Professor Ali Khurram

BDS, MSc., PhD., MFDS RCS (Edinburgh), CiLT, FHEA, FRC Path.

School of Clinical Dentistry

Professor and Honorary Consultant Pathologist

Honorary Consultant Pathologist

Professor Ali Khurram
Profile picture of Professor Ali Khurram
+44 114 215 9378

Full contact details

Professor Ali Khurram
School of Clinical Dentistry
19 Claremont Crescent
S10 2TA

I am a Professor and Honorary Consultant in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Prior to that, I worked as a Senior Clinical Lecturer (2016-2022) and as a NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer/ Honorary Specialist Registrar (2011-2016) at the University of Sheffield. Following a Masters (University of London- 2003) and a PhD (University of Sheffield- 2008), I worked as a Senior House Officer in Oral Medicine/Pathology at Cardiff Dental Hospital (2008) and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2008-09) in addition to two years in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (2009-11). 

I have a strong interest and am actively involved in research and teaching (undergraduate, postgraduate, clinical) as well as diagnostic oral, maxillofacial and head and neck pathology. I am the founder and Lead of the NEOPATH Research Group working with a team of researchers and clinicians on various aspects of head and neck cancer diagnosis and prognosis prediction. In addition to local research projects, my group is working with a wide range of collaborators and funders across the world.

I am passionate about raising the profile of Pathology as a specialty and raising awareness of head and neck cancers. I work closely with a number of patient groups and charities and am a Patron for The Swallows Head and Neck Cancer Charity.

Research interests

One of my main interests is the application of Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning to Pathology with numerous recent publications. At present, I am involved in a number of national and international collaborative projects exploring ‘novel digital biomarkers’ in cancers and pre-cancers. I am the PI on a Project Grant (WORTH £405k) by Cancer Research UK which aims to use AI for prognosis prediction in oral pre-cancer. Recently, I have been awarded £247K as part of an International Collaborative Research Grant from The British Council. This project involves working alongside collaborators in Khyber Medical University, Pakistan with matched local funding to explore genetic markers of diagnosis and prognosis in oral cancers.

My main clinical research interest is studying metastasis and extracapsular spread in oral cancer or oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) as it reduces the 5-year patient survival by 80-85%. In particular, I am interested in the role of tumour microenvironment (TME), stroma and epithelial mesenchymal transition in cancer progression, bone invasion, metastasis and extranodal extension. I am also interested in Salivary Gland tumour diagnosis and pathobiology and identification/testing of biomarkers useful in diagnosis and prognosis prediction.

Another research interest of mine is in the interaction of chemokine receptors and their ligands in inflammatory and neoplastic disease. Our previous work showed expression of the XCR1 receptor outside the immune system for the first time where it facilitated cancer cell signalling, migration, invasion, proliferation in addition to stimulating adhesion to ECM components and release of Matrix Metalloproteinases.


Journal articles


Research group
  • Hanya Mahmood (NIHR-funded Doctoral Training Fellow) 
  • Ibrahim Alsanie (PhD student, funded by King Saud University, Saudi Arabia) 
  • Neda Azarmehr (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, funded by CR UK) 
  • Paul Hankinson (NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology) 
  • Mariem Elsharief and Fatima Elalawy (co-supervisor) 

Finished PhD students

  • Areeg Elmusrati
  • Alice Pilborough
  • Amir Zaki Abdullah Zubir
Teaching activities

Module Lead (MMedSci) - ORP611- Advanced Oral Histopathology

Professional activities and memberships
  • Head and Founder of NEOPATH Research Group
  • National Institute for Health Research Academic Training Lead for Sheffield Dental Academic Trainees, March 2023 - present
  • Member of Translational Research Committee, Head and Neck Cancer International Group (HNCIG), March 2023 - present
  • Deputy Chair, NCRI Salivary Gland Cancer Working Group, November 2022 - present
  • Training Programme Director for Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Yorkshire and the Humber, June 2022 - present
  • Honorary Secretary and Webmaster, British Society for Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (BSOMP) 
  • Webmaster and Digital Advisor, Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland (PathSoc) 
  • Member of Educational Committee, European Society of Integrated and Digital Pathology (ESDIP) 
  • Member, British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists (BAHNO) 
  • Member, European Society of Pathology (ESP)
  • Member, IADR and BSODR


I am the Clinical Lead for the diagnostic Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Service the Unit provides. This includes the macroscopic description and reporting of routine biopsies and major head and neck cancer resection cases alongside other colleagues.

My role as the lead involves working closely with the histopathology lab team, maintaining and updating SOPs, undertaking and evaluating relevant clinical audits and quality improvement activities as well as risk assessment and reporting.

The department works closely with the Maxillofacial Surgery department and cases are discussed at weekly Regional Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Meetings. I am also involved in training Dental Core Trainees (DCTs), Specialist Registrars (StRs), and the Training Programme Director for Yorkshire. 

I am passionate about engaging and involving patients in research as well as raising awareness about Head and Neck Cancers and am a Patron of The Swallows Head and Neck Cancer Charity

Podcasts, lectures and press releases

Virtuathon for Mouth Cancer Action Month 2020

The Swallows Head and Neck Cancer Podcast 2022: Role of the pathologist

Salivary Gland Cancer UK Podcast: Complexities in Diagnosis

RCPath Pathologists in Profile Podcast 2022

TUos Press Release for Cancer Research UK funded project