Melisa Carrasco McCaul, MD, PhD
Position title: Neonatal Neurologist, Epileptologist
Dr. Melisa Carrasco McCaul is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She serves as Director of Neonatal Neurology within the division of Pediatric Neurology and also oversees patients within the University of Wisconsin Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.
Dr. Carrasco McCaul received a B.S. Intensive degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University in 2005. She completed her M.D. at the University of Rochester (2014), a Neuroscience Ph.D. at the University of Michigan (2012), Pediatric Neurology residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital (2019), as well as fellowship training in Neonatal Neurology (2020) and Pediatric Epilepsy (2021) at Johns Hopkins and the University of Michigan, respectively.
Dr. Carrasco McCaul is an accomplished clinician-scientist within the area of early childhood neurodevelopmental disability and perinatal brain injury. Her early research focused on the study of repetitive behavior and anxiety among children with autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She previously pursued research on neonatal cerebral autoregulation and the use of diffusion tensor imaging for better understanding brain injury in patients following neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
Dr. Carrasco McCaul’s scientific accomplishments include numerous peer-reviewed publications, various national and international presentations, as well as book chapters. For her research achievements, Dr. Carrasco McCaul was granted the 2019 Society for Pediatric Research House Officer Award. She has also been previously named a Society for Neuroscience Scholar and was awarded the NIMH F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Carrasco McCaul was also the recipient of the NINDS Research Education Program R25 grant (2018-2020), which funded her research on the role of imaging and serum biomarkers for predicting long-term outcomes in patients born extremely premature.
For her clinical achievements, Dr. Carrasco McCaul was previously the recipient of the Frank L. Coulson, Jr. Award for Clinical Excellence (Johns Hopkins Hospital, Div. Pediatric Neurology) in 2019, an award that is bestowed annually to a graduating resident in each training program at the Johns Hopkins Hospital who exemplifies clinical excellence as it relates to various areas relevant to patient care, including: professionalism, humanism, diagnostic acumen, scholarly approach to clinical practice, as well as explicitly modeling clinical mastery and passion for patient care to medical trainees.
Professional Certifications and Education
Board Certification, Neurology with Special Qualification in Child Neurology
- BS, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University
- PhD, Neuroscience, University of Michigan
- MD, Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
- Internship Pediatrics: University of Maryland Medical Center
- Resident, Pediatric Neurology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
- Fellowships: Neonatal Neurology, Johns Hopkins Hospital. Pediatric Epilepsy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Dr. Carrasco McCaul is the PI of the University of Wisconsin TREES Lab (https://neurology.wisc.edu/research-and-labs/trees-lab/). Dr. Carrasco McCaul’s research programme focuses on the long-term cognitive development of children, including healthy infants and those with a history of a perinatal brain injury or epilepsy. Her research lab aims to identify imaging, neurophysiological, and behavioral biomarkers that will help predict executive dysfunction and cognitive disability in populations at risk.
Carrasco M, Bonifacio SL, deVeber G, Chau V. Early Discontinuation of Phenobarbital After Acute Symptomatic Neonatal Seizures in the Term Newborn. Neurol Clin Pract. 2023 Apr;13(2):e200125. doi: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000200125. Epub 2023 Feb 16. PMID: 36891461; PMCID: PMC9987207.
Dabrowski, A. K., Carrasco, M., Gatti, J. R., Barreto, A. R. F., Parkinson, C., Robinson, S., Tekes, A., & Sun, L. R. (2021). Neonatal Subpial Hemorrhage: Clinical Factors, Neuroimaging, and Outcomes in a Quaternary Care Children’s Center. Pediatric neurology, 120, 52–58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2021.04.011
Barreto, A. R. F., Carrasco, M., Dabrowski, A. K., Sun, L. R., & Tekes, A. (2021). Subpial Hemorrhage in Neonates: What Radiologists Need to Know. AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology, 216(4), 1056–1065. https://doi.org/10.2214/AJR.20.22999
Carrasco, M., & Stafstrom, C. E. (2018). How Early Can a Seizure Happen? Pathophysiological Considerations of Extremely Premature Infant Brain Development. Developmental neuroscience, 40(5-6), 417–436. https://doi.org/10.1159/000497471
Sun, L. R., Pearl, M., Bahouth, M. N., Carrasco, M., Hoops, K., Schuette, J., & Felling, R. J. (2018). Mechanical Thrombectomy in an Infant With Acute Embolic Stroke. Pediatric neurology, 82, 53–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2018.02.002
Carrasco, M., Perin, J., Jennings, J. M., Parkinson, C., Gilmore, M. M., Chavez-Valdez, R., Massaro, A. N., Koehler, R. C., Northington, F. J., Tekes, A., & Lee, J. K. (2018). Cerebral Autoregulation and Conventional and Diffusion Tensor Imaging Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy. Pediatric Neurology, 82, 36–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2018.02.004
Carrasco, M., Rao, S. C., Bearer, C. F., & Sundararajan, S. (2015). Neonatal Gabapentin Withdrawal Syndrome. Pediatric neurology, 53(5), 445–447. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2015.06.023