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Emeritus Sheila Joan Smith Professor of Immunology Peter Julius Lachmann ScD FRCP FRCPath FRS FMedSci

Emeritus Sheila Joan Smith Professor of Immunology Peter Julius Lachmann, ScD FRCP FRCPath FRS FMedSci

Emeritus Sheila Joan Smith professor of immunology

Peter Lachmann is available for consultancy.

Office Phone: 01223 766242



I trained in biochemistry and medicine at Cambridge and University College Hospital graduating MBBChir in 1956.  I was a postgraduate student in immunology with Robin Coombs in Cambridge and with Henry Kunkel at Rockefeller University and obtained his PhD in 1962 for a thesis on the pathogenesis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
I was an assistant director of research in the Department of Pathology in Cambridge (1964-1971) and foundation professor of immunology at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (1971-1975) From 1976- 1997 I have worked in the MRC Centre in Cambridge as  honorary Director of the MRC Molecular Immunopathology Unit and professor of immunology. I moved to the Department of Veterinary Medicine in 1997 where I was head of the Microbial Immunology Group till 2005 and now lead a small group trying to translate in-vitro findings on down-regulating complement to clinical use

I was President of the Royal College of Pathologists (1990-1993); Biological Secretary of the Royal Society (1993-1998); and Founder President of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (1998-2002); and served on UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee (1993-1998).  In these capacities I became involved in the ethical and policy controversies surrounding vaccination, stem cells, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and genetically modified food crops.


Subject groups/Research projects

Infection and Immunity:

Research Interests

Research in progress.

The polymorphisms in the complement system that predispose to Age related Macular Degeneration all act to enhance the activity of the C3b feedback cycle which lies at the heart of the complement system.  As part of a new company -Gyroscope Therapeutics - we are investigating procedures to downregulate this feedback pathway, particularly by increasing the concentration of one of its components, the enzyme Factor I which is uniquely responsible for breaking down C3b in vivo.

Members of laboratory

Dr Anna Buchberger

Mrs Liz Lay

Mr David Seilly


  • Evolution
  • Immunology
  • Innate Immunity
  • C3b
  • Antibody
  • Age related Macular Degeneration

Key Publications

Fernie-King, B. A., Seilly, D. J., Binks, M. J., Sriprakash, K. S., & Lachmann, P. J. (2007). Streptococcal DRS (distantly related to SIC) and SIC inhibit antimicrobial peptides, components of mucosal innate immunity: a comparison of their activities.. Microbes Infect, 9(3), 300-307. doi:10.1016/j.micinf.2006.12.006

Lachmann, P. J. (2009). God: To Be or Not to Be; That Is Not the Question (Book review of: God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by Victor J. Stenger. New York: Prometheus, 2007. 294 pp.). AM J PSYCHOL, 122(2), 272-278. Retrieved from

Lachmann, P. J. (2009). The amplification loop of the complement pathways.. Adv Immunol, 104, 115-149. doi:10.1016/S0065-2776(08)04004-2

Lachmann, P. J., & Smith, R. A. (2009). Taking complement to the clinic--has the time finally come?. Scand J Immunol, 69(6), 471-478. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3083.2009.02258.x

Lachmann, P. (2009). Anti-infective antibodies-Reviving an old paradigm. VACCINE, 27, G33-G37. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.09.137

Lachmann, P. (2010). Genetic and cultural evolution: From fossils to proteins, and from behaviour to ethics. European Review, 18(3), 297-309.

Lachmann, P. J. (2010). Preparing serum for functional complement assays.. J Immunol Methods, 352(1-2), 195-197. doi:10.1016/j.jim.2009.11.003

Lachmann, P. J. (2010). Religion-an evolutionary adaptation.. FASEB J, 24(5), 1301-1307. doi:10.1096/fj.10-0502ufm

Lachmann, P. J. (2011). The Grandmother Effect. Gerontology, 57, 375-377. doi:10.1159/000324242

Lachmann, P. (2011). Cancer Survival in Australia, Canada, Denmark,Norway,Sweden and the UK. Lancet, 377, 1149.

Lachmann, P. J. (2012). The use of antibodies in the prophylaxis and treatment of infections. Emerging Microbes and Infections, 1, 1-5. doi:10.1038/emi.2012.2

Lachmann, P. J. (2012). The penumbra of thalidomide, the litigation culture and the licensing of pharmaceuticals. Quarterly Journal of Medicine. doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcs148

Lachmann P. (2013) Ethics Evolve. European Review 21(SUPPL. 1):S109-S113