Professor Francis Smith

Francis William Smith (born 1943) obtained his medical training at the University of Aberdeen, graduating in 1970. After residencies in medicine, orthopaedic surgery, and radiology, he completed his radiological training at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. He returned to Aberdeen in 1980, where he pioneered the clinical application of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) developed by Professor Mallard's Medical Physics department. Smith started the world’s first clinical trial of MRI in 1980 and the world’s first diagnostic MRI service at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in 1981. Between 1980–91, he worked in collaboration with a number of clinicians exploring the applications of MRI, being the first to show the potential of MRI to the examination of the abdomen and pelvis as well as for the study of pregnancy. He published the first clinical applications of MRI to musculoskeletal radiology, head and neck malignancy, liver and pancreatic disease, pelvic malignancy and pregnancy. He has over 250 publications in peer-reviewed Journals, 32 book chapters, and co-authored 5 textbooks.

In 1982, Smith was the inaugural President of the Society of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and in 1990 he received the Gold medal from the International Society for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Between 1984–91, he was Editor in Chief of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. In 1999, he was the recipient of the Barclay Medal and in 2009 was the Sir Godfrey Hounsfield Memorial lecturer from the British Institute of Radiology. He is currently the Clinical Director of Medserena Upright MRI Centre in London.

Smith has considerable experience of MR imaging of the spine and specialises in the application of upright MRI in patients following whiplash injury of the cervical spine and those with low back pain. These examinations are performed either standing or sitting upright during the examination, rather than lying down as is the common practice.

Between 1980–97, working as a Consultant in Nuclear Medicine, Smith also pioneered the use of Single Photon Emission Tomography (SPECT) for the measurement of regional cerebral blood flow performing the preclinical evaluation of the technetium labelled blood flow agent Hexamethylpropylene Amine Oxime, as well as publishing the earliest papers on its value in the assessment of patients with dementia. He performed some of the earliest work on the use of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) for the diagnosis and staging of malignant disease.

In addition to being a Consultant Radiologist specialising in Musculoskeletal Radiology, Smith was, an examiner for the Diploma in Sport & Exercise Medicine of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine from 1996–2018. From 2009–2012, and in 2016, he was Visiting Professor and external examiner in Sports Medicine for the University at the West Indies. From 1995–2015, he was one of 2 Club doctors for Dundee United Football Club and has a Sports Medicine practice in Aberdeen, catering to all sportsmen and women.

Biography prepared from the nomination made to the University of Aberdeen 525 Alumni project.