Dr Graham Wallace BSc, PhD

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Senior Lecturer in Immunity and Infection

Contact details

Centre for Translational Inflammation Research
University of Birmingham Research Laboratories
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT

Graham Wallace is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing. 

Graham has published over 75 research papers in scientific journals as well as reviews in the fields of ocular immunology, Behcet’s Disease and immunogenetics. He has received grants from Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Fight for Sight, and the Wellcome Trust. 

He is an enthusiastic communicator on the theme immune responses in the eye and the effects of gene polymorphgisms on ocular diseases. Graham is on the Medical Panel of the Behcet’s Syndrome Society and speaks at meetings of patient groups on a regular basis.

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2054-0509


  • PhD Immunology 1988
  • BSc Immunology 1985


Graham Wallace qualified with a BSc Immunology from the University of London in 1985. He went on to study for a PhD in Immunology at University College London which was awarded in 1988. Following a postdoctoral position at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine , London Graham started a postdoctoral position at St Thomas’ Hospital London in ocular immunology. One of the diseases that was of interest to the group was Behcet’s Disease. That initiated his interest in the condition, and it has been part of his laboratory’s work ever since. Behcet’s is an immunological enigma and therefore provides many interesting avenues for research.

A particular interest is the genetic basis of the disease as the geographical spread suggests an aetiology that matches the name the Silk Road disease. This work on the immunogenetic basis of ocular disease is at the forefront of current studies and is being prepared as a major review which we believe will alter the current paradigms. Samples from his DNA bank collected from patients at Birmingham, London and the Middle East are currently being used in further studies by colleagues in Leeds, Dublin, Rotterdam and Lisbon, and Portland, Oregon.

In the broader field of inflammatory eye disease (uveitis) the effects of the local environment on inmmune response is a major part of Graham’s work. In a particular, the role of endogenous cortisol and vitamin D3 production on responses in ocular cells is investigated. The use of pathological specimens to study these elements has been a significant theme in Graham research.


Teaching Programmes

Postgraduate supervision

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

  • The effect of vitamin D production in ocular barrier cells
  • Biological dressings for treating corneal infectious disease
  • The genetic basis of ocular inflammatory disease

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Dr Graham Wallace directly, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email mds-gradschool@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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


Reseach themes

Ocular Immunology, Behcet’s Disease, Immunogenetics 

Research activity

Behcet’s Disease (BD)

In Behcet’s Disease, in collaboration with colleagues in Birmingham (PI Murray), London (Prof MR Stanford, King’s College and Prof Farida Fortune, Queen Mary’s College) and Professor Rob Moots (University of Liverpool, Graham has identified several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) including those associated with increased production of tumour necrosis factor, and Factor V Leiden, both linked to severe vascular disease (retinal occlusion), and MHC class I-related protein MICA*009, which I have postulated is involved in control and licensing of NK cells (see below). Recently, Graham has analysed SNP in PTPN22 and CTLA-4, two genes regarded as genetic masterswitches for autoimmunity, and found that CTLA-4 SNP were not associated with BD, while PTPN22 620W was inversely associated. These results support the view that BD is an autoinflammatory condition and not autoimmune. Recent work has focussed on the evolutionary aspect of gene mutations in BD.

Ocular Immunology

Research has focussed on the effect of the ocular microenvironment on macrophage activation by Toll-like receptor ligands, to address the conditions in which immune privilege may be maintained or broken. In related studies, in collaboration with Miss Si Rauz (Institute of Inflammation and Ageing) the effect of TLR signalling on antimicrobial defensins and chemokine production by corneal epithelial cells is being addressed. The effects of TLR stimulation are being analysed in the presence of both cortisol and vitamin D3 production to investigate interaction between these endogenous (protective) and exogenous (inflammatory pathways. The results have shown for the first time that corneal epithelial cells can make active vitamin D3, while fibroblasts make active cortisol, but that neither affects TLR stimulation.

On the cellular side with in collaboration with Professor Farida Fortune, Professor Miles Stanford and Dr Harry Petrushkin, Graham has investigated the functional relevance of the HLA-MICA coexpression identified by his genetic studies in BD. The results show that while a differential response of inhibition of killing in patients compared to controls. This may have an important effect on NK cell function and we are currently sequencing the molecules involved in NK control.

Other activities

  • Honorary Secretary of The International Society for Behcet’s Disease
  • Vice-President and President-elect of the International Society of Inflammation Societies
  • Deputy Director of the Graduate School of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences


Recent publications


West Midlands Collaborative Ophthalmology Network for Clinical Effectiveness & Research by Trainees (WM CONCERT) & Rauz, S 2021, 'Evaluation of full-length nanopore 16S sequencing for detection of pathogens in microbial keratitis', PeerJ, vol. 9, e10778. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.10778

Roberts, A, Tang, T, Stewart, F, Pallini, C, Wallace, G, Cooper, A, Scott, A, Thickett, D, Lugg, S, Pinkney, T, Taylor, G, Brock, K, Stamataki, Z, Brady, CA, Curnow, J, Gordon, J, Qureshi, O, Barnes, N, Bentley, L, Juvvanapudi, J, Bancroft, H, Hemming, B, Ferris, C, Langman, G, Robinson, A, Chapman, J & Naidu, B 2021, 'Ex vivo modelling of PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint blockade under acute, chronic, and exhaustion-like conditions of T-cell stimulation', Scientific Reports, vol. 11, no. 1, 4030. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83612-3

Butt, GF, Hassan, A, Wallace, GR, Kinoshita, S, Ahmad, S, Ueta, M & Rauz, S 2021, 'Human leukocyte antigen B*0702 is protective against ocular Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis in the UK population', Scientific Reports, vol. 11, no. 1, 2928. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-82400-3

Petrushkin, H, Norman, PJ, Lougee, E, Parham, P, Wallace, G, Stanford, MR & Fortune, F 2019, 'KIR3DL1/S1 allotypes contribute differentially to the development of Behçet Disease', Journal of Immunology, vol. 203, no. 8, ji1801178. https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1801178

O'Leary, M, Wallace, G, Davis, E, Murphy, DP, Nicholson, T, Bennett, AJ, Tsintzas, K & Jones, S 2018, 'Obese subcutaneous adipose tissue impairs human myogenesis, particularly in old skeletal muscle, via resistin-mediated activation of NFκB.', Scientific Reports, vol. 8, no. 1, 15360 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-33840-x

Hill, LJ, Moakes, R, Vareechon, C, Butt, G, Ng, A, Brock, K, Chouhan, G, Vincent, R, Abbondante, S, Williams, R, Barnes, N, Pearlman, E, Wallace, G, Rauz, S, Logan, A & Grover, L 2018, 'Sustained release of decorin to the surface of the eye enables scarless corneal regeneration', npj Regenerative Medicine, vol. 3, no. 1, 23. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41536-018-0061-4

Wallace, G, O'Leary, M, Bennett, A, Tsintzas, K & Jones, S 2017, 'IL-15 promotes human myogenesis and mitigates the detrimental effects of TNFα on myotube development', Scientific Reports, vol. 7, 12997. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-13479-w

Anuforom, O, Wallace, GR, Buckner, MMC & Piddock, LJV 2016, 'Ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone alter cytokine responses, but not Toll-like receptors, to Salmonella infection in vitro', Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkw092

Morton, LT, Situnayake, D & Wallace, GR 2016, 'Genetics of Behçet's disease', Current Opinion in Rheumatology, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 39-44. https://doi.org/10.1097/BOR.0000000000000234

Papagiannuli, E, Rhodes, B, Wallace, GR, Gordon, C, Murray, PI & Denniston, AK 2016, 'Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: an update for Ophthalmologists', Survey Ophthalmol, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 65-82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.survophthal.2015.06.003

Brown, G, Wallace, G & Marcinkowska, E 2016, 'The use of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 as an anticancer agent', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 17, no. 5, 729. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050729

Barry, RJ, Alsalem, JA, Faassen, J, Murray, PI, Curnow, S & Wallace, GR 2015, 'Association analysis of TGFBR3 gene with Behçet's disease and idiopathic intermediate uveitis in a Caucasian population', British Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 99, no. 5, pp. 696-9. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjophthalmol-2014-306198

Kappen, JH, Medina-Gomez, C, van Hagen, PM, Stolk, L, Estrada, K, Rivadeneira, F, Uitterlinden, AG, Stanford, MR, Ben-Chetrit, E, Wallace, GR, Soylu, M & van Laar, JAM 2015, 'Genome-wide association study in an admixed case series reveals IL12A as a new candidate in Behçet disease', PLoS ONE, vol. 10, no. 3, e0119085. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0119085


Carvalho, LA, Gerdes, JM, Strell, C, Wallace, GR & Martins, JO 2015, 'Interplay between the endocrine system and immune cells', BioMed Research International, vol. 2015, 986742. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/986742

Review article

Petrushkin, H, Hasan, MS, Stanford, MR, Fortune, F & Wallace, GR 2015, 'Behçet's disease: do natural killer cells play a significant role?', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 6, 134. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2015.00134

View all publications in research portal