Nicole R. Dobson


Colonel, Army

Department of Primary Appointment:
School of Medicine
Director, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program
Location: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Research Interests:
Intermittent hypoxia and caffeine therapy in premature infants
White matter injury in premature infants
Office Phone


2003 – 2006 Fellowship, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, National Capital Consortium, Bethesda, MD

2000 – 2003 Residency, General Pediatrics, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD

1996 – 2000 Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ; Class Valedictorian

1993 – 1996 Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Molecular Biology, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA; Highest Honors


Dr. Dobson is a board-certified general pediatrician and neonatologist. She attended medical school at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, NJ with a 4-year scholarship from the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program. She entered Active Duty after medical school and completed her general pediatrics residency and neonatology fellowship at the National Capital Consortium (NCC) in Bethesda, MD. She has held numerous leadership positions during her military career, including Medical Director of the Intensive Care Unit at Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Afghanistan and NICU Chief, Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii. She is currently the Director of the NCC Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program. Dr. Dobson’s research interests include the effects of intermittent hypoxia and caffeine therapy on the developing brain. She has authored multiple journal articles and one textbook chapter, and she has been an invited speaker at regional, national, and international meetings. She serves on the Executive Board of the American SIDS Institute and the American Association of SIDS Prevention Physicians.

Representative publications, projects, and/or deployments

Research grant, Co-Investigator. “Intermittent Hypoxia and Caffeine in Infants born Preterm (ICAF).” National Institutes of Health (NICHD) 1R01HD089289 - 01A1, $4,178,268.

“A” Proficiency Designator for outstanding Army Medical Department (AMEDD) leadership, distinguished qualifications, and knowledge advancement in Army Neonatology, 2016

Research grant, Co-Investigator: "Effect of caffeine on intermittent hypoxia in infants born preterm." American SIDS Institute, 2010-2016

Elected Member, Society for Pediatric Research, 2014

Research grant, Principal Investigator: "Effects of FGF2 in a neonatal mouse model of white matter damage." USUHS Office of Research, 2011-2014

Ogden C. Bruton Award for best science paper, Uniformed Services Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012

Medical Director, Trauma/Neurology Intensive Care Unit, Craig Joint Theater Hospital, 36th Area Support Medical Company, Forward deployed to Bagram AFB, Afghanistan, 2009


Dobson NR, Hunt CR. Caffeine: an evidence-based success story in VLBW pharmacotherapy. Pediatr Res. 2018 Sep;84(3):333-340.

Engelhardt KA, Hisle-Gorman E, Gorman GH, Dobson NR. Lower Preterm Birth Rates but Persistent Racial Disparities in an Open-Access Health Care System. Mil Med. 2018 Mar 14.

Dobson NR, Rhein LM, Darnall RA, Corwin MJ, Heeren TC, Eichenwald E, James LP, McEntire BL, Hunt CE; Caffeine Study Group.. Caffeine decreases intermittent hypoxia in preterm infants nearing term-equivalent age. J Perinatol. 2017 Jul 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Dobson NR, Patel RM. The Role of Caffeine in Noninvasive Respiratory Support. Clin Perinatol. 2016 Dec;43(4):773-782.

Dobson NR, Liu X, Rhein LM, Darnall RA, Corwin MJ, McEntire BL, Ward RM, James LP, Sherwin CM, Heeren TC, et al. Salivary caffeine concentrations are comparable to plasma concentrations in preterm infants receiving extended caffeine therapy. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2016 Sep;82(3):754-61.

Dobson NR, Thompson MW, Hunt CE. Avery's Neonatology: Pathophysiology and Management of the Newborn. 7th ed. MacDonald MG, Seshia MM, editors. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkens; 2015. Chapter 25, Control of Breathing: Maturation and Associated Clinical Disorders

Dobson NR, Patel RM, Smith PB, Kuehn DR, Clark J, Vyas-Read S, Herring A, Laughon MM, Carlton D, Hunt CE. Trends in caffeine use and association between clinical outcomes and timing of therapy in very low birth weight infants. J Pediatr. 2014 May;164(5):992-998.

Rhein LM, Dobson NR, Darnall RA, Corwin MJ, Heeren TC, Poets CF, McEntire BL, Hunt CE; Caffeine Pilot Study Group.. Effects of caffeine on intermittent hypoxia in infants born prematurely: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Mar;168(3):250-7.

Dobson NR, Hunt CE. Caffeine Use in Neonates: Indications, Pharmacokinetics, Clinical Effects, Outcomes. NeoReviews. 2013; 14:e540-550.