University of Oxford, Biomedical Research Centre, UK

Among the newest collaborators in the Islet Sheet Project team is Professor Paul Johnson of Oxford. He brings deep experience in methods of isolating islets and a special interest in developing adult stem cells as an alternative source of islet tissue. Members of his group at Oxford are participating in evaluation of tissue reaction to implanted Islet Sheets. Dr. Johnson hopes that the results of large-diabetic-animal studies in California will support the rationale for human clinical studies of the Islet Sheet at Oxford.

Dr. Johnson’s research work at Oxford falls into two areas. The Academic Paediatric Surgery Unit (APSU) undertakes research ranging from basic laboratory science to evidence-based clinical studies. Its principal area of research relates to the endocrine pancreas, in particular the field of pancreatic islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes.

His second group, the Oxford Consortium for Islet Transplantation (OXCIT) is a multi-disciplinary team that aims to achieve insulin independence in patients with diabetes by transplanting pancreatic islets of Langerhans. By simultaneously engaging in detailed basic and clinical research, the OXCIT team anticipates being able to apply islet transplantation to children with diabetes in the future.

“Paul is one of the brightest minds in Europe in the field of cell transplantation, and we believe that working with him will move Islet Sheets into clinical use that much faster.”

John Golenski, Executive Director, Hanuman Medical Foundation

Paul Johnson, MA (MB ChB., MD Leic.), FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Edin.), FRCS (Paed. Surg.), FAAP

Paul Johnson is professor of pediatric surgery at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Oxford Islet Transplant Programme. He is a fellow of St Edmund Hall. He qualified in medicine from the University of Leicester and trained in pediatric surgery in Oxford, Melbourne, and Great Ormond Street. His particular clinical interests are pancreatic and endocrine surgery, and cell transplantation.

His research interests include optimizing human islet isolation, and understanding normal pancreatic development and islet neogenesis. Between 1993 and 1996 he was a research fellow in the Department of Surgery at the University of Leicester, where he undertook a project on the isolation of human islets of Langerhans for pancreatic islet transplantation. This led to a Doctorate of Medicine and started his ongoing interest in the field of islet transplantation for reversing type 1 diabetes. He was awarded a Hunterian Professorship from the Royal College of Surgeons of England for this research in 1998.

He is currently president elect of the International Pancreas and Islet Association (IPITA), and chairman of the research committee of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons. He was awarded an honorary fellowship of the American Academy of Pediatrics in February 2010. He currently sits on a number of research boards and editorial boards. He chairs the Nuffield Department of Surgery Clinical Academic Sub Group.