leuchter R, Sizonenko SV, Borradori-Tolsa C, Mangin JF, Hüppi PS. Mapping the early cortical foldingprocess in the preterm newborn brain. Cereb Cortex. 2008 Jun;18(6):1444-54

Side Activities

Member of the Core team Brain, research theme UMC Utrecht

Member of the Core Team Child Helath, research theme UMC Utrecht

Member of the Programma Committee Dynamics of Youth, representative UMC Utrecht

Figurelead of the foundation 'Gezond Geboren'

Member of the Dutch/Flemish Society of Neonatal Neurology, former Chair from 2012-2016

Member Society of Pediatric Research                                                                                       

Member European Society of Pediatric Research    

Member of the section Council Brain and Development, from 2014 to 2019                                                 

Member Dutch society of Pediatrics  (NVK): Neonatology; neonatal neurology, neonatal hemodynamics                                  

Member of the European Neonatal Brain Club

Former Member of the committee Dutch Ministry of Health Committee: ‘Pregnancy and delivery: a good start’.

Fellowship and Awards

Funding as Principal Investigator

1991      Leids Universitair Fonds: International Foundation for Student Research Projects: ‘Cardiac and Cerebral Doppler-sonography in Neonates’. University of California Los Angeles, Verenigde Staten (€20K)

2005      NSCK reward: Registry ‘Severe Hyperbilirubinemia in Neonates in the Netherlands.’ (NSCK, surveillance) (€10k)

2006      “Ter Meulen Fonds”, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Netherlands, Clinical Research Fellowship. Supervisor: Prof. P.S. Hüppi, University of Geneva, Switzerland (€50k)

2006      International Pediatric Research Foundation (IPRF): exchange program Young Investigator Fellowship of the ESPR, for Clinical Research fellowship Geneve, Prof. P.S. Hüppi, University Geneva, Switzerland (€20k)

2009      The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO): program ‘early evaluation of medical innovation’: ‘Perinatal allopurinol trial for reduction of birth asphyxia induced brain damage’. Co-PI with Obstetrician: Dr. J.B. Derks (PhD: Joepe Kaandorp) (€150k +€50K UMCU)

2009      Alexandre Suerman Stipendium: ‘Reference ranges for the lateral cerebral ventricles of newborn infants’  (PhD: Margaretha Brouwer) (€75k +€50k UMCU)

2009      Catherijne Foundation: MRI of preterm infants: prediction of neurodevelopmental outcome (€200k)

2010      Univeristy Medical Center Utrecht / Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital Foundation: ‘Maturation dependent vulnerability of the Brain and Outcome of Preterm Infants assessed by MRI’ (PhD: Karina Kersbergen) (€150k+€50k UMC)

2011      International Foundation initiated by University Medical Centre Utrecht ‘MRI-biomarkers of Outcome and Perinatal Brain Injury in Neonates with Congenital Heart Disease’ (€50k)

2013      Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Province and Municipality of Utrecht, Utrecht University and the University Medical Center Utrecht: ‘The Nutri-brain project: a randomised, double-blind, controlled trial to evaluate the effects of a nutritional supplement on brain integrity in preterm infants.  (€2.5m)

2016 Nutricia research: fetal and neonatal MRI in youth cohort utrecht. 200.000 euro. Elise Turk

2018    Crucial trial: CeRebrUm and CardIac protection with ALlopurinol in neonates with congenital heart disease requiring neonatal cardiac surgery.zonMW 80-84800-98-42022 (1.6 mljn). National RCT. Prinicipal investigator.


Funding as Co-Investigator

2008-2010     European project Framework VI: ‘NEOBRAIN Neonatal estimation of brain damage risk and identification of neuroprotectants’ LSHM-CT-2006-036534, contract Nr 036534. Member of the MRI workpackage. (€2.3m)

2009                Ministero della Salute – Direzione Generale della Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica. ‘Early identification of newborns at high risk of brain injury through a valida- ted biomarkers profile and specific neuro-imaging patterns. A follow up study of clinical and neurodevelopmental outcome in a large cohort study’. (PI Prof G. Buonocore, University Siena.) Co-applicant, co-supervised 3 PhD students. (€800k)

2011      European study: ‘SafeBoosC: Safeguarding the brain of our smallest children: randomised, blinded, multinational (10 countries), phase II feasibility clinical trial on near-infrared spectroscopy monitoring combined with defined treatment guidelines versus standard monitoring and treatment as usual in premature infantsconsortium’. Neuro-imaging work package leader. (€1.2m)

2012 – 2020  The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). ‘Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to regenerate the neonatal brain’ (Co-PIs Prof Annemieke Kavelaars and Prof Linda de Vries). Co-applicant and neuro-imaging workpackage leader. (€1.7m)

2012                Grant Health Insurance company: Nuts-Ohra: ‘Neuromonitoring during neonatal surgery, and evaluating brain injury with MRI and long-term outcome’. (PI Petra Lemmers). Co-applicant, supervised PhD student: Lisanne Stolwijk. (€160k+50k)

2013                Irish Medical Research Council: ‘Automatic analysis of brain injury in MRI of asphyxiated infants’Co-applicant supervised post-doctoral Fellow (Dr Keelin Murphy). (€100k)

2013                Univeristy Medical Center Utrecht / Wilhelmina Children’s hospital Foundation: ‘White matter injury of the preterm infants’, animal experimental study.’ (PI Dr Cora Nijboer). Supervised PhD student: Erik van Tilborg (€150k +€50k UMCU)

2014                Univeristy Medical Center Utrecht / Wilhelmina Children’s hospital foundation: Anatomical brain networks and its functional dynamics in neonates : a biomarker for cognitive outcome’. (PI Dr Martijn van de Heuvel). Supervised PhD student: Kristin Keunen (€150k+€50k UMCU)


2016            IGLOInsuline like growth factor levels and outcome in extreme premature infants: Brain foundation. The Next Step HA2016-02-04. (co-applicant) (480.000)


2016   Univeristy Medical Center Utrecht / Wilhelmina Children’s hospital foundation: 

The effects of preterm birth of stressresilience during childhood. WKZ foundation. 


                   (co-applicant) €150.000 Femke Lammertink



Research Output (288)

Mammillary body atrophy and other MRI correlates of school-age outcome following neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

Annink Kim V, de Vries Linda S, Groenendaal Floris, Eijsermans Rian M J C, Mocking Manouk, van Schooneveld Monique M J, Dudink Jeroen, van Straaten Henrica L M, Benders Manon J N L, Lequin Maarten, van der Aa Niek E dec 2021, In: Scientific Reports. 11

Nutritional intake, white matter integrity, and neurodevelopment in extremely preterm born infants

Hortensius Lisa M., Janson Els, van Beek Pauline E., Groenendaal Floris, Claessens Nathalie H.P., Swanenburg de Veye Henriette F.N., Eijsermans Maria J.C., Koopman-Esseboom Corine, Dudink Jeroen, van Elburg Ruurd M., Benders Manon J.N.L., Tataranno Maria Luisa, van der Aa Niek E. 27 sep 2021, In: Nutrients. 13

Precision Medicine in Neonates:A Tailored Approach to Neonatal Brain Injury

Tataranno Maria Luisa, Vijlbrief Daniel C, Dudink Jeroen, Benders Manon J N L 19 mei 2021, In: Frontiers in Pediatrics. 9 , p. 634092

High-frequency oscillations recorded with surface EEG in neonates with seizures

Noorlag Lotte, van 't Klooster Maryse A, van Huffelen Alexander C, van Klink Nicole E C, Benders Manon J N L, de Vries Linda S, Leijten Frans S S, Jansen Floor E, Braun Kees P J, Zijlmans Maeike 16 apr 2021, In: Clinical Neurophysiology. 132 , p. 1452-1461 10 p.

NutriBrain:protocol for a randomised, double-blind, controlled trial to evaluate the effects of a nutritional product on brain integrity in preterm infants

Hortensius Lisa M, van den Hooven Edith H, Dudink Jeroen, Tataranno Maria Luisa, van Elburg Ruurd M, Benders Manon J N L 17 mrt 2021, In: BMC Pediatrics. 21

Pathophysiology of Cerebral Hyperperfusion in Term Neonates With Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy:A Systematic Review for Future Research

Kleuskens Dianne G, Gonçalves Costa Filipe, Annink Kim V, van den Hoogen Agnes, Alderliesten Thomas, Groenendaal Floris, Benders Manon J N, Dudink Jeroen 2 feb 2021, In: Frontiers in Pediatrics. 9 , p. 631258

The relationship between preterm birth and sleep in children at school age:A systematic review

Visser Simone S M, van Diemen Willemijn J M, Kervezee Laura, van den Hoogen Agnes, Verschuren Olaf, Pillen Sigrid, Benders Manon J N L, Dudink Jeroen 26 jan 2021, In: Sleep medicine reviews. 57 10 p.

Isoprostanes as Biomarker for White Matter Injury in Extremely Preterm Infants

Coviello Caterina, Perrone Serafina, Buonocore Giuseppe, Negro Simona, Longini Mariangela, Dani Carlo, de Vries Linda S, Groenendaal Floris, Vijlbrief Daniel C, Benders Manon J N L, Tataranno Maria Luisa 15 jan 2021, In: Frontiers in Pediatrics. 8

Regenerative Therapies to Restore Interneuron Disturbances in Experimental Models of Encephalopathy of Prematurity

Vaes Josine E G, Kosmeijer Chantal M, Kaal Marthe, van Vliet Rik, Brandt Myrna J V, Benders Manon J N L, Nijboer Cora H 1 jan 2021, In: International journal of molecular sciences. 22 , p. 1-22 22 p.

Glomerular Filtration Rate in Asphyxiated Neonates Under Therapeutic Whole-Body Hypothermia, Quantified by Mannitol Clearance

Deferm Neel, Annink Kim V, Faelens Ruben, Schroth Michael, Maiwald Christian A, Bakkali Loubna El, van Bel Frank, Benders Manon J N L, van Weissenbruch Mirjam M, Hagen Anja, Smits Anne, Annaert Pieter, Franz Axel R, Allegaert Karel, 2021, In: Clinical Pharmacokinetics. 60 , p. 897-906 10 p.

All research output

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