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5 minutes with Prokar Dasgupta

Professor Prokar Dasgupta is a clinician-scientist, Chairman of the King's Institute of Robotic Surgery and was recently appointed as the Foundation Professor of Surgery for King's Health Partners. We took 5 minutes with Prokar to ask him about his career and life outside of work.

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What is your current role and what can you tell us about your career up to this point?

I am a clinician-scientist and Chairman of the King's Institute of Robotic Surgery and was recently appointed as Professor of Surgery for King's Health Partners.

My scientific career started by studying the immunology of a parasitic disease called Leishmaniasis over 30 years ago. I am also credited with describing an innovative method of injecting Botulinum toxin (Botox) with a flexible telescope to target bladder nerves, a technique that is named after me and has helped many patients world-wide. I have just completed nearly a decade as Editor-in-Chief of a 90-year old journal, the British Journal of Urology International, transforming it into one of the most read surgical journals on the web.



Can you tell us more about your new appointment as Professor of Surgery?

This is a huge honour as we have not had such a post for about 20 years. We have a massive opportunity of bringing surgeons across King's Health Partners together irrespective of their specialty and showcasing the fantastic work that they do along with their scientists and educationalists. My vision is to facilitate outstanding surgical science collaborations, support hybrid surgical and implementation trials, improve education for the next generation of surgical trainees and inspire students wishing to embark on exciting surgical careers.



Do you have any current projects that you would like to tell us about?

At our Prostate Cancer Research Centre at King's we have been developing novel immunotherapy for prostate cancer with cytotopically modified interleukin-15 injected directly into tumours. We are also trying to re-purpose drugs commonly used for hypertension, against prostate cancer by altering the wnt signalling pathway and reducing the risk of metastasis with plexins and semaphorins.

On the robotics front, my main interests are in surgical data science using a variety of methods such as video-labelling, image guidance, haptics, 3D volumetrics, flexible systems, augmented reality and machine learning. With our industry partners, we have pioneered ultra-low latency communication in robotic surgery with what is called the “Internet of Skills”.



How has your typical working day changed due to COVID-19?

At the height of the pandemic, our surgical output dropped by around 80%. Thankfully many of the prostate cancer patients could be managed with hormonal treatment without affecting their final outcomes. Very few of my patients came to see me face-to-face, so like most clinical colleagues, I had to rapidly learn the art of teleconsultation. I also used to travel frequently to international destinations which has now completely vanished. This has given me the time to get even fitter and appreciate the stunning beauty of the island that we live in.



What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Do not be afraid to dream big!



What do you do with your time outside of academia?

I am a tennis fanatic and love watching Roger Federer play. I have successfully completed a number of marathons and happen to be a reasonable cook. 





Something you are looking forward to?

The inauguration of our MedTech Hub at St. Thomas’ later this year.



Favourite book?

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and The Complete Adventures of Feluda by Satyajit Ray.



Favourite scientist?

The late Don Coffey from Johns Hopkins for making science simple and Fiona Watt for leading our Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King's.



Favourite movie?

All the Indiana Jones movies.

In this story

Prokar  Dasgupta

Prokar Dasgupta

Professor of Surgery

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