Professor David Latchman, CBE, is a leading UK university academic, author, and philanthropist.
Born in London in 1956, Professor Latchman has dedicated his career to academia. As a boy, he was educated at the Haberdashers Aske’s Boys School, before going on to study Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. Graduating with First-Class Honours, he was then awarded a MA and PhD. Latchman also completed a three-year period a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Department of Biochemistry at Imperial College London and has a DSc (higher doctorate) from the University of London.
Latchman was appointed as a lecturer at University College London (UCL) in 1984, before being promoted to Reader in 1990 and full Professor in 1991. Following this, in 1999 he went on to become Dean of Institute of Child Health at UCL and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
Professor Latchman was the driving force behind life-changing research, leading to formation of clinical-stage biotechnology company, BioVex, in 1999. The company was sold to Amgen Ltd. in 2011, and the viral gene therapy product Latchman’s lab created, is now used as a life extending treatment in cancer patients with melanoma.
In 2003, Professor Latchman joined Birkbeck to head up the university, all while continuing as a part-time Professor at UCL. As the Vice-Chancellor, he is responsible for leading one of the UK’s top universities. During his timei n the role, Latchman has driven significant development of the College, including acquiring the Student Central building from the University of London, which is expected to open in 2024 and will increase teaching, learning and social space by 25%.
Professor Latchman is devoted to helping improve lifelong education for all, and over the years has used his position to stand against government proposals to cut funding for students. His advocacy has seen further funding for part-time students and universities, with fee loans and maintenance loans being made available to part-time undergraduates. Similarly, loans are now available to all post-graduate students with the upper age limit being set at 60 years, a 30-year increase on the previous age limit.
Master of Birkbeck
University of London
Professor of Genetics
Birkbeck and University College London
University College London
- Head of the Department of Molecular Pathology (1993-1999)
- Director of Windeyer Institute of Medical Sciences (1996-1999)
Dean of Child Health UCL (1992-2002).
As an outstanding UK university, Birkbeck, shares Latchman’s commitment to helping students of all ages achieve a degree and does this by offering courses in the evenings. This means that students of all ages are able to study as well as maintain their work and caring commitments.
Alongside his career at the university, Professor Latchman focuses greatly on his philanthropic work. Professor Latchman is Chairman of the trustees of The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation and is a trustee of the Maurice and Vivienne Philanthropic Foundation. These charities make up the Wohl Legacy, which helps to support and fund Jewish education projects, medical advancement, care and welfare, arts and culture, communal life, and employment for people across the UK and Israel. Some of their most notable work include the creation of the Wohl Campus in Golders Green which opened in 2010 and is the largest health and social care organization servicing the Jewish Community in London and the South East. It provides support for the elderly and those in need through a dementia and nursing care home and independent living apartments. When demand in the community began to rise, the Wohl Legacy also provided further funding in the form of Wohl Court – 32 independent living apartments – to meet this need. Other projects carried out during their 50th anniversary, include their support to translational medical research in Hadassah and Sheba hospitals in Israel, and art projects across the National Gallery and Royal Academy in London.
Outside of the Wohl Legacy, Professor Latchman has served on a number of charitable and scientific committees, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) London Council, National DNA Database Ethics Group, London First Board, ResPublica Lifelong Learning Commission, Labour Party Commission, Universities UK Research Policy Network, Westminster Academy Advisory Board and Women and Children First. He is also Chair of charitable organisations, ‘Educating for Impact’ and ‘Action for Community Employment’, which aims respectively to enhance education in schools across Europe and in time, help people prepare for employment.
As a keen author, Latchman has also written and edited a number of teaching resources. His years of experience as a lecturer ensures he has a vast amount of knowledge to apply to his writing, which educates students on a wide variety of scientific subjects.