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Master of Birkbeck: Professor David S Latchman, CBE, MA, PhD, DSc, FRCPath, FRSA, FKC

The Master is the chief academic and administrative officer of the College. Appointed by, and accountable to the Governors, he is responsible for promoting the continuous development of Birkbeck's record of academic excellence in both teaching and research. The Master is also the designated Accounting Officer to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).


Academic Background: Professor David Latchman

    • Professor Latchman obtained a BA with first class honours in Natural Sciences, specialising in Genetics, from the University of Cambridge in 1978 and was awarded a PhD in 1981 for a thesis entitled 'Control of Alpha-fetoprotein gene expression in the mouse'.
    • After a three-year period as a post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at Imperial College London, he was appointed Lecturer in Molecular Genetics in the Department of Biology at University College London.
    • In 1988 he joined the UCL Department of Biochemistry and became Director of the Medical Molecular Biology Unit and, in 1990, Reader in Molecular Biology.
    • In 1991 he became Professor of Molecular Pathology, Head of the Department of Chemical Pathology (a Department of the Medical School) and Head of the Division of Molecular Pathology which included both the Department of Chemical Pathology and the Medical Molecular Biology Unit.
    • In 1993 the two parts of the Division formally merged to become the Department of Molecular Pathology. In 1995 he became Chairman of the Division of Pathology and Infectious Diseases, which included a number of Pathology Departments.
    • In 1996 these were brought together in the Windeyer Institute of Medical Sciences of which he became Director. During this time he also became Deputy Head of the UCL Graduate School and Chairman of the Graduate School Strategy Committee which introduced Interdisciplinary scholarships for PhD students and was responsible for the creation of a number of Graduate School Research Scholarships for all disciplines
    • In 1999 he was appointed to the established Chair of Human Genetics at UCL and became Dean of the Institute of Child Health.

Recent Books

    • Gene Control (Gene Regulation). New York, London: Garland Science, Taylor and Francis Group, 2015, 2nd Edition
    • Eukaryotic Transcription Factors. Elsevier/Academic Press, 2008. 5th edition.
    • Gene regulation: a eukaryotic perspective. New York : Taylor & Francis, 2005. 5th Edition
    • Transcription factors: a practical approach. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
    • Genetic manipulation of the nervous system. London; San Diego: Academic Press, 1996.


    • Professor Latchman has a track record as a fundraiser, having raised over £9 million whilst Dean at the Institute of Child Health, and he also has significant experience of the commercial exploitation of intellectual property, having obtained Venture Capital funding to found a Company (BioVex Ltd) on the basis of patents developed by his laboratory.

Master of Birkbeck

    • Professor Latchman took up his appointment as Master of Birkbeck and Professor of Genetics at Birkbeck on 1 January 2003.
    • He continues as Professor of Human Genetics at, UCL
    • Professor Latchman has published extensively in the field of Genetics and Molecular Biology.
    • Download a copy of Professor Latchman's inaugural lecture.

Professor Latchman in the Media

External Recognition

  • As well as representing Birkbeck as Master of the College, Professor Latchman serves on a number of external committees including:
    • National DNA Database Ethics Group (Home Office)
    • London First Board (Member)
    • Universities UK Research Policy Network (member)
    • Professor Latchman was awarded the CBE for services to higher education in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 2010.