Lecturer in Epidemiology and Health Informatics

University of Birmingham


Email address: f.crowe@bham.ac.uk

Dr Francesca Crowe

Community Member


Francesca Crowe is an epidemiologist and health informatician with an interest in using health data to understand modifiable risk factors for common health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Her other main area of interest is conducting data-enabled clinical trials in primary care that leverage data collection and analysis to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the trial process.

She is involved in a number of research projects including the MuM-PreDiCT study of multiple-long terms health conditions in pregnancy and the OPTIMAL project that is using AI to optimise the management of health conditions in those with multiple-long terms health conditions. She is collaborating with Cegedim (a health technology company) to develop a pipeline for conducting data-enabled randomised clinical trials using Cegedim Health Data’s anonymised patient database, The Health Improvement Network (THIN®), and Outcomes Manager. The first trial – RADIANT-GDM – will test whether a text message reminder with a short animation sent to women with previous gestational diabetes helps to increase the number of women who are tested for type 2 diabetes. Once this process is established, this will pave the way for other data-enabled clinical trials in primary care.

The success of all her projects is built on the ground-breaking work by her colleagues who developed a data extraction for epidemiological research (DExtER) tool that uses standardised methods to generate ready-to-analyse extracts and analytical results of electronic health records and for epidemiology and pharmaco-epidemiology research.

Francesca graduated from the University of Otago, New Zealand (BSc Biochemistry and Human Nutrition in 2002) and obtained a PhD in Human Nutrition from the University of Otago in 2006. In 2007, Francesca was awarded the Girdlers’ NZ Health Research Council Fellowship to gain advanced research experience at the University of Oxford. During her fellowship she spent three years working at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit on the dietary and nutritional determinants of prostate cancer and biomarkers of prostate cancer risk such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). She then took up a Research Fellow post at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit in 2010 where she was the Principal Investigator of an online 24 hour recall – the Oxford WebQ which she helped to develop, test and is now being administered to participants in large UK cohorts such as a the Million Women Study and UK Biobank.

From 2013 to 2015 she spent some time back in NZ where she worked as a civil servant at the Ministry for Primary Industries as a Senior Adviser in Food Science Innovation where her main role was to evaluate systematic reviews that have been provided by NZ food industry to make a self-substantiated health claims. She also provided scientific advice and input to the work of the Food Science Team on matters relating to systematic reviews, food health claims and the interpretation of evidence from epidemiological studies. She has been based at the University of Birmingham since 2017.

Francesca has conducted public health and epidemiological work with more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts to date and is a Lecturer in Epidemiology and Health Informatics.

Additional HDR Midlands Team Members

Firoza Davies

Patient & Public Representative
East Midlands

Mr Colin Monckton

Director of Performance and Information
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Rachel Caswell

Senior Healthcare Analyst
Midlands Analyst Network Lead Strategy Unit

Kathie McPeake

Macmillan Living with Cancer Programme Manager
NHS Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board