Edward John Despott is the clinical lead of Endoscopy Services at the Royal Free Unit for Endoscopy of the Royal Free Hospital and Hon. Associate Professor at University College London (UCL) Institute for Liver and Digestive Health (Royal Free campus) in Hampstead, London. Through this position, he is in charge of endoscopy service delivery, education and training. He is a consultant gastroenterologist and interventional endoscopist whose specialist interests include device assisted enteroscopy (double-balloon enteroscopy (DBE) in particular), capsule endoscopy (CE), therapeutic colonoscopy (particularly complex polypectomy including wide-field endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection ESD)) and transnasal upper GI endoscopy. He is also interested in the diagnosis and management of inflammatory bowel disease and related complications (such as endoscopic management of small bowel and colonic strictures). Since his appointment as a consutant in 2012, Dr Despott instigated significant advances at the Royal Free Unit for Endoscopy by making it one of the only 2 centres in London (and one of a handful in the UK) to offer a comprehensive small bowel endoscopy service including DBE and the development of a tertiary advanced polypectomy service.
Dr Despott is the Senior Associate Editor of VideoGIE (an official journal of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE)) and is regularly invited to lecture and perform live endoscopy demonstrations at prestigious national and international meetings (including Endolive Roma, Rome, Italy, GEEW, Erasme Hospital, Brussels, Belgium, Dusseldorf Live Endoscopy, Dusseldorf, Germany, IRCAD Brazil, Digestive Endoscopy Cluj, Cluj, Romania and BSG Live Endoscopy, London, UK). He was awarded a bursary by the Japanese GI Endoscopy Society (JGES) to present his work at the 85th JGES Congress held in Kyoto, Japan and the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) has also awarded Dr Despott another travelling fellowship to Japan, where he underwent further training in a ESD and therapeutic DBE at the National Cancer Centre in Tokyo and the Jichi Medical University, Tochigi Japan, under the direct mentorship of Dr Yutaka Saito and Prof Hironori Yamamoto, respectively. In 2007 Dr Despott received a prestigious scholarship to undergo advanced endoscopy training (particularly in DBE, CE and advanced therapeutic colonoscopy) at the Wolfson Unit for Endoscopy at St Mark’s Hospital and Academic Institute. He spent a total of 3½ years of dedicated endoscopy training at the Wolfson Unit at St Mark’s, during which time he also undertook formal research at the same institution and Imperial College London achieving a further doctorate in medical research -MD(Res), a PhD equivalent, with a thesis entitled ‘Advancing Minimally Invasive Aspects of Flexible GI Endoscopy’. He continues to be actively involved in endoscopic research and currently forms part of the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE) guidelines committee for small bowel endoscopy, quality standards and training curriculum. Dr Despott has published numerous (>65) scientific peer-reviewed papers, several book chapters and review articles and regularly acts as a referee for journals of high impact. His work is also regularly accepted for oral presentation at national and international conferences. He also maintains an active interest in endoscopy education and organises and teaches on several hands-on endoscopy courses, including the ‘European Capsule Endoscopy Course’ and is a co-founder and co-director of the European Transnasal Endoscopy Workshop (held annually at the Royal Free). He is also a co-founder and director of the renowned International Advanced Endoscopy Masterclass (AEM) London, a highly successful international educational event with >350 participants from >40 countries.
Dr Despott qualified from the University of Malta in 1999 (3rd in his qualifying year’s order of merit). He completed his general professional training in Malta obtaining MRCP(UK) in 2003, following which, he moved to the UK to pursue higher specialist training in gastroenterology and GI endoscopy in 2004, subsequently training in gastroenterology and general(internal) medicine in the North East Thames rotation of the London Deanery School of Medicine. He obtained MRCP(Gastroenterology) in 2010 and on completion of his higher specialist training (CCST), he was appointed to the faculty of attending consultant staff at the Royal Free in 2012, where he immediately established new advanced endoscopy services. In 2013 he was appointed to the position of Clinical Lead of Endoscopy and in 2014 (on acquisition of Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals by the Royal Free), he was put in charge of all endoscopy services delivered at the Trust’s 3 hospitals.
He is an active member of the BSG, ESGE and the ASGE and was elected as a Fellow of the European Board of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (FEBGH) in 2012, a Fellow of the ASGE (FASGE) in 2016 and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP), London in 2017. Dr Despott also enjoys painting seascapes in oils and acrylics, photography and deep-sea fishing.