Professor Emad El-Omar

Chair in Gastroenterology (Clinical)

BSc(Hons), MB ChB, MD (Hons), FRCP (Edin), FRSE

Professor Emad El-Omar

Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)1224 437548
+44 (0)1224 437346
Fax: +44 (0)1224 437348
Address: Division of Applied Medicine School of Medicine & Dentistry University of Aberdeen Room 6.20 Institute of Medical Sciences Foresterhill Aberdeen AB25 2ZD University Secretary: Mrs Hazel Paterson 01224-437349
NHS Secretary: Mrs Roseanne McIntosh 01224-550924


Professor Emad El-Omar graduated MB ChB from Glasgow University in 1988 having obtained an intercalated BSc (Hons) degree in Pathology in 1986. He trained in General Medicine and Gastroenterology in Glasgow and gained dual accreditation in both in 1997. In 1995 he was awarded the degree of MD with honours and Belahouston Medal, for his work on the effect of H. pylori infection on gastric acid secretion in man. In 1997, Professor El-Omar moved to the USA to carry out research on the role of bacterial and host genetic factors in the pathogenesis of gastric cancer. He spent one year in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, and two years at the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland. In July 2000, Professor El-Omar took up the newly created Chair of Gastroenterology at Aberdeen University. He is also an Honorary Consultant Physician with the Grampian University NHS Trust. Professor El-Omar leads a dedicated team of basic and clinical scientists studying the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal malignancies, inflammatory bowel disease and the role of chronic inflammation in cancer.

Professor El-Omar was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 2001 and Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2007.



Research Interests

The GI group is part of the Immunity, Infection and Inflammation Theme at the Institute of Medical Sciences. The main research interest of the GI group is the role of chronic inflammation in GI malignancy. The work is dedicated to understanding the pathogenesis of gastric cancer, colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. The common theme is the link between microbially-induced gastrointestinal inflammation and risk of malignant transformation. The main expertise is in molecular microbiology and molecular genetic research. The group has a special interest in studying Helicobacter pylori infection and the role of host genetic factors in upper GI cancer. The team also has special expertise in assessing the role of microbial diversity in inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal neoplasia. A major strength of the group is the full integration of the clinical GI service and the basic laboratory expertise, both based on the same campus. Institutional collaborations are strong with the Pathology, Immunology, Genetics and Microbiology groups and with the Rowett Research Institute. The group also has strong collaborations with national groups within theUK and several international groups in the US, Europe and Asia. 

Current Research


Role of host genetic factors in gastric cancer (main collaborators: National Cancer Institute / NIH, Bethesda, USA; Nagoya Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan; Hamamatsu Univesity School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Japan; Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Mexcio) 

Pathogenesis of Helicobacyter pylori infection (main collaborators: New York University School of Medicine; National Cancer Institute / NIH, Bethesda, USA; Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, USA; University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; European Helicobacter Study Group) 

Role of chronic inflammation in pathogenesis of colorectal neoplasia (main collaborators: Rowett Research Institute) 

Study of bacterial diversity in pathogenesis of colorectal neoplasia 

Study of bacterial diversity and its functional consequences on pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (main collaborators: Rowett Research Institute,Aberdeen) 

Role of anti-inflammatory diet on modulating risk of colorectal neoplasia (main collaborators: Rowett Research Institute) 

Teaching Responsibilities

Professor El-Omar is the Academic Development Coordinator for the School of Medicine and Dentistry at Aberdeen University. He oversees a wide range of clinical academic initiatives for undergraduates and postgraduates including the Academic Foundation Programme and Clinical Lecturer posts.  

External Responsibilities

Professor El-Omar is the Editor in Chief of the journal GUT (2013 IF 13.319). He also currently sits on the international editorial boards of several journals including Gastroenterology, Helicobacter, World Journal of Gastroenterology, Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair and Journal of Digestive Diseases.

Professor El-Omar chairs the Scientific Advisory Board for the Singapore Gastric Cancer Consortium. He is also on the grant review board for the National Medical Research Council of Singapore.

Professor El-Omar is the Chair of the Gastroduodenal Section of the British Society of Gatsroenterology (since 2007) and sits on the BSG Council, the Education, Programme, and Clinical Services and Standards Committees of the BSG.

Professor El-Omar is the Specialty Advisor in Gastroenterology to the Chief Medical Officer, Scottish Government (since 2010). He has also recently been invited to become a Board member/ Trustee of the Scottish Cancer Foundation.

Admin Responsibilities

Professor El-Omar is the Deputy Head of the Division of Applied Medicine.


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