Dr Manir Ali

Dr Manir Ali


I am a genetics researcher who became an independent academic fellow following a New Investigator Award from the Medical Research Council in 2006 and was tenured in 2009 as Senior Research Fellow and Group Leader in the Section of Ophthalmology & Neurosciences which is now part of the Leeds Institute of Medical Research.

I graduated with a BSc honours degree in 1990 in Biological Sciences specialising in Molecular Biology at the University of Edinburgh. Then moved to Cambridge as a postgraduate research assistant in the Department of Medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital with Professor Tim Cox, where I studied for a PhD at the University of Cambridge on the molecular biology of hereditary fructose intolerance. I moved to the St. James’s University Hospital campus in Leeds in 1996 to work with Professor John Isaacs as a post-doc researching gene expression in anergic T-cells and synovial biopsies from rheumatoid arthritis patients, which involved spending time at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage. Back in Leeds, in 2002, I worked with Professor Yanick Crow as a research fellow on the molecular genetics of the neurodevelopmental condition, Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome, and in 2004, I worked with Professor Chris Inglehearn in collaboration with the Roslin Institute, on the genetics of blind chickens. 


  • Group Leader
  • Postgraduate Research Tutor

Research interests

My research aims to find the genetic cause and molecular basis of inherited eye disease to aid diagnosis, stratify patients and search for better treatments for these conditions. I am a member of the Leeds Vision Research Group, the Leeds Psychosis Research Group, the UK Inherited Retinal Disease Consortium and the European Retinal Disease Consortium.


  • PhD, University of Cambridge
  • BSc Honours, University of Edinburgh

Professional memberships

  • UK Eye Genetics Group (EGG)
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • Genomics England Hearing and Sight GeCIP

Student education

I teach on the MBChB programme and am an Academic Personal Tutor to undergraduate medical students in years 1 and 2.

I also teach and supervise projects on the MSc in Precision Medicine and MSc in Molecular Medicine programs. 

I have supervised 9 PhD students to completion of their studies either as lead or co-supervisor. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Vision Research Group
  • LIMR - International PhD academy
  • Molecular Genetics Research Group
  • Rare Diseases & Genetics
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/56-limr-genetics:-genetic-studies-of-developmental-eye-disorders-to-investigate-genotype-phenotype-correlations">LIMR Genetics: Genetic studies of developmental eye disorders to investigate genotype-phenotype correlations</a></li> <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/210-limr-genetics:-investigating-the-molecular-basis-of-optic-nerve-degeneration-in-glaucoma-to-develop-a-personalized-medicine-strategy-for-treatment">LIMR Genetics: Investigating the molecular basis of optic nerve degeneration in glaucoma to develop a personalized medicine strategy for treatment</a></li>