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Dr. Sharon L. Unger


Dr. Sharon Unger is an Attending Neonatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, a Senior Clinician Scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute and the Medical Director, Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank.

Dr. Unger holds a BSc from the University of New Brunswick and an MD degree from Dalhousie University.

Dr Unger’s research focuses on the use of human milk in the neonatal intensive care unit. She served as co-primary investigator for the DoMINO trial: Donor Milk for Improved Neurodevelopmental Outcomes, a randomized controlled trial that compared neonates fed donor milk to those fed preterm formula when there was an inadequate volume of mother’s milk. Along with Dr Debbie O’Connor, she co-leads two Canadian Institutes for Health Research funded programs for research in neonatal nutrition, OptiMoM and MaxiMoM, Optimizing and Maximizing Mothers Milk for very low birth weight infants.

Results from these research programs have informed the creation of the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank, supplying human milk to very low birth weight infants across Ontario.

Dr. Unger’s research in human milk is broad including the effects of pasteurization on human milk, the developing human microbiome as it pertains to method of feeding as well as the cultural implications of feeding human donor milk.

With her expertise in human milk banking, Dr. Unger has served as an advisor at national and international levels, including as a member of the Board of Directors of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America and as a member of the Nutrition and Gastroenterology committee for the Canadian Pediatric Society.

Dr. Unger has published more than 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

At a Glance

Attending Neonatologist, Mount Sinai Hospital

Medical Director, Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank

Principal investigator, DoMINO Trial: Donor Milk for Improved Neurodevelopmental Outcomes

Principal investigator, CIHR-funded OptiMoM and MaxiMoM Programs (Optimizing and Maximizing Mother’s Milk)

Outstanding Clinical Contribution Award for Clinical Excellence in Pediatric Medical Care from the University of Toronto Department of Pediatrics

Major Research Activities

Dr. Unger’s current research focuses on the impact of human milk for very low birth weight infants and in particular the impact of early nutrition on long term health and neurodevelopmental outcomes.