Personal profile


Professor Bob Steele did his initial surgical and academic training in Edinburgh, Hong Kong and Aberdeen and was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Surgery at the University of Nottingham in 1990.  He was then appointed Professor of Surgical Oncology at the University of Dundee in 1996 and as Professor of Surgery and Head of the University Department of Surgery in 2003. 

His main interest is colorectal cancer and he is Director of the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme, having acted as clinical lead for the UK demonstration pilot that was used to inform the decision to introduce national screening programmes throughout the United Kingdom. 

He has chaired several QIS groups related to colorectal cancer and colorectal cancer screening and chaired the SIGN group that developed the latest set of colorectal cancer guidelines.  He is currently a member of Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the editor of “The Surgeon”. 

He also chairs the Board of Directors of the Scottish Cancer Foundation.


For 10 years, Professor Steele acted as Convenor for the Gastrointestinal Course of the Dundee University Undergraduate Curriculum.  He continues to take an active interest in undergraduate teaching, delivering lectures, tutorials and ward teaching.  He is also committed to post-graduate teaching in surgery, both on a day-to-day basis and as a Tutor on surgical skills courses.  He has supervised over 20 post-graduate students, working for PhDs or MDs and he is currently supervising 3 PhD and 2 MD students. 


His initial research interests were in breast cancer and, working for Professor Sir Patrick Forrest, he developed the concept of auxiliary node sampling.  In Hong Kong, his interest shifted to upper gastrointestinal disease and he was instrumental in developing and introducing endoscopic haemostasis for bleeding peptic ulcer. 

In Nottingham, working for Professor Jack Hardcastle,  he became involved with the early trials of colorectal cancer screening and since then, colorectal cancer has remained his primary clinical and academic interest.  He has carried out work in surgery and radiotherapy for colorectal cancer and in the area of genetic and chromosomal abnormalities that underlie the disease.  His main research interest, however, is in colorectal cancer screening and he has published extensively in this area.


  • RD Surgery
  • General Surgery
  • Colorectal Surgery
  • Screening and Prevention

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1979 2018

A feasibility study to assess the impact of a lifestyle intervention (‘LivingWELL’) in people having an assessment of their family history of colorectal or breast cancer

Anderson, A. S., Dunlop, J., Gallant, S., Macleod, M., Miedzybrodska, Z., Mutrie, N., O’Carroll, R. E., Stead, M., Steele, R. J. C., Taylor, R. S., Vinnicombe, S. & Berg, J. Feb 2018 In : BMJ Open. 8, p. 1-11 11 p., e019410

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Feasibility Studies
Life Style
Colorectal Neoplasms
Breast Neoplasms
3 Citations

An evidence-based treatment algorithm for colorectal polyp cancers: results from the Scottish Screen-detected Polyp Cancer Study (SSPoCS)

Richards, C. H. , Ventham, N. T. , Mansouri, D. , Wilson, M. , Ramsay, G. , Mackay, C. D. , Parnaby, C. N. , Smith, D. , On, J. , Speake, D. , McFarlane, G. , Neo, Y. N. , Aitken, E. , Forrest, C. , Knight, K. , McKay, A. , Nair, H. , Mulholland, C. , Robertson, J. H. , Carey, F. A. & 1 others Steele, R. J. C. Feb 2018 In : Gut. 67, 2, p. 299-306 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Colorectal Neoplasms
Residual Neoplasm

Application of NICE guideline NG12 to the initial assessment of patients with lower gastrointestinal symptoms: not FIT for purpose?

Quyn, A. J., Steele, R. J. C., Digby, J., Strachan, J. A., Mowat, C., McDonald, P. J., Carey, F. A., Godber, I. M., Ben Younes, H. & Fraser, C. G. 1 Jan 2018 In : Annals of Clinical Biochemistry. 55, 1, p. 69-76 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
Confidence Intervals

Conference report: Improving outcomes for gastrointestinal cancer in the UK

Forgacs, I., Ashton, R., Allum, W., Bowley, T., Brown, H., Coleman, M. P., Fitzgerald, R., Glynn, M., Hiom, S., Jones, R., Machesney, M., Maher, J., Pereira, S. P., Steele, R., Veitch, A. & Wyatt, S. Jan 2018 In : Frontline Gastroenterology. 9, 1, p. 49-61 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
Gastrointestinal Neoplasms
Referral and Consultation
Secondary Care
Financial Management

Critical Research Gaps and Recommendations to Inform Research Prioritisation for More Effective Prevention and Improved Outcomes in Colorectal Cancer

Lawler, M. , Alsina, D. , Adams, R. , Anderson, A. , Brown, G. , Fearnhead, N. S. , Fenwick, S. W. , Halloran, S. P. , Hochhauser, D. , Hull, M. A. , Koelzer, V. H. , McNair, A. G. K. , Monahan, K. J. , Nathke, I. , Norton, C. , Novelli, M. , Steele, R. , Thomas, A. L. , Wilde, L. , Wilson, R. H. & 1 others Tomlinson, I. 1 Jan 2018 In : Colorectal Cancer. 67, 1, p. 179-193 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Colorectal Neoplasms
Tumor Microenvironment

Activities 2002 2006

  • 3 Participation in conference

Scientific Meeting of the Nutrition Society

Steele, R. (Participant)
3 Jul 20066 Jul 2006

Activity: Participation in conference

184th Meeting of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland

Steele, R. (Participant)
2 Jul 20025 Jul 2002

Activity: Participation in conference


An analysis of the utility of quantitative faecal immunochemical tests in screening and symptomatic populations

Author: Mcdonald, P. J., 2016

Supervisor: B. (Supervisor) & Bartlett, W. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Diagnosis of Colorectal Polyps Using Optical Projection Tomography

Author: Coats, M. V., 2016

Supervisor: B. (Supervisor), Carey, F. (Supervisor) & Wedden, S. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Evaluation of SELDI-TOF MS as a tool in colorectal cancer screening

Author: Henderson, N. A., 2014

Supervisor: B. (Supervisor) & McLellan, L. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Medicine


The impact of population based faecal occult blood screening on colorectal cancer

Author: Libby, G., 2014

Supervisor: B. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

The relationship between faecal haemoglobin concentration and risk of significant colorectal neoplasia in screening and symptomatic populations.

Author: Digby, J., 2016

Supervisor: B. (Supervisor) & Fraser, C. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy