Professor Martin Birchall is the leading academic Otolaryngologists in the world as measured by the impact of his papers. A specialist in disorders of voice, swallowing and breathing, he has pioneered the use stem cells and tissue engineering in surgery. Clinically, he has a particular interest in voice, swallowing and pharyngeal pouches, airway disorders such as stenosis, cough and neck lumps. He is part of multidisciplinary voice and airway teams and established with Mr Guri Sandhu, Mr Khalid Ghuffoor and respiratory, thoracic surgery, anaesthetic and other colleagues a national referral team for complex airway disorders.
He treats patients with vocal cord weakness (‘palsy’), and is trialling a new means of restoring function for them using the drive from unaffected nerves. In a monthly intervention clinic, run with top speech and language therapists, Professor Birchall uses the latest technology, such as transnasal oesophagoscopy and transcutaneous vocal cord injection, to treat voice and swallowing problems. he has a large research group concentrating on the use of innovative technology to manage disorders of the airways, especially the use of tissue engineering, stem cells and information technology.
In 2008, with Professor Macchiarini, he co-led the team which performed the world’s first stem cell based organ transplant, and with Professor Elliott at Great Ormond St, co-led the team which performed the same feat in a child in 2010.
In 2010 he was also part of the team which performed the world’s second (and first functionally reinnervated) laryngeal transplant at UC Davis, California. He was Morgan Stanley Briton of the Year (Science and Technology), 2008, and is a frequent guest speaker at major international conferences.
Professor Birchall has published in the Lancet, Nature and the BMJ. With Mr Guri Sandhu and Mr David Howard, he founded the British Laryngological Association in 2011, and has run a successful annual conference ‘Cutting Edge Laryngology’.