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Dr. Frances Cowan

Personal Profile


Dr. Frances Cowan currently holds an honorary senior lecturer/clinical consultant post in perinatal neurology within Imperial College London and is a visiting professor to the department of Neonatal Neuroscience in the University of Bristol.


Dr. Cowan trained in medicine in Dublin, Ireland, qualifying in 1972 and went on to specialize in paediatrics and neonatology in the UK. Research in neonatal physiology with Prof Kenneth Cross lead to a PhD in Oslo, Norway, on the control of neonatal cerebral blood flow using Doppler techniques and collaboration with Prof Marianne Thoresen


Dr. Cowan worked for many years at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, UK with Dr Lilly Dubowitz and others in neonatal neurology, cranial ultrasound and MR brain imaging and neurodevelopmental follow-up.


Throughout, teaching and mentoring have been a large part of her work and now in retirement, she continues to run a course in cranial ultrasound imaging and has. with Dr. Miriam Martinez Biarge, developed a website providing information on the Hammersmith neonatal and infant neurological examinations making them more readily as well as freely available worldwide.
She remains involved in other teachings, brain image reporting, PhD supervision, and advising on and helping with research projects.


Dr. Cowan is particularly interested in perinatal brain injury, its timing and risk factors, patterns of injury and their evolution, and the early determination of prognosis. A focus has been on the prediction of normality and severity of neurological abnormality trying to make the best use of investigations and resources, minimizing uncertainty for parents, and providing information for obstetricians.

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