Dr Manir Ali

Dr Manir Ali


I read Biological Sciences specialising in Molecular Biology at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a BSc honours degree in 1990. I 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. This work involved spending time at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage and I was awarded the British Society of Rheumatology Young Investigator award in 2000. 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.

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


  • Group Leader

Research interests

My research aims to find the genetic cause and molecular basis of inherited eye disease to aid diagnosis 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)

Student education

I teach on the MBChB programme and am Personal Tutor to undergraduate medical students in years 1 and 2. I also teach on the MSc in Precision Medicine. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • 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/210-genetics:-investigating-the-molecular-basis-of-optic-nerve-degeneration-in-glaucoma-to-try-and-develop-a-personalized-medicine-strategy-for-treatment">Genetics: Investigating the molecular basis of optic nerve degeneration in glaucoma to try and develop a personalized medicine strategy for treatment</a></li>