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Robin B. Dail, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Professor
(919) 684-9295
3077 Pearson Building

Dr. Dail is an Associate Professor in the Duke University School of Nursing with a secondary appointment in the School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar (2010-2013). Dr. Dail earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty) from East Carolina University, and completed her PhD in Nursing at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 2006. She has over 30 years of clinical experience in the care of infants in neonatal intensive care.

Dr. Dail’s interdisciplinary research focuses on thermal management of infants as well as the basic physiologic processes related to thermoregulation and perfusion in extremely premature infants. Her methodological expertise includes longitudinal physiological measurement, observational methods and analysis, case study designs, and randomized control trials as well as international research. Dr. Dail’s current research interests include the study of a new device by Philips Medical to improve continuous central temperature monitoring in stabilization of premature infants. As a Principal Investigator, Dr. Dail has received funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Philips Healthcare, the American Nurses Foundation, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nursing, March of Dimes, and Foundation of Neonatal Research and Education. Dr. Dail teaches in the graduate nursing program and mentors doctoral nursing students.

Academic Program Affiliations

  • PhD in Nursing Program
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Program
  • Master of Science in Nursing Program


  • PhD - University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Nursing
  • MSN - East Carolina University

Research Interests

Dr. Dail’s research focuses on thermal management of neonates. She led a study to evaluate using polyurethane wrapping to prevent heat loss for ELBW infants after delivery and contributed to the practice change making this intervention a standard part of national neonatal resuscitation protocol following the delivery of a premature infant. Dr. Dail conducted a study to examine body temperature and peripheral vasoconstriction in ELBW infants during the first 12 hours of life with funding from NIH (1F31 NR09143-01), American Nurses Foundation, and Foundation of Neonatal Research in 2006. Her last study examined developmental of vasomotor control related to thermal physiology in ELBW infants during their first 14 days of life funded through NIH/NINR (1R15 NR012157-01); Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholars (68041); Duke University School of Nursing; March of Dimes/AWHONN Saving Babies, Together grant and the Jean and George Brumley Neonatal-Perinatal Institute. Currently, Dr. Dail is investigating the use of InnerSense gastric tube with an embedded thermistor to monitor continuous esophageal temperature in a randomized controlled trial in very low birth weight infants from birth through 24 hours of age, funded by Philips Healthcare. Dr. Dail’s concurrent study is investigating thermal practices in Rwanda during the neonatal period at two neonatal units in Kigali, Rwanda.

Awards and Honors

  • 2014 || Inducted as Fellow, American Academy of Nurses
  • 2013 || Distinguished Alumna Award, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Nursing
  • 2010 || Inducted, American Physiological Society
  • 2010 || Nurse Faculty Scholar, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • 2004 || Graduate Nurse Scholarship, March of Dimes
  • 2004 || Inducted, Alpha Epsilon Lambda
  • 2004 || Nurses Charitable Trust District V FNA Scholar, American Nurses Foundation
  • 2000 || Inducted, Sigma Theta Tau

Areas of Expertise

  • Global and Community Health
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Research Methods

Areas of Interest

• Thermal management of neonates
• Thermoregulation physiology in extremely premature infants
• Research instrumentation for physiologic measurement including infrared imaging
• Exploratory case analysis
• International research to reduce neonatal hypothermia and mortality

Representative Publications

  • 2014 -- Knobel-Dail, R. B. Role of effective thermoregulation in premature neonates Research and Reports in Neonatology. September, 2014 4 147-156
  • 2014 -- Knobel, R. B. Thermoregulation in the neonate. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews. June, 2014 14(2); 40
  • 2014 -- Knobel, R. B. Fetal and neonatal thermal physiology Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews. June, 2014 14(2); 45-49
  • 2014 -- Knobel, R. B. Thermal stability of the premature infant in neonatal intensive care. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews. June, 2014 14(2); 72-76
  • 2014 -- Knobel, R. B. (interviewee) RWJF Scholar recognized for research to protect preemies from hypothermia. RWJF Human Capital Blog. March 18, 2014
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 24413035 Knobel, R. B. and Smith, J. M. Laboratory blood tests useful in monitoring renal function in neonates. Neonatal Netw. January/February, 2014 33(1); 35-40
  • 2013 -- PubMed # : 24004312 Knobel, R. B. and Levy, J. and Katz, L. and Guenther, B. and Holditch-Davis, D. A pilot study to examine maturation of body temperature control in preterm infants. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. September, 2013 42(5); 562-74 PMC3783951
  • 2013 -- Black, B. P., Knobel, R., & Woods-Giscombe, C. The science of nursing and evidence-based practice. In Professional Nursing: Concepts and Challenges edited by Black, B. P.. January, 2013; pp. 220-238. : Elsevier. January, 2013 220-238
  • 2012 -- PubMed # : 23090442 Levy, J. A. and Elser, H. E. and Knobel, R. B. The promise of the state space approach to time series analysis for nursing research. Nurs Res. November, 2012 61(6); 388-94
  • 2012 -- PubMed # : 22301543 Lucas, K. and Knobel, R. B. Implementing practice guidelines and education to improve care of infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Adv Neonatal Care. February, 2012 12(1); 40-5


Grant Funding (Selected)

  • Temperature Monitoring with InnerSense Esophageal Temperature Probe

    Philips Electronics North America Corp
    09/2014 to 08/2016
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: This randomized clinical trial will evaluate the use of an esophageal feeding tube with a thermistor embedded in the tube to monitor continuous central temperature in 160 VLBW infants in the delivery room and through stabilization in the NICU, until 24 hours of age. Infants with continuous temperature monitoring are expected to experience higher axillary temperatures and less hypothermia than infants receiving standard temperature monitoring upon admission to the NICU, at 1,4, and 8 hours of age. A comparison will be made between continuous abdominal temperature by thermistor and continuous esophageal temperature in the treatment group infants. This device should improve thermal care for VLBW infant from birth through 1 day of age.

  • Maturation of Body Temperature and Peripheral Blood Flow in Preterm Infants

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    09/2010 to 08/2013
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: This funding provides release time to continue the above research project evaluating vasomotor tone in 30 extremely low birth weight infants over their first 5 days of life. Additionally, the program provides support and mentorship to develop the faculty recipient as a national nurse leader.

  • Temperature & Vasomotor Tone During the First 5 Days in Preterms Less than 1000g,

    National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research
    03/2010 to 09/2013
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: In order to examine vasomotor maturity in extremely preterm infants, this study will examine the development of peripheral vasoconstriction and determine the postnatal age when at which the abdominal temperature becomes higher than the peripheral temperature in infants weighing less than 1000 grams during their first 5 days of life. The study is using infrared thermal imaging to explore body temperature as well as a new perfusion measurement by Masimo in addition to traditional temperature measurement. This grant will fund 30 subjects and allow for additional instrumentation to study 2 subjects simultaneously.

  • Body Temperature and Vasomotor Tone in ELBW Infants During the First 5 Days of Life

    Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), March of Dimes
    07/2009 to 06/2010
    Role: PI

    “Saving Babies, Together Grant”

  • Temperature & vasomotor tone during the first 5 days in preterms less than 1000 g pilot

    DUSON Small Grant
    11/2008 to 04/2010
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: The aims of this study are to test instrumentation, design, methods, and statistical analyses to use in a larger study to examine body temperature and vasomotor tone maturity in extremely premature infants less than 1000 grams during the first 5 days of life.

  • Physiological effects of thermoregulation in transitional ELBW infants

    NIH,/NINR, American Nurses Foundation, Foundation of Neonatal Research & Education
    1F31 NR09143-01
    01/2004 to 12/2005
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: Doctoral dissertation to explore temperature regulation in premature infants from birth to 12 hours of age at a birth weight less than 1000 grams

  • Physiological effects of thermoregulation in transitional ELBW infants

    American Nurses Foundation Nurses Charitable Trust District V FNA Scholar
    07/2004 to 06/2005
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: Doctoral dissertation to explore temperature regulation in premature infants from birth to 12 hours of age at a birth weight less than 1000 grams.

  • Physiological effects of thermoregulation in transitional ELBW infants

    Foundation of Neonatal Research
    07/2004 to 07/2005

    Project Goal: Doctoral dissertation to explore temperature regulation in premature infants from birth to 12 hours of age at a birth weight less than 1000 grams.

Friday, September 16, 2016

More than 12 faculty and staff members, and several PhD alumni and students presented at the 2016 State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research presented by the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS) in Washington, D.C. This year's event focused on Determinants of Health and their implications for nursing science and health policy.

The following faculty, staff and PhD alumni and students presented at the conference:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Robin Dail and MSN and DNP alumni Chirrl "Tinisha" Lambeth recently published an article entitled "First Golden Hour of Life: A Quality Improvement Initiative" in the August issue of Advances of Neonatal Care, the official journal of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. Other co-authors included experts from Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston Salem, N.C.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Robin Dail publishes article entitled "Perfusion Index in Very Low Birth Weight Premature Infants During Their First 2 Weeks of Life" in the Biological Research for Nursing. The article was co-authored with Drs. Diane Holditch-Davis, David Tanaka with Duke School of Medicine and John White with SAS Institute, Inc.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Robin Dail is one of six women featured in an article entitled "Open road: Women bikers find their way" in the Walter Magazine Raleigh's Life & Soul section. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Robin Dail was recently selected as one of the 2016-2017 Amy V. Cockcroft Leadership Fellows.

Her first session will begin in March.

Friday, January 29, 2016

From the Center of Nursing Research...

Monday, March 9, 2015

The inaugural Global Innovations in Nursing and Midwifery Education, Research and Practice Conference was held January 25-27, 2015, in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference represented a culmination of two-and-a-half years of global collaboration between Rwandan nurses and midwives, Human Resources for Health (HRH) partners, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Rwanda (UR).

Thursday, February 19, 2015

PhD program faculty members Robin Dail and Chip Bailey received a Leadership Development Grant from the Duke University Graduate School to sponsor a series of seminars focused on leadership skill development and career options for current PhD students and post-docs. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Dean Marion Broome on February 16.