Professor Philip Murray MBBS, DO(RCS), PhD, FRCP, FRCS, FRCOphth

Professor Philip Murray

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Professor of Ophthalmology

Contact details

+44 (0)121 507 6851
+44 (0)121 507 6853
Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Phil Murray is Professor of Ophthalmology. He is Deputy Head, Graduate School, College of Medical and Dental Sciences and was a member of the University Senate (2008-10).

His main clinical and research interests are in the field of intraocular inflammation (uveitis). He is the UK lead on undergraduate education in ophthalmology.

Phil has published almost 150 research papers in scientific journals including reviews plus book chapters on uveitis. He has also co-authored four books.

He has received grants from The Medical Research Council, The Wellcome Trust, and Fight for Sight, and is frequently invited to speak at and Chair National and International conferences on uveitis. He is a referee for a number of journals and grant giving bodies and until recently for the Higher Education Funding Council for England. He is Section Editor, The British Journal of Ophthalmology, Reviewing Editor, Ocular Immunology and Inflammation, and Editorial Board Member, BMC Ophthalmology.

He is Secretary of the prestigious International Uveitis Study Group.

Phil sits on numerous national committees (Royal College of Ophthalmologists, Royal College of Physicians, Academic of Medical Royal Colleges) and is an adviser to a number of patient groups and charities.


  • FRCP – The Royal College of Physicians 2005
  • FRCOphth – The Royal College of Ophthalmologists 1993
  • PhD – University of Amsterdam 1990
  • FRCS - The Royal College of Surgeons of England 1985
  • DO(RCS) – Royal College of Surgeons of England 1982
  • MRCS LRCP 1978 (Conjoint)
  • MBBS St. George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London 1978


Phil Murray qualified in Medicine at St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London. After House Jobs and Senior House Officer post in Neurosurgery, his started his ophthalmology career in Croydon and Southampton. Following this he undertook laboratory research into intraocular inflammation (uveitis) at the Institute of Ophthalmology, London. Most of his ophthalmological training was then undertaken at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London. In 1988 he spent one year as Guest Researcher at the Department of Ophthalmo-Immunology in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In January 1990 he was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Ophthalmology at the University of Birmingham, and after a short period as Reader he took up the position of Professor of Ophthalmology in 1997. He obtained his PhD in 1990 on ‘Immunological Aspects of Intraocular Inflammation’.

His main research interests revolve around immune mechanisms in the ocular microenvironment, in particular uveitis. He has been investigating why the eye cannot control inflammation in patients with uveitis.

He gave the ‘Middlemore Lecture’ of the Midland Ophthalmological Society in 2001, the ‘College Lecture’ of the College of Ophthalmologists of Sri Lanka in 2005, and the same year was Visiting Professor, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He is an Honorary Member of the Union of Bulgarian Ophthalmologists.

He has published nearly 150 peer-reviewed articles on uveitis, numerous book chapters, co-authored 4 books including the ‘Oxford Handbook of Ophthalmology’, and was past Editor of Eye News, and previous Secretary then Vice-President of the Section of Ophthalmology of the Royal Society of Medicine.

He is Secretary of the International Uveitis Study Group (a select group of about 80 international uveitis experts). He is a member of the Education and Examinations Committees of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, serves on the Equivalence of Training, International Medical Graduate, eLlearning Subcommittees, and chairs an Undergraduate Working Party for the RCOphth. He is a member of the Medical Ophthalmology SAC of the Royal College of Physicians and until recently was Chairman of the Medical Ophthalmology STC. He also sits on the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Foundation Programme Committee.

He is a member of The School of Ophthalmology Training Committee. West Midlands Deanery, and for 2010-11 is the President of the Midland Ophthalmological Society. He is also a member of the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust Research and Development Committee, Medical Education Committee, and Undergraduate Teaching Group.

He is an external examiner to the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and until recently to Middlesex University, Aston University and the University of Nottingham.

He is an adviser to ‘The Uveitis Information Group’, ‘The Behçet Syndrome Society’, ‘The Birdshot Uveitis Society’, and ‘Olivia’s Vision’. He organises the Basic Sciences for Ophthalmologists Part 1 FRCOphth and Oculus Part 2 FRCOphth courses.

He is a Life Member of Brentford FC Supporters Club and plays baritone sax in Out Of The Blue Jazz Orchestra. Somehow he manages to fit in very busy clinics seeing patients with uveitis, one operating session a week, and the training of junior doctors.


Teaching Programmes

  • MBChB
  • In charge of undergraduate ophthalmology teaching:
  • 1st Yr SSA
  • 2nd Yr large group lectures
  • 3rd Yr large group lectures, clinical skills
  • 4th Yr small group teaching, clinical teaching, SSMs
  • 5th Yr clinical teaching

Personal Mentor – PM53 group

Postgraduate supervision

Phil is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • Translational studies in intraocular inflammation and scleritis

If you are interesting in studying in this subject area please contact Phil on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.   



Immunology of uveitis, Medical and surgical therapy of uveitis including Clinical Trials, Corticosteroid metabolism


The eye is an immunologically privileged site. Recent developments are beginning to suggest specific molecular mechanisms for this process. Nevertheless, uveitis is a clear challenge to this tolerant paradigm. Research is aimed on answering the following questions: (1) why does intraocular tolerance fail in uveitis? (2) what immune mechanisms initiate and drive the inflammatory response?, and (3) what can one do about it?



Our studies of uveitis are currently addressing the roles of a number of potentially harmful immune cell subsets (T cells). We are collecting fluid from the front of the eye of patients with uveitis and comparing them to the cells we find in their peripheral blood, as well the blood of healthy individuals. This work is supported by a 3-year grant from Fight for Sight. In related work we are also studying these populations of immune cells in great detail in healthy individuals, to gain an insight into their biology and how they might be involved in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

We have recently published that the microenvironment in the eye suppresses the function of a key population of immune cells involved in the initiation of immune responses; these cells are termed dendritic cells. We have also shown that the microenvironment continues to suppress the function of dendritic cells, despite the ongoing active inflammation, in individuals with uveitis. This work is currently being prepared for publication.

We are also examining the genetic basis of ocular disease in particular the concept that condition such as Behçet’s Disease and idiopathic intermediate uveitis are autoinflammatory rather than autoimmune in nature. Analysis of new polymorphisms in the IL-10 gene has shown that those associated with Behçet’s or inflammation at the back of the eye, are not linked to disease solely at the front of the eye suggesting a different mechanism.

We are also investigating the role of metabolomics in the diagnosis and prognosis of intraocular inflammation.


Undertaking a large retrospective study of the outcome of cataract surgery in patients with uveitis. Although cataract surgery is highly successful in the elderly, in patients with uveitis the outcome is not as good. We are investigating the results of our cataract surgery in uveitis and are finding that with the appropriate pre-and post-operative management uveitis patients do very well.

Studying the effects of corticosteroid injections around the eye (sub-Tenon triamcinolone) in uveitis patients who have poor central vision related to their inflammation (cystoid macular oedema).

Undertaking clinical trials for new therapies for uveitis.

Corticosteroid metabolism

This is lead by Saaeha Rauz, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Ophthalmology, studying in a range of inflammatory eye diseases the role of the enzyme 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase Type 1 that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol.

Other activities

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
Member of:

  • Research and Development Committee
  • Medical Education Committee
  • Undergraduate Teaching Group

West Midlands Region

  • President, Midland Ophthalmological Society
  • Member of The School of Ophthalmology Training Committee. West Midlands Deanery

Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Member of:

  • Education Committee (in charge of undergraduate ophthalmology and Foundation curriculum)
  • Examinations Committee
  • International Medical Graduates sub-committee
  • Equivalence of Training sub-committee
  • eLearning sub-committee
  • Examiner for Part 2 FRCOphth

Royal College of Physicians

  • Chairman, Specialty Training Committee for Medical Ophthalmology (finished Sept 2010)
  • Member, Specialty Advisory Committee for Medical Ophthalmology

Academy of the Medical Royal Colleges

  • Member of the Foundation Programme Committee


  • Secretary of the International Uveitis Study Group
  • External Examiner, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland


  • ‘The Uveitis Information Group’
  • ‘The Behçet Syndrome Society’
  • ‘The Birdshot Uveitis Society’
  • ‘Olivia’s Vision’


Murray, P.I., Bodaghi, B., Sharma, O.P. (2011), Systemic treatment of sarcoidosis, Ocul Immunol Inflamm, 19: 145-150.

Baylis, O., Murray, P.I., Dayan, M. (2011), Undergraduate ophthalmology education? A survey of UK medical schools, Med Teach, Feb 28. [Epub ahead of print]

Mandal, N., Harborne, P., Bradley, S., Salmon, N., Holder, R., Denniston, A.K., Murray, P.I. (2011), Comparison of two ophthalmoscopes for direct ophthalmoscopy, Clin Experiment Ophthalmol, 39: 30-36.

Denniston, A.K., Kottoor, S.H., Khan, I., Oswal, K., Williams, G.P., Abbott, J., Wallace, G.R., Salmon, M., Rauz, S., Murray, P.I., Curnow, S.J. (2011), Endogenous cortisol and TGF-beta in human aqueous humor contribute to ocular immune privilege by regulating dendritic cell function, J Immunol, 186: 305-311.

Sinclair, A.J., Walker, E.A., Burdon, M.A., van Beek, A.P., Kema, I.P., Hughes, B.A., Murray, P.I., Nightingale, P.G., Stewart, P.M., Rauz, S., Tomlinson, J.W. (2010), Cerebrospinal fluid corticosteroid levels and cortisol metabolism in patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension: a link between 11beta-HSD1 and intracranial pressure regulation?, J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 95: 5348-5356.

Hickman, R.A., Denniston, A.K., Yee, C.S., Toescu, V., Murray, P.I., Gordon, C. (2010), Bilateral retinal vasculitis in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus and its remission with rituximab therapy, Lupus, 19: 327-329.

Oswal, K.S., Sivaraj, R.R., Stavrou, P., Murray, P.I. (2009), Clinical features of patients with diabetes mellitus presenting with their first episode of uveitis, Ocul Immunol Inflamm, 17: 390-393.

Mushtaq B, Gupta R, Elsherbiny S, Murray PI. (2009), Ocular syphilis unmasked following intravitreal triamcinolone injection, Ocul Immunol Inflamm, 17: 213-215.