David Owen Cosgrove

Contributed By - Jeffrey Bamber, Mengxing Tang, Robert Eckersley, Sam Maslak and Lu Maslak

Professor David Owen Cosgrove, a pioneer in the clinical applications of ultrasound technologies, passed away on Tuesday the 16th of May 2017, at St. Raphael’s Hospice, North Cheam, London, after a short battle with cancer.

Professor Cosgrove was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1938. He obtained a BA in physiology from Oxford (1961) and subsequently qualified in medicine from St George’s Hospital Medical School in London. In 1977, after working in a number of hospitals in London and Nairobi, he became a consultant in Nuclear Medicine and Ultrasound in the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton. In 1993 David moved to the Hammersmith Hospital, which later became a part of the Imperial College School of Medicine, and was awarded a personal chair as Professor of Clinical Ultrasound. David officially retired in 2004, became an Emeritus Professor at Imperial College as well as a Senior Research Investigator at King’s College Hospital, and remained extremely active in the field.

The ensuing list of honours and accomplishments in David’s successful career are extensive, suffice to say that David’s contributions were immense. David published more than 200 peer reviewed research articles and 30 teaching books/book chapters over his career. He held honorary memberships in many national and regional ultrasound societies and was one of the world’s most sought after invited speakers at international conferences, including the 2012 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS) where, as an invited clinical keynote speaker, he presented insights into the clinical needs for new ultrasound technologies.

David had a tremendous curiosity and possessed an in-depth understanding of the physics and engineering of ultrasound. In this regard, he dedicated himself throughout his professional career to driving clinical applications of new ultrasound technologies, as well as linking ultrasound engineers and physicists with clinicians to address problems of real clinical need. He was at the forefront of clinical advances in radiological ultrasound technologies, including microbubble contrast-enhanced ultrasound and ultrasound elastography. He was a vice president and founding member of the International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS), advisor to NICE and various grant giving authorities, and a member of many editorial boards of journals and expert working groups. He was closely involved in the two key and highly interdisciplinary international conferences on Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound; he co-organised the European Symposium on Ultrasound Contrast Imaging held annually in Rotterdam, and was an invited faculty speaker for the Bubble Conference held annually in Chicago for many years. He was also an active and highly valued contributor to the weekly engineering and physics ultrasound group meetings held jointly between Imperial College London and King’s College London.

Another particularly important contribution, which continued throughout his career and beyond his retirement, was his role in advising industry. With his unique insights in both clinical needs and ultrasound physics and engineering, his advice for product improvement was invaluable, and in return he was able to work with the very latest and novel products for clinical evaluation and research. Even in his very early days in The Royal Marsden Hospital he advised on the development of one of the early commercial phased array abdominal ultrasound scanners by EMI, a company which also developed the x-ray CT scanner from the Nobel Prize winning invention that Godfrey Hounsfield had made while working there. Through his diplomacy and integrity he was able to engage simultaneously with many companies to continuously improve technologies for real clinical needs and ultimately to improve patient care.

David’s collaboration with the Acuson company in the 80s and 90s provides one notable example of his contributions. David was the first person in Europe to be approached by the company to evaluate the Acuson 128 system, the first high-resolution, computer-controlled ultrasound system, and to advise on its suitability for Europe. David was excited about the great improvement in image quality and immediately identified several new clinical applications. David also gave clear, concise feedback on many problems with the system. Thus began a multi-year collaboration and friendship during which he gave valuable information about clinical opportunities which led to further advances in the system. For instance, he was an early advocate for ultrasound breast imaging and motivated the development of new transducers and specialized color Doppler software for the breast. When the Sequoia ultrasound system was under development, Acuson chose David as their international “Guru” to guide the development process for Europe and to evaluate advanced applications. David began influencing and testing the system years before its commercial release. In the early days of contrast enhanced ultrasound, David raised concerns about motion artefacts associated with the pulse-inversion method. His advice motivated the development of Acuson’s novel contrast imaging technology which was considered a great technical advance for imaging contrast agents. David was generous with his keen advice for everyone who worked to advance diagnostic ultrasound.

A giant of the medical ultrasound world has passed away. He was unique in so many ways and will be an inspiration to generations of ultrasound practitioners, physicists and engineers across the world. He was truly one of a kind in everything he did and in every way that he was. David will be dearly missed.

By: Jeffrey Bamber, Mengxing Tang, Robert Eckersley, Sam Maslak and Lu Maslak

Acknowledgement:

We would like to thank Professor Steve Feinstein, Mrs Linda Feinstein, and Professor Nico de Jong for their help. Parts of the text are reprinted from a tribute published by the British Medical Ultrasound Society with their kind permission.