World first Professor of Metabolic Surgery appointed

23 January 2014 - Francesco Rubino joins King's Health Partners AHSC

Professor Francesco Rubino, King's Health Partners chair metabolic surgery

King’s College Hospital and King’s College London – part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) – have established the first university chair in metabolic surgery.

Francesco Rubino, an internationally renowned leader in bariatric and metabolic surgery, becomes the world’s first Professor of this surgical discipline.

The appointment of Professor Rubino demonstrates the growing importance and prevalence of metabolic and weight-loss surgery world-wide.

It also reflects the trend towards more sophisticated and scientific advances in bariatric surgery, a discipline that has long been misunderstood by the general public and experts alike.

Originally designed as weight-loss intervention, bariatric surgery can also lead to substantial health benefits including dramatic improvements in several metabolic conditions, most notably type 2 diabetes.

Professor Rubino’s pioneering research provided the first experimental evidence that bariatric surgery can improve diabetes independently on weight loss. He also developed new surgical procedures and contributed to conceptually transform bariatric surgery from a mere weight loss therapy into a surgical approach aimed at treating diabetes, obesity and metabolic disease, a novel surgical discipline that goes under the name of metabolic surgery.

Professor Rubino’s role at King’s will include developing a multidisciplinary model of care, shaped around the aim of reducing cardiovascular risk and long-term risk of mortality associated with diabetes and obesity. A specific research goal of new program will also be trying to discover the exact mechanisms by which surgical procedures improve or resolve diabetes. This knowledge can help identify new targets for the development of future therapies of curative intent and may possibly shed light on the root causes of the disease.

Professor Rubino said:

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to join King’s and help advance the Institution’s goal of developing innovative strategies for understanding and treating diabetes and obesity.

“The establishment of a chair in metabolic and bariatric surgery demonstrates King’s visionary leadership and ambition to shape clinical practice and future research in one of the most fascinating fields of modern medicine” he added.

Professor Sir Robert Lechler Executive Director, King’s Health Partners said:

“Professor Rubino's appointment is an exciting development for our AHSC. He is a pioneer who has led diabetes surgery as an entirely new surgical field - one in which gastrointestinal operations can be performed to directly treat diabetes, not just as a by-product of weight-loss surgery. This is a significant milestone in the development of King’s Health Partners’ mission to understand and treat the diabetes and obesity pandemic, and I am in no doubt that Professor Rubino’s unique expertise will benefit the 90,000 people diagnosed with diabetes across south London and beyond.”

Professor Rubino was one of the principal organizers of the Rome’s Diabetes Surgery Summit in 2007. He also directed the 1st and 2nd World Congress on Interventional Therapies for Type 2 Diabetes in 2008 and 2011. His clinical expertise includes laparoscopic bariatric and metabolic procedures such as gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding and other interventions on the upper digestive system.

Before joining King’s, Professor Rubino worked at Catholic University of Rome, Italy, Hopital Civil, Strasbourg, France and served as Chief of Gastrointestinal Metabolic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York, USA.

Professor Rubino graduated in medicine at Catholic University of Rome, where he also specialized in general surgery. He completed fellowships in advanced laparoscopic surgery at the European Institute of Telesurgery in Strasbourg, France; Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and at the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio, USA.

Notes to editors

1. King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, training over 900 dentists, 750 doctors and 300 nurses every year. The Trust is recognized internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, haemato-oncology, stroke and major trauma. On 1 October 2013, King’s took over the running of the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley and Orpington Hospital, as well as some services at Beckenham Beacon and Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup. The new enlarged organisation has over 10,500 staff and provides over 1 million patient contacts a year. 9,000 babies are delivered by our hospitals each year, and over 750 patients come to our Emergency Departments every day. For more information, please visit the website. You can also support the work of King’s College Hospital at

2. King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering collaboration between King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.

We are one of only five AHSCs in the UK and bring together an unrivalled range and depth of clinical and research expertise, spanning both physical and mental health. Our combined strengths will drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our partnership brings together...

  • three of the UK’s leading NHS Foundation Trusts;
  • one of the top 30 universities in the world;
  • services provided over 225 locations, including seven hospitals and community and mental health centres;
  • 2.7 million patient contacts each year;
  • 29,000 staff;
  • 24,000 students;
  • a combined annual turnover of £2.6bn.

... to advance health and wellbeing by integrating world-class research, care and teaching.

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