Professor Dion Morton MBChB, FRCS (Eng), MD

Professor Dion Morton

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Barling Professor of Surgery
Head of Academic Department of Surgery

Contact details

Academic Department of Surgery
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
University of Birmingham office
Heritage Building (Queen Elizabeth Hospital)
Room 29, 4th Floor
Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TH

After Dion received his degree in Medicine from Bristol University in 1985, taking up an honorary consultant appointment at the University Hospital Birmingham in 1996, and was appointed Professor of Surgery in 2006. In 2011 he was appointed Deputy Head of the Institute of Cancer and Genomics Medicine) and in 2015 became Barling Chair of Surgery and Head of the Academic Department of Surgery.

Up to a third of all medical conditions are surgically treatable and under Dion’s inspirational leadership, the Academic Department of Surgery provides a focal point for new initiatives and collaborations.   

The department underpins a range of initiatives and is constantly at the forefront in surgical research and surgical training.  Its senior lecturers, lecturers, staff, students and trainees sit at the centre of a virtual consortium for academic surgery locally at the University of Birmingham and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, regionally at the 18 West Midlands hospital Trusts, nationally, and globally.


  • NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery (Morton, Brocklehurst)
  • NHS 100,000 Genome Project West Midlands Genomics Medicine Centre  (Morton)
  • Birmingham Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (Morton)
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England Clinical Research Initiative (Morton, Alderson)
  • Birmingham Surgical Trials Consortium (Morton, Pinkney)
  • The Research Hub at the European Society of Coloproctology (Morton, Pinkney, Nepogodiev, Glaseby, Bhangu)
  • D3B Phase II Trials unit (Diagnostics, Drugs, Devices and Biomarkers) (Bach)
  • West Midlands Research Collaborative (WMRC)  (Pinkney, Bhangu, Nepogodiev)

Read Dion’s  interview in The Lancet "UK implements national programme for surgical trials"  

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery is launching a number of initiatives to improve care for surgical patients in low and middle income countries (LMICs). The University of Birmingham is leading on major health research projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America to help develop surgical research that will have the potential to improve the quality of surgery. Read here to find out more.


MBChB 1985, Bristol
FRCS (Eng), 1989, Bristol
MD, 1994, Bristol


Dion is Director of the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre (WMGMC) which is a partnership of 18 NHS acute Trusts across the region, working collaboratively to help to deliver the NHS England innovative 100,000 Genomes Project. It is one of 13 similar centres, paving the way for the future of medical science - personalised medicine.   Dion also leads the Pan Cancer Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnership (GeCIP) and is a member of the Colorectal Cancer GeCIP.

He has been Chair of the Research Committee of the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP) since 2011 and initiated the expansion of the clinical research portfolio and growth in international collaboration within the European colorectal community.

Dion has led the Birmingham Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre since 2009 leading the successful increased multi million pound refunding in 2012 and again in 2016.  The Birmingham ECMC aims to improve the feasibility and quality of research in the areas of immunotherapy and gene therapy, translational genetics and biomarkers.  It is UK government and Cancer Research UK funded and the largest centre in the UK.

In 2011 he was appointed Director of Clinical Research at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and led the new Clinical Research Initiative.  The programme is now well established and has 7 Surgical Trials Units and 11 Surgical Specialty Leads (including Mr Simon Bach and BiSTC at the University). This initiative has led to the big rise in patients recruited to surgical trials and of surgical trials opened in the UK. 

He is Past President of the Society for Academic and Research Surgery.

Professor Morton recognised the immense potential of surgical trainees in research, and championing the development of the UK’s first trainee-led research network, the West Midlands Research Collaborative (WMRC) which pioneered a UK wide network of 18 collaboratives.


He is a popular lecturer with students and trainees and lectures on the postgraduate Genomics in Cancer Pathology course among others.

Postgraduate supervision


Yvonne Wallis

Phenotype genotype correlation in FAP

PhD (Birmingham) 1996

Shaheen Chughtai

Studies of putative tumour suppressor genes on C8p

PhD (Birmingham) 1999

Michael Kuo

“Tumour suppressor gene studies in head and neck cancers”

PhD (Birmingham) 1999

Mohammed A Mohammed

Evaluating the process of care changes in Birmingham in the management of colorectal cancer

PhD (Birmingham) 2002

Robert Hardy

Cell adhesion control in colorectal tumourigenesis

PhD (Birmingham) 2003

Clare Adams

Molecular studies of colorectal neoplasia in screening

PhD (Birmingham) 2004

Nazzia Mirza

Identification of a novel tumour suppressor gene at 8p12

PhD (Birmingham) 2008

Mike Walker

The influence of parathyroid hormone on the gene expression in the colorectal epithelium

PhD (Birmingham) 2012

Katherina McEvoy

The role of desmosomal cadherins in colorectal tumourigenesis

MD (Birmingham) 2012

Kai Leong

Exploring novel epigenetic predictive markers in early rectal cancer.

PhD (Birmingham) 2013

Karina Rønlund

Identification of molecular targets for a non-invasive methylation based test for pre-symptomatic diagnosis of colorectal neoplasia

PhD (Denmark\Birmingham) 2014

Lorna Gilligan

Oestrogen Metabolism in Colorectal Cancer and its Effect on Prognosis

Commenced May 2012


His research interests are predominantly in clinical and translational research in colorectal cancer, but also encompassing the development of clinical trials in surgery. 

Advanced Colorectal Cancer Trials:

As the national NCRI lead for colon cancer surgical trials (2007-13),Dion had responsibility for the development of multicentre colorectal surgical trials and helped launch 7 new trials over that period.

FOxTROT Trial – Dion is CI for this international study of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for locally advanced colon cancer which is randomising 1050 patients over 100 centres in three countries (CTAAC). 

Dion is co-applicant and co-investigator for the following national multicentre RCTs; CReST, investigating the role of endoluminal stenting for obstructing CRC. TREC, investigating the role of organ preserving surgery for early rectal cancer. ARISTOTLE, investigating chemoradiotherapy in advanced rectal cancer.

TRIALS Management Committees:

TMG (Trial Management Group) member - ISAAC, CReST, TREC, FOxTROT (Chair), ROSSINI, ARISTOTLE, DREAMs

TSC (Trial Steering Committee) Member – UCL Lung and Gynae Trials, ICR-CTSU Breast Systemic Therapies, STARTREC (pan Europe trial)

DMEC (Data Monitoring Committee) Member SEAFOod Trial, Lead CONFIDeNT TRIAL, ENDCAP

Research Groups:

Other activities

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham is recognised as one of the leading hospitals in Europe and Dion and the departmental team are all surgeons or trainees here and across the West Midlands region.

Dion heads up the Academic Department of Surgery which includes Emeritus Professor of Surgery, Derek Alderson, from July 2017, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Mr Simon Bach, Mr Thomas Pinkney, Andrew Beggs, Aneel Bhangu and Dmitri Nepogodiev ACF.

Dion is an advisor and trustee on several charities.

1.  Advisor Bobby Moore Foundation                                       2008 – present

2.  Trustee Bowel Disease Research Foundation                     Jul 2010 – Present

3.  Medical Advisory Board member Bowel Cancer UK         Sep 2010 – present

He is a member of the following societies:

  •  The Association of Coloproctology (Great Britain and Ireland)
  •  The Society of Academic & Research Surgeons
  •  The European Society of Coloproctology
  •  West Midlands Surgical Society
  •  British Society of Human Genetics
  •  The European Surgical Association


  1. Interventions in randomised controlled trials in surgery: issues to consider during trial design.  Blencowe, N., Brown, J., Cook, J., Metcalfe, C., Morton, D., Nicholls, J., Sharples, L. D., Treweek, S., Blazeby, J. M. & Members of the MRC Hub for Trials Methodology Research Network Workshop 4 Sep 2015 In : Trials. 16, 392
  2. Influence of day of surgery on mortality following elective colorectal resections.  Vohra, R. S., Pinkney, T., Evison, F., Begaj, I., Ray, D., Alderson, D. & Morton, D. G. Sep 2015 In : British Journal of Surgery. 102, (Suppl 1): 3, p. 1272-1277 6 p.
  3. Identification of Extra-colonic Pathologies by Computed Tomographic Colonography in Symptomatic Patients.  Halligan, S., Wooldrage, K., Dadswell, E., Shah, U., Kralj-Hans, I., von Wagner, C., Faiz, O., Teare, J., Edwards, R., Kay, C., Yao, G., Lilford, R. J., Morton, D., Wardle, J., Atkin, W. & SIGGAR Investigators Jul 2015 In : Gastroenterology. 149, 1, p. 89-101.e5
  4. Preliminary results of a feasibility study of the use of information technology for identification of suspected colorectal cancer in primary care: the CREDIBLE study.  Kidney, E., Berkman, L., Macherianakis, A., Morton, D., Dowswell, G., Hamilton, W., Ryan, R., Awbery, H., Greenfield, S. & Marshall, T. 31 Mar 2015 In : British Journal of Cancer. 112, Supplement, p. S70-76 7 p.
  5. The ACCURE-trial: the effect of appendectomy on the clinical course of ulcerative colitis, a randomised international multicenter trial (NTR2883) and the ACCURE-UK trial: a randomised external pilot trial (ISRCTN56523019).  Gardenbroek, T. J. , Pinkney, T. D. , Sahami, S. , Morton, D. G. , Buskens, C. J. , Ponsioen, C. Y. , Tanis, P. J. , Löwenberg, M. , van den Brink, G. R. , Broeders, I. A. M. J. , Pullens, P. H. J. M. , Seerden, T. , Boom, M. J. , Mallant-Hent, R. C. , Pierik, R. E. G. J. M. , Vecht, J. , Sosef, M. N. , van Nunen, A. B. , van Wagensveld, B. A. , Stokkers, P. C. F. & 16 others  18 Mar 2015 In : JAMA Surgery. 15, 30, p. 1-7
  6. Protocol for a multicentre, prospective, population-based cohort study of variation in practice of cholecystectomy and surgical outcomes (The CholeS study).  Vohra, R. S., Spreadborough, P., Johnstone, M., Marriott, P., Bhangu, A., Alderson, D., Morton, D. G. & Griffiths, E. A. 12 Jan 2015 In : BMJ open. 5, 1, e006399
  7. Novel approaches to surgical trials and the assessment of new surgical technologies.  Pinkney, T. D. & Morton, D. G. M. Jan 2015 In : British Journal of Surgery. 102, 2, p. e10-e11
  8. Systematic review of evidence and consensus on diverticulitis: an analysis of national and international guidelines.  Morton, D. Nov 2014 In : Colorectal disease : the official journal of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland. 16, 11, p. 866-878
  9. Biomarker-based treatment selection in early-stage rectal cancer to promote organ preservation.  Leong, K. J., Beggs, A., James, J., Morton, D. G., Matthews, G. M. & Bach, S. P. 23 Jul 2014 In : British Journal of Surgery. 101, 10, p. 1299–1309
  10. Evaluation of serum lysyl oxidase as a blood test for colorectal cancer.  Ward, S. T., Weston, C. J., Hepburn, E., Damery, S., Hejmadi, R. K., Morton, D. G., Middleton, G., Ismail, T. & Adams, D. Jun 2014 In : European Journal of Surgical Oncology. 40, 6, p. 731-8 8 p.

View all publications in research portal