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World's first Professor of Metabolic Surgery to work at King's Health Partners

King’s College Hospital and King’s College London have established the first university chair in metabolic surgery. Francesco Rubino, an internationally renowned leader in bariatric and metabolic surgery, is the world’s first Professor of this surgical discipline.

His appointment demonstrates the growing importance and prevalence of metabolic and weight-loss surgery worldwide and reflects the trend towards more sophisticated and scientific advances in bariatric surgery.

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 Health Partners 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.

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 of 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 byproduct 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.”

This article first appeared in King's Health Partners e-bulletin on 17 January 2014