Professor Philip Quirke


I lead the LIMR Division of Pathology and Data Analytics, and the Pathology Colorectal Cancer Group as well as being the Academic Training Programme Director for West Yorkshire, the Chair of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme Pathology Committee and immediate past President of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

My major interests are in bowel cancer. The first current YCR programme concentrates on (i) quality of surgery and multidisciplinary treatment (ii) response to therapy in clinical trials in colorectal cancer contributing to the pathology and molecular pathology assessments (iii) screening and the development of early neoplastic lesions. The second YCR programme is directed at improving outcomes in colorectal cancer in Yorkshire and the Humber. The CRUK programme lead by Professor John Ladbury 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. 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 are involved in over 30 lower GI cancer trials. We are exploring the value of new forms of microscopy, the light sheet microscope and nanoscopy in bowel cancer.  We have 11 young academic pathologists in training, 7 with PhD's.

We collaborate with international colleagues in 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.

We also undertake microbiome research within the OPTIMISTICC CRUK Grand Challenge into the causation, screening and biology of bowel cancer.


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 Waleed Fateen, 2016 PhD (awarded)

Dr Katie Southward, 2017 PhD (awarded)

Dr Eu-wing Toh, 2017 MD (awarded)

Mr Alex Wright, 2018 PhD (awarded)

Dr Tim Palmer, 2019 CRUK Clinical PhD (awarded)

Dr Caroline Young, 2019Welcome Trust Clinical PhD (awarded)

Dr Christopher Williams, Clinical and PhD student ongoing

Dr John Taylor, PhD student ongoing


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

Research interests

Bowel Cancer

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