Meet the BLA Council

Declan Costello

Declan Costello

President (2023 - 2025)

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Declan Costello is a consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon specialising in voice disorders (a laryngologist).  He studied music at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar, and went on to study medicine at Imperial College.  As a singer himself, he has a particular interest in treating voice disorders in performers.

Having worked for ten years in Birmingham as a consultant, he moved to Wexham Park Hospital in Berkshire in 2018.  He has published a number of books and has written many chapters, including the chapter on “Larynx” for the 42nd edition of “Gray’s Anatomy”.  In the middle of 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, he helped to coordinate research on the perceived dangers of singing and aerosols.  This research led to the UK government opening up performing after a prolonged period of enforced silence.

Declan was appointed President-Elect June 2022.

Guri Sandhu

Council Member & Past President (2021-2023)

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Guri Sandhu is a Consultant Otolaryngologist and Head & Neck Surgeon at Imperial College and The Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospitals in London, with honorary contracts at The Royal Brompton, University College and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals. He is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Imperial College and University College London.

Mr Sandhu graduated from the University of London in 1990 having trained in Medicine at The Royal London Hospital. As a registrar, he trained in ENT at The Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital and in Paediatric ENT at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. He is a laryngologist with a special interest in laryngotracheal stenosis but also manages voice and swallowing disorders. He has experience in performing the full spectrum of endoscopic and open surgical procedures on the larynx, pharynx and airway; many of these procedures he has pioneered himself.

He lectures nationally and internationally on these subjects and has an active research programme. He was responsible for setting up the National Centre for Airway Reconstruction in London which comprises a multidisciplinary team of specialists with an interest in airway problems. This unit has treated the largest number of adult patients with laryngotracheal stenosis in Europe.

Chadwan Al Yaghchi

Honorary Treasurer and Meetings Committee Member

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Mr Chadwan Al Yaghchi is a consultant laryngologist at the National Centre for Airway Reconstruction at Imperial College Healthcare. His specialist areas of interest are airway stenosis and complex dysphagia. He completed his higher surgical training in Ear Nose and Throat in the London North Thames regional rotation and laryngology training at Charing Cross Hospital.

Mr Al Yaghchi holds a PhD in Molecular Oncology from Queen Mary’s University of London, studying oncolytic viruses in head and neck cancers. In addition, he has an active clinical research program in voice, airway and swallowing disorders. He published multiple book chapters, 30 peer-reviewed articles and is currently the Laryngology Section editor of Scott-Brown’s Otolaryngology.

Mr Al Yaghchi is an internationally renowned specialist in gender-affirming voice surgery. He introduced a number of voice feminisation procedures to the UK, including his own modification to the Wendler Glottoplasty technique and Vocal Fold Muscle Reduction. He is a founding member of the International Association of TransVoice Surgeons.

Yakuba Karagama

Council Member & Meetings Committee Member

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Yakubu Karagama is a Consultant Laryngologist at the Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital, London.

He completed his higher surgical specialist training in the Northeast Deanery, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK in 2007 and obtained his certificate of specialist training from General Medical Council (GMC) the same year.

He is an internationally renowned laryngologist and leads the voice, airway and swallowing service at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London.

Yakubu is the founder and director for London and Manchester International Phonosurgery, Laser Laryngeal Surgery, Transnasal Oesophagoscopy (TNO) and Dysphagia Courses. He is keen on voice research and has obtained an MSc in advanced voice research in 2005 at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Kate Heathcote

Council Member

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Since 2013, Kate has been a consultant laryngologist at the Poole Hospital Foundation Trust on the South Coast of England; as a Fellow to Professor Jean-Paul Marie in Rouen, France, she learnt techniques of laryngeal reinnervation which she has continued to develop, research and introduce into the UK.

A further laryngology fellowship at the RNTNE focused on airway procedures with Guri Sandhu and Phonosurgery with John Rubin. She has a comprehensive NHS laryngology service in Poole, offering a laryngology treatment clinic and voice clinic. She is working at disseminating good practice and educational content via the BLA.

Jonathan Fishman

Council Member

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Jonathan Fishman BM BCh (Oxon), MA (Cantab), PhD, FRCS (ORL-HNS)

Jonathan Fishman is an ENT Consultant and Laryngologist at the Royal National Throat, Nose & Ear Hospital, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Clinical Lecturer at University College London. He has both an adult and paediatric laryngology practice and runs weekly multidisciplinary voice clinics. He also leads the airway service at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. He has a dedicated interest in voice disorders and neurolaryngology.

Jonathan was awarded a PhD from University College London in 2013 for his research. He has received numerous awards, grants, prizes (including recipient of the BLA David Howard Laryngology Prize in 2014) and research fellowships and has published widely in the field of laryngology. He has lectured both nationally and internationally and has organised and chaired sessions at National, European and International meetings pertaining to laryngology. He is Senior Editor for the Journal of Laryngology & Otology.

Jonathan has been on the BLA Council for several years now, serving as both Trainee representative and more recently Meetings Secretary. He is passionate about the field of laryngology. Laryngology, by comparison with other ENT subspecialties, is a relatively young discipline in the UK. He aims to drive innovation within the field, through collaborative research and audit, in order to establish the UK as a World leading laryngology centre of excellence.

Nick Gibbins

Honorary Secretary and Council Member

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Nick Gibbins is a Consultant Otolaryngologist and Voice Surgeon at University Hospital Lewisham. He graduated from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, London in 1998 and was awarded the Registrar’s Gold Medal for research by the ENT Masterclass in 2011. His ENT training ran through London and the South East, and included paediatric ENT and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children.

He is a laryngologist and has a specialist interest in the diagnosis and treatment of Voice Disorders, the management of the professional voice, and the biomechanics of the body that can affect both voice and swallow.

He has published articles and written text-book chapters regarding the management of voice disorders. He teaches, trains and examines both under- and postgraduate medics and has appeared on BBC Radio 3 discussing the voice. His passions include the evolution of the larynx, ensuring professional voice users know how to manage their voice, and what to do when it goes wrong.

Natalie Watson

Media and Communication Secretary and Council Member

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Natalie Watson is a Locum Laryngology Consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust with a passion for laryngology and singing. She has a Masters in Clinical Education, for which she was awarded a distinction from King’s College London. Natalie qualified with two distinctions from Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ Medical School and was awarded the prestigious Jelf medal. She obtained an intercalated Honours BSc in Neuroscience having received the Health Foundation Student Research Fellowship.

Currently, she is in the PERFORM working group looking at respirable particles emitted during singing, woodwind and brass instruments, exercise, speech and language therapy exercises and inputting this data into computational fluid dynamic modelling. This project is funded by an EPSRC Grant, sponsored by Public Health England and results directly communicated to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Sadie Khwaja

Council Member

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Sadie is a Consultant Laryngologist based in Manchester, serving the Great Manchester area and tertiary referrals from outside the region. Saide has been practising Laryngology for over 8 years.
The Manchester voice team treat all benign and premalignant laryngeal pathology from diagnosis to treatment whether that be dedicated disease-specific therapy, LA office procedures, Botox clinics to tubeless microlaryngeal surgery. Running dedicated dysphagia clinics with a TNO dilatation/laser service and a biopsy service along with her head and neck colleagues and is a member of a complex adult airway MDT.

Sadie has been a BLA member from the start and has contributed to a number of BLA Covid-19 guidelines. Her motto is teamwork, a holistic approach following evidence-based treatment plans leading to a patient journey which enables trusted results.

Adam Donne

Council Member

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Adam Donne graduated from Manchester Medical School in 1993. He was a trainee in the North Western Deanery. He did a PhD in molecular biology of Respiratory Papillomatosis. He took a Paediatric ENT fellowship at Evelina Children's Hospital in London. He has been a Consultant Paediatric ENT surgeon for 15 years at Alder Hey.

He is: Clinical sub-dean at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, ENT curriculum lead and Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, University of Liverpool, Lead examination writer for the FRCS (otolaryngology part III) section I and examiner section II, Previously paediatric section co-editor of e-lef-ENT and paediatric section editor of Clinical Otolaryngology Journal, Chapter author and/or editor of 7 textbooks including being Chief editor of Scott Brown
next edition, Author of around 50 papers, Council member of BLA and BOARS. Clinical lead for the NIHR RfPB

Taranjit Singh Tatla

Council Member

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Mr Taran Tatla received First Class BSc Honours (Intercalated) in Anatomy (1994) and MBBS (1996) at University College London. In postgraduate years, he made rapid progress through highly competitive and comprehensive basic and higher surgical training programmes, incorporating posts at many of the renowned London teaching hospitals (FRCS (Eng) awarded in 2006). In 2008 he commenced his substantial NHS consultant post at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, specialising in ENT disorders with Head and Neck (H&N) sub-interest.

He manages a wide variety of adult and paediatric patients. Working in one of the busiest and largest ENT-H&N service providers in London, he contributes as a core member and chair to the Thyroid and H&N Cancer multi-disciplinary teams, providing secondary and tertiary care services. Super-specialist clinics focus on dysphagia and tracheostomy care.

He runs a number of innovative and celebrated national postgraduate training courses for both surgeons and multi-disciplinary staff on the back of his clinical practice. He is Training Programme Director for higher surgical training in ENT (North Thames) and a current council member of the BLA.

Mr Tatla is ENT Specialty Clinical Research Lead for the NIHR NW London Comprehensive Research Network and National ENT research group Industry Co-Champion. He spear-heads a number of pioneering, multi-disciplinary, collaborative research projects focused on targeted community ENT healthcare screening across the age spectrum; paediatric, through adult to elderly patient care. He leads an exciting, multi-centre, collaborative research project based in North West London, developing and piloting a novel point of care ‘optical biopsy’ tool to facilitate early and accurate disease diagnosis. This has formed the basis of his PhD award at Imperial College London (2018) working with the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery.

Nick Hamilton

Council Member

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Mr Nick Hamilton is a Consultant Laryngologist and ENT surgeon at the Royal National Ear Nose and Throat Hospital and an Associate Professor at University College London.

Nick completed ENT specialist training in London’s North Thames Deanery where he gained expertise in all areas of general ENT and Laryngology. He undertook a fellowship in Laryngeal Surgery at the MGH Voice Centre in Boston, USA. During this time, he gained focused training on the management of complex voice and airway disorders and the care of the professional voice user.

Nick holds a PhD in regenerative medicine from UCL and has an academic interest in the latest treatments for vocal cord ageing, scarring and paralysis. He is also interested in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic throat symptoms and chronic cough.

Martin Birchall

Council Member & Past President (2016 - 2019)

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Martin is one of the leading academic Otolaryngologists in the world, one of the leading academic surgeons in Europe and an international figure in the field of translational regenerative medicine. His work is dedicated to the successful translation of innovative technologies, especially in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine, with a focus on alleviating suffering and improving the quality of life for those with disorders of the head and neck, voice and swallowing. He aims to achieve these goals through forming partnerships with the very best scientists and surgeons in the appropriate fields. These multidisciplinary teams focus on clear therapeutic targets.

He has supervised 9 PhD and 5 MD students, raised over £4 million in peer-reviewed grant money, including from MRC, NIH and the Wellcome Trust (nearly £2 million held presently) and has published 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers plus numerous reviews and reports. He is Director of UCL Partners ENT Programme and was named Morgan Stanley Briton of the Year in 2008.

Representatives

Tiffany Munroe-Gray

Trainee Representative

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Tiffany Munroe-Gray is an Ear, Nose and Throat Registrar currently training in London. Having completed an MBBS with a BSc in Haematology, she has since completed a Masters in Surgical Innovation at Imperial College. With a passion for education she is an Associate Fellow for the Higher Education Authority and was key in designing the ENT teaching curriculum for Imperial College, for which she was shortlisted for “Best Teaching of Undergraduates” across all Imperial courses.

Tiffany has a strong passion for research, contributing to several national research projects with Integrate as well as presentations at BAETS, BACO and RSM. Having been offered a recording contract at medical school as well as directing musicals and jazz bands through adult life, the voice remains a passion both professionally and in her own day to day life.

Justin Roe

SLT Representative

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Justin is a clinical-academic and service lead, specialising in dysphagia in benign and malignant head and neck disorders. He completed his first degree, majoring in psychology, in 1993. He qualified as a speech and language therapist in 1999 from City University, London. He was awarded his MSc in dysphagia research with distinction from Newcastle University in 2015 and his PhD from the Institute of Cancer Research in 2013. In 2019, Justin commenced a post-doctoral research fellowship awarded by the Imperial Health Charity and Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Alongside his clinical commitments, Justin’s academic work is focused on head and neck oncology, lung cancer and airway stenosis. He is involved in a number of national and multinational cooperative studies. He has published a number of peer-reviewed papers on head and neck cancer, lung cancer, palliative care, airway stenosis and ethics and spoken at scientific meetings and conferences internationally.

Justin is a Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Specialist Advisor for head and neck cancer and palliative care. In 2019, he was elected as a member of the Council of the British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists. He was made a Fellow of the RCSLT in 2018.

Andrea Burgess

BAPO Representative

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Andrea Burgess is a Consultant ENT surgeon with a dual practice of paediatric airway at University Hospitals Southampton and general ENT at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust. She completed specialist registrar training in the Oxford Deanery where she undertook a TWJ fellowship at University Hospital Michigan and a Paediatric and Head and Neck fellowship in Brisbane, Queensland Australia.

She co-developed the paediatric airway service at the University Hospital Southampton and is a founder member of the first UK paediatric laryngeal nerve re-innervation programme at UHS. Her interests also include paediatric airway simulation which she delivers regionally, nationally, and internationally.

She is an associate medical director for clinical strategy with a focus on future health care planning. She is also paediatric sub-editor for ENT masterclass and co-wrote the Oxford University Handbook of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

Get in touch with us

If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback for the Council, we’d love to hear from you.