Isabell B. Purdy, M.S.N. ’99, Ph.D. ’04

Purdy has been a neonatal nurse for more than 32 years. The first 20 were devoted to clinical nursing care of the most fragile infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU); over the last decade-plus, she has expanded her clinical focus to providing follow-up care for high-risk infants among this vulnerable population. She joined the Division of Neonatology and Developmental Biology at UCLA in 2004, and became clinical director of the NICU Research Data Center and NICU High Risk Infant Follow-up Clinic. In pursuing her doctorate as a fellow in the UCLA School of Nursing’s Center for Vulnerable Populations Research, she studied relationships between biophysiologic stress, higher cumulative perinatal glucocorticoid exposure and neurobehavioral outcomes of preterm infants. As a psychoneuroimmunology postdoctoral fellow, she discovered that maternal/infant immune factors were also influential. Drawing on her training as well as her undergraduate studies in music, she is conducting a randomized controlled trial with an NICU classical music intervention to examine influences on preterm infant stress reactivity, immunity, and development.