John Landers graduated in Human Sciences from Hertford College, Oxford before completing a PhD at Churchill College, Cambridge with a thesis entitled 'Some Problems in the Historical Demography of London 1670–1830'. He has been an Oil Demand Analyst at Shell UK Ltd and held University Lectureships in Biological Anthropology at University College London, and in Historical Demography at Oxford University. He was Principal of Hertford College, Oxford (2005–11) where he is now an Honorary Fellow.
His academic interests focus on historical epidemiology with reference to the history of infectious disease mortality, the relationship between war and population change, and the demography of urbanisation. His publications include Death and the Metropolis: Studies in the demographic history of London 1670–1830, and The Field and the Forge: Population, production and power in the pre-industrial west.
Alongside his academic activity John has been interested in the ethical and welfare problems posed by scientific and medical research using animals. He has chaired the Home Office’s Animals in Science Committee, which advises Ministers on the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act.