Lachmann, Sir Peter Julius

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LACHMANN, SIR PETER JULIUS (1931– ), British immunologist. Lachmann was born in Berlin, immigrated to the U.K. in December 1938, and was educated at Christ's College, Finchley, in North London. He graduated in natural sciences (1952) and in medicine at Trinity College, Cambridge (1957), after clinical training at University College Hospital, University of London, and gained his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (1962) under the supervision of Robin Coombs and Henry Kunkel. He was a research fellow (1962–64) and assistant director of research in immunology at the University of Cambridge (1964–71), which included a formative period for his interests when he was a visiting investigator with Hans Mueller-Eberhard at the Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, California. He was appointed professor of immunology at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London (1971–75) and Sheila Joan Smith Professor of Immunology, University of Cambridge (1977–99), where he was also director of the Medical Research Council's Molecular Immunopathology Unit (1980–97). He was subsequently emeritus professor of immunology. Lach-mann made fundamental research contributions to our understanding of the complement system which plays a crucial role in defense against infection but also contributes adversely to many immunological diseases. His later research interests centered more broadly on anti-microbial immunity. His clinical research was especially directed at understanding the immune disease systemic lupus erythematosus ("lupus"). He played a prominent role in planning research strategy and in immunological and scientific education nationally and internationally; he had a particular interest in educating the general public about issues of popular concern such as stem cell research and genetically modified food. His achievements have been recognized by his many national and international honors and awards, which include election as a fellow of the Royal Society of London (1982), member of the unesco International Bioethics Committee (1993–98), gold medalist of the European Complement Network (1997), founder president of the uk Academy of Medical Sciences (1998–2002), and Knight Bachelor (2002). In 1989 he was Mayerhoff Visiting Professor at the Weizmann Institute, Reḥovot. Lachmann's wife, elder son, and daughter are physicians. His younger son is a tv producer with the bbc.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]