Catalyst Magazine

Meet UMB’s David J. Ramsay Entrepreneur of the Year

Joseph R. Scalea, MD
Joseph R. Scalea, MD

Joseph R. Scalea, MD
School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery

About Dr. Scalea

Scalea, who joined the School of Medicine (SOM) faculty in 2016, is a multi-organ transplant specialist and director of pancreas and islet cell transplantation at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). He received an undergraduate degree in information technology from Virginia Tech and did fellowships at Harvard University’s Transplant Biology Research Center and the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. He is a 2007 SOM graduate and did his residency at UMMC.


Scalea has built the largest combined kidney-pancreas program in the United States and co-founded three startups, including MediGO and MissionGO. The Baltimore-based companies are designed to improve the logistics of the human organ transplant supply chain and provide innovative applications for unmanned aircraft. In April 2019, Scalea and his colleagues performed the first transplant of a human organ transported by drone. He was the project leader and one of the surgeons who performed the kidney transplant at UMMC.


“One of my proudest moments was seeing that drone land on the roof of the Shock Trauma Center, not only because it was a technological and a scientific achievement, but because it represented the efforts of more than 100 people. The amount of collaboration that came together between UMB, UMMC, and the University of Maryland, College Park was remarkable.” — Scalea

“As our newly formed companies have grown, I’ve watched Dr. Scalea’s entrepreneurial skills blossom. He has all the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur and is well-positioned within our companies to improve the lives of patients worldwide.” — Scott Plank, entrepreneur and CEO of MediGO and MissionGO.

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Lou Cortina

Lou Cortina is director of editorial services in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

CATALYST magazine

Executive Board

Lynne Henry, Laura Kozak, Larry Kushner, Jennifer Litchman, Thomas Sullivan, Kate Tafelski


Lynne Henry

Managing Editor

Chris Zang

Assistant Editor

Kate Tafelski

Photography Director

Matthew D’Agostino


Michelle Baffuto

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Amir Chamsaz

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Kristi McGuire