Dr. Joseph Scalea

Chief Medical Officer

  • by
Dr. Joe Scalea MissionGO Chief Medical Officer headshot

Joseph R. Scalea, MD (Joe) is a multi-organ transplant surgeon at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.  As Dr. Scalea’s first academic loves were engineering and math, he graduated with honors from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Va Tech) with a degree in information technology. He attended medical school at the University of Maryland before entering a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University to study transplantation immunology. After completing formal transplant surgical training at the University of Wisconsin he was recruited to lead the pancreas and islet transplant program at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Under Dr. Scalea’s leadership, the University of Maryland combined kidney-pancreas program grew to the become the largest in the United States as of 2018. Dr. Scalea is passionately interested in eliminating the ongoing organ shortage which has devastating effects on patients with organ failure. Accordingly, he leads a translational immunology laboratory focused on identifying mechanisms to maximize organ efficiency through antirejection medicine avoidance, thus allowing patients “one transplant for life.” Further, he has most recently become interested in reducing the frictions in the organ delivery supply chain with the greater goal of maximizing the number of available organs. To this end, his pioneering work with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) demonstrates that innovated organ transportation could reduce cost, reduce time, and improve organ quality. Dr. Scalea and his research team were recently recognized for performing the first-ever shipment of an organ by UAS as well as for the first-ever transplant of a human organ (kidney) transported by UAS. These events were published in/on the NYT, NPR, CNN live, the Today Show, as well as scientific reports in JAMA-Surgery, the Annals of Surgery, as well as the IEEE and the American Journal of Transplantation. He has published more than 60 peer reviewed articles and numerous book chapters in addition to speaking all over the world on the subject of transplantation innovation. While saving one life through surgical transplantation is gratifying, saving thousands through research and innovation is to what Dr. Scalea has devoted his career.