Lives of the fellows

Alfred Michael Emmerson

b.17 October 1937 d.3 April 2008
OBE BSc Lond(1961) MB BS(1965) MRCS LRCP(1965) MRCPath(1972) FRCPath(1984) FRCP Glasg(1988) FRCP(1998)

Alfred Michael Emmerson (‘Mike’ or ‘Emmo’) was professor and head of microbiology at University Hospital, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham. Born in Selby, Yorkshire, he was the son of William and Elsie Emmerson. After attending Raynes Park County Grammar School, he joined the Royal Navy and became a qualified steam engineer. On deciding to take up medicine, he studied at University College London and University College Hospital (UCH). He qualified in 1965 and did house jobs at UCH until 1972 when he moved to the Whittington Hospital for 12 years. In 1984 he was appointed professor of microbiology at Queen’s University, Belfast, and stayed there for five years before moving to a similar post at Leicester University. He joined the staff of the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham in 1991.

Throughout his academic career he proved to be a dedicated teacher of microbiology and infection control and continued to teach after his official retirement. Keen to promote collaboration and bring people together, he travelled all over the world, and is remembered especially in South Africa where a centre for the surveillance of healthcare associated infections was named after him. He was a founder member, chairman and president of the Hospital Infection Society.

The author of many scientific papers on topics such as anaemia of prematurity and cell culture of erythroid precursors from neonates, he also co-edited, with P M Hawkey and S H Gillespie Principles and practice of clinical bacteriology (Chichester, Wiley, 1997).

In his youth he ran marathons, played rugby and did athletics. Later he enjoyed collecting vintage cars and gardening.

In 1966 he married Elizabeth Barbara, who was a researcher into asthma and allergy. They had a son and daughter. When he died from mesothelioma, he was survived by his second wife, Silke Schelenz, a consultant in microbiology and infection control at the Royal Brompton Hospital and an artist and printmaker.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2008 337 579]

(Volume XII, page web)

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