Shareen Forbes

PROF, Visiting Professor Islet Transplant Programme, Edmonton, Canada

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Personal profile

My research in a nutshell

My laboratory is interested in the pathogenesis of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and the potential mechanisms behind beta cell dysregulation and function which contribute to clinical disease. My laboratory also investigates how the progression of complications in diabetes are affected by different therapies. A major research interest is in clinical islet transplantation and my group conducts both cohort studies in humans with diabetes as well as laboratory based research in rodent models with diabetes.


Clinical studies:

My group examines the progression of diabetes related complications in Type 1 diabetes in subjects in relation to different treatments including islet transplantation – this work is in collaboration with the Scottish Care Information – Diabetes Collaboration linked/Scottish Diabetes Research Network National dataset, the Islet Transplantation Programme Scotland, the UK Islet Transplant Consortium and the University of Alberta, Clinical Islet Transplant Programme. My research includes the development of scoring systems for the assessment of islet transplantation outcomes.


Rodent studies:

A major focus in my research laboratory is of islet transplantation including the underlying mechanisms limiting the success of the procedure. I have established islet transplantation into rodent models including into immunodeficient mice at the University of Edinburgh. I work collaboratively with a number of researchers to gain insights into the mechanisms behind insulin and glucagon secretion (Medical Research Scotland Project: understanding the mechanisms of insulin secretion utilising super high resolution microscopy).  I investigate the mechanisms behind islet-graft loss and aim to reduce islet loss and improve engraftment of islets in vivo using innovative therapies including cell therapy and gene-based approaches. I am actively pursuing these approaches at the clinical interface with investigators at The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service including Prof. John Campbell and Prof. Marc Turner to improve long-term islet transplant outcomes. 



Shareen Forbes graduated in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh and did specialist registrar training in Diabetes, Endocrinology and General Medicine at Imperial College, London. She was awarded a Novo Nordisk Clinical Research Training Fellowship in 1999 where she examined metabolic predictors of Type 2 diabetes at Imperial College London for her PhD thesis. She was subsequently awarded the Diabetes UK Clinical Intermediate Fellowship in 2004 developing this work at Imperial College London and continuing the work at the University of Edinburgh from 2006.

Forbes is a Professor and Honorary Consultant in Diabetes at the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian and has been Lead Physician for the Islet Transplant Programme in Scotland since the inception of the programme in November 2010, is a Principal Investigator in the UK Islet Transplant Consortium for Scotland and is a Visiting Professor in the Islet Transplant Programme in Edmonton. Shareen Forbes has expertise in medical statistics and developed and directed the Medical Statistics course for the Translational Medicine programme at the University of Edinburgh.

She is actively involved in the care of patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and is Clinical Lead of the Metabolic and Obesity Networks with the Society for Endocrinology, a member of the JDRF Scientific Council, Novo Nordisk UK Scientific Council and the Diabetes UK Clinical Studies Groups examining preventative strategies for Type 1 diabetes.

She is a Personal Tutor for medical student undergraduates and lectures undergraduates and post-graduates in the field of Diabetes and Islet Transplantation in a number of academic programmes. Forbes was awarded a Visiting Fellowship to the world leading Edmonton Islet Transplantation Programme in 2014 and with Professor Peter Senior, Professor James Shapiro and colleagues in Edmonton helped develop a new assessment of islet graft function: the Beta-2 score. The score has now been developed into a web app -


External positions

1/1/2020, Society for Endocrinology, Lead Metabolic and Obesity Networks

1 Jan 2020 → …

1/1/2019, Novo Nordisk Trustees

1 Jan 2019 → …

Associate Professor, University of Alberta

1 Aug 2018 → …

Clinical Studies Group - Prevention, Targets & Therapies for Type 1 diabetes , Diabetes UK

1 Sept 2017 → …

Society for Endocrinology Science Committee Board

6 Jan 20166 Jan 2019

Diabetes UK, Scottish Council of Healthcare Professionals

6 Mar 20151 Mar 2018

External Examiner for the University of Dundee on the PG Cert/Dip/MSc in Diabetes Care, Education and Management, University of Dundee

1 Feb 20151 Feb 2018

Tutor MSc Programme , University of Glasgow

1 Jan 2011 → …

Principal Investigator (Scotland) UK Islet Transplant Consortium

1 Nov 2010 → …

Lead Physician Islet Transplant Programme, Scotland, Royal Infirmary Edinburgh

1 Nov 2010 → …


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