UCL Ear Institute

Prof Martin Birchall

Prof Martin Birchall

Chair of Larynogology

The Ear Institute

Faculty of Brain Sciences

Joined UCL
6th Jan 2009

Research summary

I am a world leading academic surgeon and pioneer of surgical technologies specialising in disorders of the throat. My aim is to develop and deliver novel, affordable, effective treatments for patients with the most difficult problems affecting voice, breathing and swallowing, including the use of tissue engineering, transplantation and robotics. I am passionate about training and inspiring the brightest surgical trainees and young consultants to become flexible, future-ready surgeons and researchers.

Teaching summary

My teaching commitments are at under- and postgraduate level, to medical students, trainee surgeons, clinicians, and associated paramedical specialities and scientists. It is delivered locally, nationally and internationally.


Since 1995, I have attempted to harness the best of biomedical science to support restoration of function to people whose throats have been damaged by accident and disease, including cancer. Working with scientists, fellow surgeons and patients (I am Medical Director, National Association of Laryngectomee Clubs and the Throat Cancer Foundation), I have assembled specific teams to address a variety of throat disorders. These include the understanding of laryngeal immunity to help people with inflammatory (laryngitis) and malignant (throat cancer) conditions; repairing paralysed laryngeal nerves; and investigating viral (papillomatosis) and bacterial infections of the throat.

With the ultimate goal of achieving complete replacement of the functions of  the larynx for persons in whom it is destroyed by trauma or cancer, the work of these teams, underpinned by the unparalleled infrastructure and know-how of UCL, is now being brought together into parallel themes of stem-cell/tissue-engineered airway replacements, biomaterials and soft robotics.