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Professor Alex Mirnezami BSc BM PhD PCME FRCS (England)

Professor of Surgical Oncology, Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon

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Alex Mirnezami is Professor of Surgical Oncology and Consultant Surgeon in the Department of Surgery, with a specialist interest in the field of Colorectal Surgery, and in particular advanced and recurrent colorectal cancer.

As a surgical oncologist, I have linked clinical and laboratory research goals, in the area of cancer recurrence, and more specifically, colorectal cancer recurrence and how we may combat/prevent it.

He completed his medical degree at the University of Southampton in 1995, having previously obtained a first class BSc as an intercalated student in 1994.

His medical training involved various junior surgical positions within the Wessex region and he obtained his membership of The Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1999. He re-joined the University in 2000 as an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow working in Dr Jeremy Blaydes’ lab, and was awarded his PhD in 2004.

He was appointed to a Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist position in 2008 and commenced as Consultant Surgeon and Senior Lecturer in 2009. He became an Associate Professor in Surgery in 2014 and was appointed to a personal chair in Surgical Oncology in 2015.

He has been a visiting fellow at a number of Comprehensive Cancer Centres including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester; The MD Anderson Cancer Centre; and the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Centres in the USA; and The Catharina Ziekenhuis Hospital, Eindhoven, in the Netherlands.

His work is divided between the laboratory and the main hospital.


BSc (First Class Honours), Biomedical Sciences, University of Southampton 1994
BM, University of Southampton 1995
PhD, University of Southampton 2004
PCME, University of Wales College of Medicine 2007
FRCS, Royal College of Surgeons of England, 2009

Appointments held

Professor of Surgical Oncology and Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon
University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust

Associate Professor in Surgery and Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon
University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust

Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist in Surgery
Senior Lecturer and Consultant Colorectal Surgeon
University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust

ACPGBI Colorectal Fellowship - Leeds General Infirmary
Clinical Lecturer in Surgery
University of Southampton

Wessex Higher Surgical Training Programme


MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship

Wessex Basic Surgical Training Programme


Anatomy Demonstrator
University of Southampton

Research interests

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major public health issue and represents the second most common cause of cancer related death in Europe. Metastases are the principle cause of death in CRC and occur in up to 1 in 4 patients at initial presentation and additionally affect 50% of patients who undergo “curative” surgical resection. The vast majority of patients with CRC metastases remain incurable and can expect a median survival of less than 2 years even with the most advanced biological therapies available. These results highlight the pressing need to identify new molecular targets for the inhibition and treatment of metastases in CRC.

Our goal is to identify novel molecular targets in colorectal cancer initiation and progression through a molecular dissection of pathogenic pathways operating in cancer cells.

One pathway identified previously involves regulation of the p53 tumour suppressor protein in epithelial cancers. Working in Dr Blaydes’ group, I was able to demonstrate that the transcriptional co-repressor CtBP2 interacts with the Hdm2 onco-protein. Recruitment of the CtBP2 co-repressor by Hdm2 results in a promoter selective repression of p53 dependent transcription. This effect is diminished under hypoxic conditions through a presumed NADH-induced conformational change in the CtBP2 molecule, preventing the Hdm2-CtBP2 interaction.

Current work is focused on the identification of microRNAs (miRNAs) involved in colorectal carcinogenesis both within the cancer cells and more importantly within the Tumour microenvironment. MiRNAs represent a fascinating class of small regulatory RNA molecules that play important roles in key cellular processes such as differentiation, metabolism, proliferation, and survival. Several lines of evidence currently indicate an involvement of miRNAs in human carcinogenesis. MiRNA expression is deregulated in several human cancers, and over 50% of miRNA genes are located within or close to chromosomally fragile sites, regions of loss of heterozygosity, amplification, and breakpoints associated with carcinogenesis. Many oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes are believed to be regulated by miRNAs, and it is likely that a fuller dissection of the cellular and molecular pathways controlled by miRNAs will provide new insights into tumorigenic mechanisms in colorectal cancer.

In addition, we also undertake clinical research into focused aspects of colorectal cancer disease behaviour and management, including being Chief investigator and local Principal investigator for several national studies on the NCRI portfolio.


Cancer Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Chief investigator for two NIHR portfolio studies on colorectal cancer and Peritoneal surface malignancies.

Genomics England local lead for colorectal cancer.

Peer review and Editorial service for a variety of Clinical and Scientific Journals.

Grant review service for national and international award bodies.

Expert committee member for clinical and scientific review panels.

Specialist Adviser to NICE and CQC.

Clinical practice focused on colorectal surgery, and colorectal cancer in particular.

Supervisor and examiner for:

  • Undergraduate 4th year student BMedSci and MMedSci projects
  • Postgraduate MD and PhD students

Third year students Surgery attachment co-coordinator.

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Book Chapters


Undergraduate teaching:

Years 1-2:

  • Medicine in Practice year 1 hospital teacher.
  • Think tank poster assessor and small group tutorials on the GIT for 2nd year students and BM4 students.
  • Large group seminars on General Surgical topics,

Year 3:

  • Year 3 General Surgery Course Co-coordinator for the region
  • Year 3 Steering group member
  • BM Intermediate Examination Working group
  • Administration and organisation of Suturing skills workshop for third year students.
  • End of attachment examiner for 3rd year Medical students.
  • Year 3 Assignment marker.
  • Organisation and delivery of teaching in colorectal surgery to final year students.

Year 4:

  • Project supervisor and examiner for 4th year students' projects – 6 students supervised in last two academic years, with one achieveing a first class and award for best project report.

Year 5:

  • Ward based teaching for final year medical students.
  • Clinical Supervision of final year students.
  • Mini CEX examiner for attachment students.

All Years:

  • Part of the revalidation steering group for development and implementation of the new medical curriculum for the University of Southampton.

Postgraduate teaching:

Small group seminars for Foundation Year trainees and more informal teaching prior to examinations on the wards. Supervision of Academic foundation year and academic clinical fellows in surgery.

Professor Alex Mirnezami
Phone: (023) 8120 5170 Email:

Room Number: SGH/CSB/MP824

Telephone:(023) 8120 5170

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