Professor Philip Quirke


I lead the Leeds Institute of Medical Research Division of Pathology and Data Analytics and the Pathology Colorectal Cancer Group. I am the Academic Training Programme Director for West Yorkshire, an Honorary Consultant Pathologist at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and immediate past President of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

My major interests are in bowel cancer. The first current Yorkshire Cancer Research programme (£1.5M) concentrates on (i) quality of surgery and multidisciplinary treatment (ii) response to therapy in clinical trials in colorectal cancer (iii) screening and iv) digital pathology and artificial intelligence.  The second Yorkshire Cancer Research programme (£3.6M) is directed at improving outcomes in colorectal cancer in Yorkshire and the Humber. We also undertake microbiome research within the OPTIMISTICC CRUK Grand Challenge into the causation, screening and biology of bowel cancer. We are exploring the value of new forms of microscopy and have a NIHR i4i project grant with Oxford Nano Instruments to assess its value in the NHS.  A second NIHR i4i grant is looking at liquid biopsy and colorectal cancer mutation detection in faeces. We have a range of digital pathology projects funded by a variety of bodies and this is displayed along with the digital slides at We are involved in over 30 lower GI cancer trials.

I am a Co-I on a CRUK programme lead by Professor John Ladbury which is aimed at understanding cancer of non-genetic origin and the CRUK programme of Professor Eva Morris into linkage of routine datasets in colorectal neoplasia. I am part of the Northern Pathology Imaging Consortium lead by Dr Darren Treanor and lead the N6 digital Pathology network of Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffiled and Newcastle. We are using molecular testing to choose targeted therapies in the MRC Focus 4 trial and are part of the national MRC SCORT network trying to discover new molecular markers.

We have 12 young academic histopathologists in training ranging from a clinician scientist, 2 NIHR CL’s, an MRC post doctoral CTRF and a CRUK PhD CTRF and 5 Acf’s.  6 with PhD's.

We collaborate with international colleagues in Dana Farber, Harvard, John Hopkins, Guelph, the Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, University of Erlangen, University of Aarhus, Denmark, Tokyo University, Cancer Hospital Chennai India, Italian Hospital Buenos Aries, as well as hospitals in Santiago, Chile and Vietnam.

I am a NIHR Senior Investigator, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (ad hominem), Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Pathology of Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin, the Sociedad de Coloproctologica, North West Argentina, the Societad de Coloproctologica Chile, the Russian Society of Colorectal Surgeons and Doctor Honaris Causa, University of Iasi, Romania.  I have received the McKeown and Miles medals.


BMS; LSM (2nd year MBChB module); RESS; MRes; ESREPColorectal Cancer; Molecular Pathology; Clinical Trials; Digital Pathology; Histopathology; Pathology; Academic Programme Director; Inspire

Current PhD Students

Dr Kate Marks MRC post-doctoral research fellow

Dr Christopher Williams, Clinical PhD student Oncology

Dr John Taylor, PhD student ongoing, Statistician

Dr Mary Booth Clinical PhD student Oncology

Dr Alice Westwood Clinical PhD Histopathology


1980 Bachelor of Medicine

1987 PhD

1988 MRC Path

1997 FRCPath

2014 FMedSci

2017 FRCSE (ad hominem)

2018 FFPath- RCPI (Hon)

Current and previous roles

June 1999 – present - Head of Division of Pathology and Data Analytics, University of Leeds and Honorary Consultant Histopathology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust 

2005 – present - Yorkshire Cancer Research Centenary Chair of Pathology

April 1991 - March 2004 - Head of Histopathology and Molecular Pathology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and its predecessors


  • Head of Division of Pathology and Data Analytics
  • Academic Training Programme Director


  • Head of Division of Pathology and Data Analytics
  • Academic Training Programme Director

Research interests

Bowel Cancer

Grand Challenge Media coverage: Is our microbiome the key to tackling bowel cancer:

Media coverage for YCRBCIP launch with YCR (March 2021)

Professional memberships

  • Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Royal College of Pathologists
  • Royal College of Surgeons (ad hominem)
  • Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland
  • British Division International Academy of Pathology
  • Association of Clinical Pathologists
  • NIHR Academy
  • American College of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (Hon)
  • Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland (Hon)
  • Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (ad hominem)

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's