John Casey

Mr Casey has a particular interest in laparoscopic surgery and performs laparoscopic hernia repair, laparoscopic cholecystectomy and Common Bile Duct Exploration exploration, laparoscopic splenectomy and laparoscopic pancreatic resection.

John Casey

Consultant Transplant Surgeon and Honorary Reader

  • Transplant Unit
  • Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Contact details

Appointments and Activities

Mr John J Casey MB ChB, PhD, FRCS(Glasg, FRCS(Ed), FRCS(Gen Surg), FRCP Edin) is a Consultant Transplant Surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Honorary Reader at the University of Edinburgh.

He is Director of the Scottish National Islet Transplant Service and Lead Clinician for Organ Transplantation in Scotland. He is also Chair of the UK Pancreas Transplant Advisory Group and Advisor to the Scottish Government on Organ Transplantation.

Mr Casey led the team which set up The Scottish Islet Transplant Programme, which is now one of the largest programmes in the world and he also set up and was inaugural Chair of the UK Islet Transplant Task Force.

His research background is in transplant immunology, in particular immune modulation using monoclonal antibodies. His principal research focus is now on islet transplantation encompassing islet and beta cell regeneration, immune modulation and enhanced engraftment of human islets using both co cellular transplantation and encapsulation techniques. He has a close collaboration with the bioengineering department at Strathclyde University (Professor Will Shu) into bioprinting and encapsulation of human islets and also bioprinting of other cell types in particular hepatocytes and cholangiocytes (in collaboration with the Department of Surgery at Cambridge University and the Sanger Institute). In addition to abdominal organ transplantation, he has a clinical interest in advanced laparoscopic surgery.

As of 2022, John is the Clinical Director for Transplantation within the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. 

Current Clinical Roles

Consultant Transplant Surgeon: Mr Casey has been an NHS multi organ transplant surgeon based at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh since 2012. Along with colleagues he helps provide the Scottish National Service for liver, pancreas and islet transplantation and the East of Scotland Regional Service for kidney transplantation. He introduced the laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy service and islet transplantation to Scotland.

Director of the Scottish National Islet Transplant Programme: Mr Casey led the successful bid to NSD for the Scottish Islet Transplant Unit and this was awarded in 2009 (budget of approximately £1,000,000 per year). In collaboration with SNBTS, Scotland’s first state of the art cGMP laboratory facility was built to isolate human islets to HTA and MHRA regulations and the clinical programme employs a 0.5 WTE University of Edinburgh Senior Lecturer in Endocrinology and 10 other clinical and laboratory staff. He performed Scotland’s first islet transplant in 2011 and the programme is now the largest of it’s kind in Europe and one of the largest in the world and has pioneered islet transplantation from DCD donors and extended criteria donors in the UK

Consultant General Surgeon: Mr Casey contributes to the HPB service at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and has a specialist interest in advanced laparoscopic pancreatico- biliary surgery, laparoscopic hernia repair and laparoscopic splenectomy.


In setting up the Scottish Islet Transplant programme my aim has been not only to provide a high quality clinical programme but to also develop a world class research platform to promote inter-institutional and interdisciplinary research into clinical islet transplantation and advanced cell therapy.   Since 2012, this has attracted in excess of £7 million of collaborative grant funding and produced over 20 publications in major journals including Nature Medicine.

In addition, the islet laboratory and clinical programme have supported a number of post graduate PhD students across Scotland and in collaborating institutions in England.

Collaborating institutions include:

  • University of Aberdeen
  • Strathclyde University
  • Heriot Watt University
  • University of Glasgow
  • Cambridge University (Department of Surgery and Sanger Institute)
  • Oxford University
  • Kings College London
  • Newcastle University

The work has also resulted in 2 active patents and 2 spin out companies.

Mr Casey has research interests in four main fields:

  • Reprogramming of human exocrine tissue to islet like structures for transplantation in the treatment of type I diabetes.
  •  Immune modulation/engraftment of human islet grafts
  •  3D Bio Printing/Imaging of Human Islets of Langerhans
  •  Clinical outcomes after human islet transplantation

Grant Funding Organisations

  • MRC
  • Diabetes UK
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Medical Research Scotland
  • Chief Scientist Office
  • UK Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult
  • European Union Horizon 2020 Scheme
  • Optima PhD Studentship
  • Edinburgh Diabetes Research Trust

Teaching Roles

  • Chair University of Edinburgh MB ChB Year 5 Board of Examiners (2015-2019)
  • University of Edinburgh Deputy Director Year 3 MB ChB course (2008- 15)
  • University of Glasgow Year 3 MB ChB External Examiner (2012-17)
  • University of Edinburgh Year 3 MB ChB GI Module coordinator (2004- 2012)
  • MSc in Surgical Sciences e- tutor and Module lead for Communication skills (ESSQ) (2012-16)- University of Edinburgh and Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

 Leadership and  Management Roles

  • Lead Clinician and Government Specialist Advisor for Organ Transplantation in Scotland (2016- present)
  • Director of the Scottish National Islet Transplant Service (2009- present)
  • Co-Chair of the Scottish Donation and Transplant Group (2016-present)
  • Chair of the NHSBT UK Pancreas Advisory Group (2015- present)
  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland External Adviser (2012- present)
  • Chair of the NHSBT Pancreas Islet Task Force  (2009- 2015).
  • Deputy Chair of the NHSBT Pancreas Advisory Group (2014- 15)
  • Chair Transplant Unit QIP team (2005-2017)
  • NHS Lothian Trust Donation Committee member (2010- 2017)
  • UK Islet Transplant Consortium member (2002- present)
  • British Transplant Society Council (1998- 2002)
  • SaBTO tissues and cells donor selection working group (British Transplant Society representative -2012)
  • NICE advisor on interventional procedures
  • Scottish Diabetes Research Group Committee member (2003- 2006)
  • GMC performance assessment panel- Peer Assessor, 2002
  • Carrel Club President (Association of Transplant Trainees)- 1998-2002
  • BTS Organ Retrieval Workshop co- organiser -1999-2001


Mr Casey’s educational qualifications are:

  • MB, ChB, University of Glasgow, 1989
  • PhD, University of Glasgow, 2002

Post Graduate Diplomas:

  • FRCS(Glasg), 1994
  • FRCS(Gen Surg), 2001
  • Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training 2002
  • FRCS(Ed), 2006


  • Sir Peter Morris Travelling Fellowship- Visiting Fellow, Clinical Islet Transplant Programme, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, 2002
  • Scottish Health Award- 2013
  • University of Edinburgh Honeyman-Gillespie Lecture- 2014
  • FRCP(Edin)- 2016


  • British Transplantation Society
  • The Transplantation Society
  • International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association
  • The Cell Transplant Society
  • Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland
  • British Association for the Study of the Liver
  • Scottish Lifesciences Association