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Prof Tony Segal
The Rayne Building, Centre for Molecular Medicine
5 University Street
Tel: 0044 20 7679 6175
Fax: 0044 20 7679 0967
Prof Tony Segal profile picture
  • Emeritus
  • Div of Medicine
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences

Education and qualifications

Professor Segal grew up in Southern Rhodesia where he attended Milton School and Falcon College.

He obtained his first degree in Medicine at the University of Cape Town, and at Groote Schuur hospital where he was house physician and house surgeon to professors Brock and Louw respectively.

After six months of cardiology as a registrar at Wentworth Hospital, Durban, South Africa, he emigrated to the United Kingdom.

He started out as a surgeon and obtained the Primary FRCS from the Royal College of Surgeons and did his Accident and Emergency training at the Hammersmith Hospital. He then worked for Professor Eric Bywaters in Rheumatology at the Hammersmith hospital. 

He then specialised in Medicine and Gastroenterology in London, gaining membership and then fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians.

Over the next nine years he worked between the Clinical Research Centre at Northwick Park hospital and the Hammersmith Hospital in registrar and senior registrar positions whilst all the time undertaking clinical research into Crohn's disease and innate immunity.

He attended evening classes at Chelsea College of Science and Technology, an institute that has now become a component of Imperial College and obtained a MSc in Biochemistry .

Professor Segal then obtained a Clinical Fellowship from the Wellcome trust and moved to UCL where +he was appointed as a professor and honorary Consultant physician.

In 1986 he was appointed  Charles Dent Professor of Medicine, a post that he currently holds.


Research Summary

One of the foremost immunologists and gastroenterology researchers in the world, Professor Anthony (Tony) Segal is the Charles Dent Professor of Medicine at the UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences, # 1 in London for Medicine and # 7 in the world as a Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Professor Segal is an expert in the field of Crohn’s disease research, ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease, having discovered the cause of Crohn’s disease and performed fundamental research into ulcerative colitis. He is also the leading expert on innate immunity and the mechanisms by which white blood cells kill microbes. Professor Segal has three doctorates, in Science (London), Philosophy (London), and Medicine (Cape Town). He has over 230 peer reviewed publications, many of them in Nature (7), Science (2), the Lancet (10), New England Journal of Medicine and many other top ranking journals. He has been cited over 18,000 times with an outstanding H index of 71.

Apart for being an outstanding clinician/scientist he is an expert biochemist, molecular biologist and geneticist.

Research - past

As Director of the Centre for Molecular Medicine Professor Segal’s research has been devoted to the investigation of the relationship between innate immunity and human disease. 

Professor Segal is  a Consultant Gastroenterologist and has  discovered the cause of Crohn’s disease.  His laboratory is currently working to find drugs to treat this condition. He also investigates the cause of ulcerative colitis.

His immunological research has also discovered the way in which white blood cells kill bacteria and fungi. This is not, as was previously believed to be due to free radicals, but to the activation of lethal enzymes that are selectively activated after the microbes have been engulfed.

He discovered the cause of Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD), and with his then PhD student, Professor Adrian Thrasher, performed the first experiments to prove that gene therapy would be a feasible treatment of this condition. This is now becoming standard therapy.

In discovering the cause of CGD he discovered and characterised a class of molecules called NOXs, which are essential for life across the biological spectrum, from plants and bacteria to man. These NOXs are fundamental to many of the functions of these species, from the growth of pollen tubes and roots in plants, to invasion by fungi and immunity and many other functions in man.

Teaching Summary

Professor Segal has taught medicine to students and to qualified doctors for over forty years.

He has supervised more than 20 PhD students, and examined many such students

He started the acclaimed UCL MBPhD teaching programme that has produced some of the highest rated scientists at UCL.      

In 1997 he started and has subsequently run the UCL Prize Lecture in Clinical Science which developed into one of the most influential lecture series in Europe with twelve Nobel laureates as lecturers.


 You can see him giving the 2014 lecture himself at:


 He was the co-founder of the Institute for Gene Therapy at the Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Institute for Child Health, out of which Orchard Therapeutics was spun-off.

1986 Charles Dent Professor of Medicine Medicine UCL, United Kingdom
1979 – 1986 Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow Haematology UCL, United Kingdom
1976 – 1979 Clinical scientist Immunology Clinical Research Centre, Northwick park, United Kingdom
1970 – 1976 Various registrar and senior registrar positions Medicine Hammersmith Hospital, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1978   Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Royal College of Physicians
1974   Doctor of Medicine University of Cape Town
1971   Member of the Royal College of Physicians Royal College of Physicians
1967   Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery University of Cape Town
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