Richard Cornall grew up on the Isle of Wight and went to state schools there. He studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College Cambridge (MA), and then Clinical Medicine (BM BCh) and Genetics (DPhil) at Balliol College, Oxford. He was a Research Fellow in Immunology at Stanford University, before returning to Oxford as an Honorary Consultant in Renal Medicine and Professor of Immunology at Corpus Christi College. He was appointed Nuffield Professor of Medicine and Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine in 2019.
Richard Cornall is interested in several aspects of inherited and acquired human disease, genetics, the study of biochemical pathways and pathology at the level of single cells. His research has covered the use of genetic screens and models, the genetics of type 1 diabetes, B cells, immune tolerance and regulation, ageing, cancer susceptibility and inherited forms of human immunodeficiency.