Regulation of early life stress by the brain-gut-microbiota axis and the prediction of neurodevelopmental outcomes in high-risk infants. Preterm infants’ gut microbiome patterns over the first several weeks of life; the linkage of gut microbiome patterns with early life stress; and the linkage of gut microbiome with autonomic nervous, neurobehavioral outcomes, and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) incidence.
Biological mechanisms involved in regulation of human early life experiences, both negative and positive, i.e., repeated painful stimuli and parental skin-to-skin with preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Infant pain/stress assessment and management in the NICU.
Bio-behavioral pain responses and measurements in infants, such as facial actions, behavioral states, crying, cardiorespiratory responses, autonomous nervous system responses, and salivary and serum cortisol responses.
Maternal and paternal bio-behavioral responses during skin-to-skin contact with their infant in the NICU.
Early Life Experience Imprints Gut Microbiome in Preterm Infants. NIH-NINR 1K23NR014674-01 (9/2013-7/2016) ROLE: PI – Cong, X. This project investigates the regulation of early life stress by the brain-gut-microbiota axis and the prediction of neurodevelopmental outcomes in high-risk preterm infants.
Early Life Physiological and Psychosocial Stress Imprints Gut Microbiome in Preterm Infants. UConn Institute for Systems Genomics Affinity Research Collaboratives (ARCs). (10/2013 – 10/2018) ROLE: PI – Cong, X. The purpose of this 5-year interdisciplinary genomics research is to investigate preterm infants’ gut microbiome patterns over the first 3 weeks of NICU stay; the linkage of gut microbiome patterns with early life stress; and the linkage of gut microbiome with autonomic nervous, neurobehavioral outcomes, and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) incidence.
Oxytocin Mechanism During Maternal and Paternal Skin-to-Skin Contact with Preterm infants American Nurse Foundation (9/2012 – 8/2013) ROLE: PI – Cong, X This pilot study will examine oxytocin mechanism in modulating infants’ behavioral, autonomic, and stress responses and parental stress and anxiety during maternal and paternal skin-to-skin contact with preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Cong, X., Vazquez, V. Delaney, C., McGrath, J., Chen, H., Liang, S. Keating, L., Chang, K., & Dejong, A. (in press) Neonatal nurses’ perceptions of pain management: Survey of U.S. and China. Pain Management Nursing. Submitted in June, 2013; Accepted in Nov. 2013
Cong, X., McGrath, J., Cusson, R., & Zhang, D. (in press) Pain measurement and assessment in neonates: An updated review. Advances in Neonatal Care. Submitted in March, 2013; accepted in June, 2013.
Cong, X., Delaney, C., & Vazquez, V. (2013) Neonatal nurses’ perceptions of pain assessment and management in NICUs: A national survey. Advances in Neonatal Care. Oct;13(5):353-60. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e31829d62e8
Cong, X., Ludington-Hoe, S.M., Zhang, D., & Zaffetti, S. (2013). Ergonomic procedure for heel sticks and shots in the Kangaroo Care (Skin-to-Skin Contact) Position. Neonatal Network. Sep-Oct;32(5):353-7. doi: 10.1891/0730-08126.96.36.1993.
Good , M., Albert, J.M., Arafah , B., Anderson, G.C., Wotman, S., Cong, X., Lane, D., & Ahn, S. (2013). Effects on postoperative salivary cortisol of relaxation/music and patient teaching about pain management. Biological Research for Nursing. 2013 Jul;15(3):318-29. Epub 2012 Apr 3.
Cong, X., Cusson, R., Walsh, S. Hussain, N., Ludington, S & Zhang, D. (2012). Effects of Skin-to-Skin Contact on autonomic pain responses in preterm infants. Journal of Pain. Jul; 13(7):636-45.
Judge MP, Cong X, Harel O, Courville AB, Lammi-Keefe CJ. (2012) Maternal consumption of a DHA-containing functional food benefits infant sleep patterning: An early neurodevelopmental measure. Early Hum Dev. Jul; 88(7): 531-7.
Cong, X., Cusson, R.M., Hussain, N., Zhang, D., & Kelly, S.P. (2012). Kangaroo care and behavioral and physiologic pain responses in very low birth weight twins: A case study. Pain Management in Nursing. 2012 Sep;13(3):127-38. Epub 2011 May 31.
Good , M., Albert, J.M., Arafah , B., Anderson, G.C., Wotman, S., Cong, X.,Lane, D., & Ahn, S. (2012). Postoperative Effects of Relaxation/Music and Patient Teaching on Salivary Cortisol. Biological Research for Nursing. [Epub ahead of print]
Cong, X, Ludington, S., & Walsh, S. (2011). Randomized cross-over trial of Kangaroo Care to reduce bio-behavioral pain responses in preterm infants: A pilot study. Biological Research for Nursing. Apr;13(2):204-16.
Good, M., Albert, M. A., Anderson, G. C., Wotman, S., Cong, X., Lann, D., Ann, S. (2010). Supplementing Relaxation and Music for Pain after Surgery. Nursing Research, 59(4):259-69
Cong, X, Ludington, S., McCain, G., & Fu, F. . (2009). Kangaroo Care Modifies Preterm Infant Heart Rate Variability in Response to Heel Stick Pain: Pilot Results. Early Human Development, 85, 561-567.
Kostandy, R., Ludington-Hoe, S.M., Cong, X., Bronson, C., Stankus, A., Jarrell, J.R., & Abouelffetoh, A. (2008). Kangaroo Care (skin contact) reduces crying response to pain in preterm neonates: pilot results. Nursing Management of Pain 9(2):55-65.
Honors & Awards
UConn Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Research Experience (SHARE) Award, 11/13
ENRS/American Nurses Foundation Scholar Award, 4/13
Award for Scholarly Excellence from the Institute for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, CT, 2/13
American Nurse Foundation Research award, 09/12
Outstanding Alumni Award, Peking University School of Nursing, China, 09/12
Mary Lawrence Research Development Award, UCONN School of Nursing, 08/09.
Sigma Theta Tau Mu Chapter Research Committee chair, 2010 – ongoing
Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS) Nominating Committee member 2012-ongoing
The Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science member 2010- ongoing
Journal Reviewer: Pediatrics, 2012- ongoing
Journal Reviewer: Italian Journal of Pediatrics, 2011-ongoing
Journal Reviewer: Early Human Development, 2009-ongoing
Journal Reviewer: American Journal of Perinatology, 2009-ongoing
Journal Reviewer: Biological Research for Nursing, 2008-ongoing
Journal Reviewer: Research in Nursing and Health, 2008-ongoing