Past Presidents

Guri Sandhu

Council Member & Past President (2021-2023)

Read bio

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.

Mark Watson

Past President (2019 - 2021)

Read bio

Mr Mark Watson FRCS has worked in Doncaster and Bassetlaw since 1992 having completed his medical training in 1981 at Birmingham Medical School and later at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. In his hospital he has held posts including Lead Clinician for head and neck cancer, Clinical Director for Special Surgery and Chairman of the Clinical Records Committee.

On a regional level he has been network lead for ENT, OMFS and head and neck cancer, as well as serving as Trent regional representative for ENT-UK. At national level, Mark spent 10 years on the specialist advisory committee for the DAHNO head and neck audit, and served as an elected representative on the ENT-UK head and neck group. He was part of the Modernisation Agency ENT group and contributed to several national policy documents, and clinical guidelines.

As well as ENT conditions, he has a special interest in diagnosing and treating tumours of the head and neck, and in managing voice, airway and swallowing disorders, and reflux problems. He teaches other specialists in the management of these disorders both around the UK and across Europe. Alongside ENT colleagues and speech therapy specialists, he has helped to pioneer innovative and cutting-edge treatments throughout his career, leading to more widespread use of modern surgical techniques across the country.

Martin Birchall

Council Member & Past President (2016 - 2019)

Read bio

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.

Janet Wilson

Past President (2014 - 2016)

Read bio

Professor Janet Wilson is the Professor of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery at Newcastle University and Past President of the BLA, (2014 – 2016).

Prof Wilson has held the substantive Chair in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (one of very few in the UK) at Newcastle University since 1995. She was only the second female to be appointed to a UK chair in a surgical discipline. Prof Wilson chairs the Local Comprehensive Research Network ENT Specialty Group, she is the regional ENT Trainee Research Director and an intercollegiate examiner. Additionally she has established and continues to run UK Evidence Based Medicine review days in Otolaryngology and she contributes to National research Priority setting in the specialty.

Prof Wilson graduated BSc (Med Sci) in 1976, and MB ChB, Edinburgh l979, FRCSEd, Otolaryngology l983, FRCSEng, Otolaryngology l984, MD Edinburgh l989. Currently President of the Edinburgh Harveian Society, she has won a number of awards and honours for her work in Laryngology.

David Howard

First BLA President (2012-2014)

Read bio

David qualified at St George’s Hospital, London, in 1972, and following 6 years of initial training in general surgery and orthopaedics, he commenced ENT and head and neck surgery in 1978. He became Senior Lecturer in Laryngology at University College London in 1984 and Honorary Consultant at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital.

He has a career-long interest in laryngology with multiple honorary consultant appointments in London and the UK. His research and teaching have involved many national and international presentations and projects.

He was appointed Professor of Head & Neck Oncology at Imperial College and Imperial NHS Trust Hospitals in 2007.

David has retired from full-time NHS and University work but continues with busy commitments to High Altitude and Critical Care medical research with the Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment at University College, London, and teaching /surgery at Korle Bu Hospital,Accra, Ghana.