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, a past President of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland and an emeritis NIHR Senior Investigator.

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.

We are a theme in the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.  I am a Co-I on a CRUK programme of Professor Eva Morris into linkage of routine datasets in colorectal neoplasia and am part of the Northern Pathology Imaging Consortium lead by Prof Darren Treanor.  I lead the N6 digital Pathology network of Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield and Newcastle and its associated Roche/NIHR academic pathology training programme. 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 a powerful bowel cancer AI digital pathology research group associated with Professor Grabsch and Dr’s Magee, Kather and West.

We have 14 young academic histopathologists in training ranging from a clinician scientist, 3 NIHR CL’s, an MRC post doctoral CTRF and CRUK Welcome Trust and MRC PhD CTRF’s and 6 ACF’s 4 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, Vietnam, Ghana and South Africa. Our AI group collaborates with the Universities of Aachen, Maastricht and Roskilde.

I am a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an emeritus NIHR Senior Investigator, 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 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 and Post-doctoral Fellows

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

Dr Debamita Bhattacharjee Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD student


1980 Bachelor of Medicine

1987 PhD

1988 MRC Path

1997 FRCPath

2014 FMedSci

2017 FRCSE (ad hominem)

2018 FFPath- RCPI (Hon)

2019 Doctoris Honaris Causa University Grigore T. Popa University, Iasl, Romania

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)

Artificial Intelligence in stratified medicine/digital pathology

Research groups and institutes:

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Cancer

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
  • Cancer
  • Pathology and Data Analytics