Institute of Cellular Medicine

Staff Profile

Professor John Dark

Strategic Research Adviser


Previously consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Edinburgh 1986-87, Freeman Hospital 1987-2017

Clinical Profile

I headed the cardiac and pulmonary transplant programme at the Freeman hospital for over 20 years, building it into the most active in the UK, and resumed a lead role in the transplant programme in March 2016.

 Clinical interests were in adult heart and lung transplantation, complex aortic surgery, and mitral and aortic valve repair, but I performed the full range of procedures within adult cardiac surgery. I was a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon for over 30 years and previously maintained a very busy and varied clinical workload. I retired from clinical practice at the end of August 2017, but as a result of ongoing research programmes, maintain a close contact with the clinical service in Newcastle, and regularly attend clinical meetings.

Current Roles and Responsibilities

Strategic Research Advisor, Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, ICM

National Clinical Lead for Governance, Organ Donation and Transplantation, NHSBT  2012-Present

Qualifications MB.BS 1976 FRCS, Edinburgh, London, 1980 FRCP Edinburgh 1992, London 1995 FETCS 1996


Honours and Awards

Past-President of both the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT) and the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT).

Awarded Honorary FRCP Edinburgh 1995, London 2002

Honeyman Gillespie Lecture; Edinburgh, 1988, Sydney Watson Smith Lecture; RCP Edinburgh, 1994, Clement Price-Thomas Award RCS England 1995,Tudor Edwards Lecturer RCS England 1999, Hilary Festenstein Lecturer, BSHI 2014

James lV Professor RCS Edinburgh in 2003, the Mortimer J Buckley Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2017 and Visiting Professor, Centre Hospitalier de Universitaire Montreal (CHUM) October 2018

I previously chaired the Clinical Reference Group for Heart and Lung Transplantation at NHS England


Extensive experience in clinical and laboratory research, going back over 30 years. Supervision of a number of Mres projects, MD’s and three recent PhD’s, all completed. Recognised as a PI within the Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University

Research interests centred around clinical heart and lung transplantation, reperfusion injury in the lung and then pathophysiology of brain stem death. We had an active interest in clinical EVLP and I was a PI for the Newcastle-based DEVELOP-UK Trial. Current research is in donor pathophysiology and ex-vivo organ perfusion.

I co-chair Theme 3 of the Cambridge/Newcastle NIHR funded Blood and Transplant Research Unit (BTRU)

Local PI ART, 2008-10, QUOD, 2012 to present, QUOD/MRC Expansion 2017 to present.

Chair of DMP for PITHIA 2017 to present, member of DMP for ARISE 2014-9

I recently stepped down from the roles of Associate Editor for both the European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery (EJCTS) and the American Journal of Transplantation) AJT).