Professor Melissa Gladstone MBChB, BSc, MRCP, FRCPCH, MD, DipND

Professor in Neurodevelopmental Paediatrics and International Child Health Women's & Children's Health


Personal Statement

My group is focussed on improving outcomes for children's development and for children with disabilities in settings of adversity. My major research interest is in the assessment of neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioural outcomes in children in global settings and in understanding how this can be done well, at scale and with meaning. This is particularly vital in a global environment where the focus for child health is focussing away from just looking at child survival, but now to how well children are thriving and what their quality of life is like.
I lead teams in undertaking large field studies in a number of global settings looking at the effect of health and social factors on early child development (malaria in pregnancy, nutrition, prematurity, HIV exposure). My group is also particularly focussed on pursuing the linkages between interventions to support children’s development and behaviour particularly within a systems approach to care.
I created a neurodevelopmental assessment tool, the MDAT, which is being utilised in over 22 countries globally for research and programmatic work – much of this linking early interventions in nutrition, WASH and early stimulation programmes with later outcomes in children ( and MDAT university website.
Our team work closely with international organisations including the World Health Organization on creation of firstly, the Infant and Young Child Developmental Indicators (IYCD) and now the Global Scales of Early Development (GSED).
Future plans for our group will include incorporating ways of better measuring childhood disability in the early years in multiple settings globally and utilising these to understand better the causes of neurodevelopmental disorders in children in diverse settings.We are more recently pursuing work looking at tools and systems for best identifying children with neurodevelopmental disorders and disabilities in low and middle income settings.

Prizes or Honours

  • Royal College of Paediatrics David Harvey Award (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2011)
  • Paul Polani Prize (British Academy Childhood Disability, 2011)

Funded Fellowships

  • Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund Fellowship (Wellcome Trust, 2012)
  • Heinz Fellowship Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2004 - 2006)