Professor Dion Morton

Dion Morton.Cancer Research H and S Day 4.

Dion Morton is a consultant surgeon and is Director of the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) at the University of Birmingham. He is also Director of Clinical Research at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and leads the Surgical Oncology theme within the School of Cancer Sciences, specialising in colorectal cancer.

Professor of Surgery, Academic Department of Surgery, School of Cancer Sciences, College of Medical Sciences and Dentistry, University of Birmingham.


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Background and Research focus

Professor Dion Morton is the Director of Clinical Research at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and leads the Surgical Oncology theme within the School of Cancer Sciences. He is also the Director of the Birmingham Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC). The remit of the ECMC is to improve the feasibility and quality of research in the areas of immunotherapy and gene therapy, translational genetics and biomarkers. His research interests are mainly in clinical and translational research in colorectal cancer, but also encompassing the development of clinical trials in surgery. Dion oversees all multicentre colorectal cancer surgical trials supported by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) in the UK. In particular, he co-leads the FOxTROT clinical trial which assesses whether giving the first 6 weeks of oxaliplatin/fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy prior to surgery and/or adding panitumumab improves probability of cure for patients with high-risk operable colon cancer. He is also a co-applicant on several national multicentre randomized clinical trials for colon-rectal cancer including CreST, TREC and ARISTOTLE. Dion is also interested in the development of novel surgical devices for prevention of infection following surgery. With this in mind he leads a regional collaborative with the surgical trainees (West Midlands Research Collaborative) which has established several multi-centre randomized clinical trials called ROSSINi (Reduction of Surgical Site Infection using a Novel Intervention) and ROCSS (Reinforcement of Closure of Stoma Site).


Colorectal cancer; surgical clinical trials; surgical oncology.

Other activities

Dion is the Deputy Head (Clinical) at the School of Cancer Sciences.  In addition to his clinical research, Dion plays a large role in teaching and supervising students. Dion undertakes two fixed undergraduate (clinical) teaching sessions per week and instructs students during his outpatient, endoscopy, and theatre sessions. He also delivers lectures to both the dental and medical students, as well as providing small group tutorials and revision courses in surgery. Dion also organizes an annual course on Colorectal Cancer Prevention at the University of Birmingham. Finally, he also serves as an advisor to several charities including Bowel Disease Research Foundation Trustee, Bowel Cancer UK Medical Advisory Board and the Bobby Moore Foundation.  


Vennix S, Morton DG, Hahnloser D, Lange JF, Bemelman WA; The research committee of the European Society of Coloproctocology. Systematic review of evidence and consensus on diverticulitis: an analysis of national and international guidelines. Colorectal Dis. 2014 May 7.

Ward ST, Weston CJ, Hepburn E, Damery S, Hejmadi RK, Morton DG, Middleton G, Ismail T, Adams DH. Evaluation of serum lysyl oxidase as a blood test for colorectal cancer. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2014 Jun;40(6):731-8.

Leong KJ, James J, Wen K, Taniere P, Morton DG, Bach SP, Matthews GM. Impact of tissue processing, archiving and enrichment techniques on DNA methylation yield in rectal carcinoma. Exp Mol Pathol. 2013 Dec;95(3):343-9.

Beggs AD, Jones A, Shepherd N, Arnaout A, Finlayson C, Abulafi AM, Morton DG, Matthews GM, Hodgson SV, Tomlinson IP. Loss of expression and promoter methylation of SLIT2 are associated with sessile serrated adenoma formation. PLoS Genet. 2013 May;9(5):e1003488.

Pinkney TD, Bartlett DC, Hawkins W, Mak T, Youssef H, Futaba K, Harrison G, Gheorghe A, Bradbury JM, Calvert MJ, Dowswell G, Magill L, Redman V, Wilson S, Leaper D, Morton DG; West Midlands Research Collaborative. Reduction of surgical  site infection using a novel intervention (ROSSINI): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 2011 Oct 4;12:217.

UK Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Trial Investigators: Once-only flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in prevention of colorectal cancer: a multicentre randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2010 May 8;375(9726):1624-33.Epub 2010 Apr 27.

Caldwell G, Jones CE, Ashley AM, Wei W, Hedmadi RK, Morton DG, Matthews G. Wnt signalling in adenomas of FAP patients. Br J Cancer 2010 Sep 103, 910–917.

Von Wagner C, Knight K, Halligan S, Atkin W, Lilford R, Morton D, Wardle J. Patient experiences of colonoscopy, barium enema and CT colonography: a qualitative study. Br J Radiol. 2009 Jan;82(973):13-9.

Caldwell GM, Jones CE, Soon Y, Warrack R, Morton DG, Matthews GM. Reorganisation of the Wnt response pathway in colorectal carcinogenesis. Br J Cancer, 2008 Apr 22;98(8): 1437-42.

Baron JA, Sandler RS, Bresalier RS, Lanas A, Morton DG, Riddell R, Iverson ER, Demets DL. Cardiovascular events associated with rofecoxib: final analysis of the APPROVe trial. Lancet. 2008 Nov 15;372(9651):1756-64. by binding of a human gamma delta T cell antigen receptor to endothelial protein C receptor. Nat Immunol  13(9): 872-9.