Scientific symposium celebrates work of Queen's biochemist

2012 March 13

A scientific symposium held March 7 honoured the life and work of Michael Nesheim, a biochemist and mathematician who was a world leader in researching the science of blood clotting. Dr. Nesheim passed away last June after a brief battle with cancer.

"Dr. Nesheim was the magnet who attracted and brought people to Queen's, both those who wanted to train with him and senior people in the field who came to share their knowledge with the community," says Alan Giles, professor emeritus in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.

Dr. Giles recruited Dr. Nesheim to Queen's in 1984 and describes his friend and colleague as a kind, generous person who was very loved within the Queen's and Kingston communities. An American with Canadian residency, Dr. Nesheim earned his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Minnesota and worked for several years at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Dr. Nesheim's research addressed several questions, leading to major contributions in the exploration of blood coagulation, especially why, in some people, blood clots stay confined and don't spread to cause problems elsewhere in the body; and conversely, why some people clot very easily and what systems may trigger that response. He received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Career Award of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, and published more than 170 articles in prominent scientific journals.