Sam Machin Award

A tribute to the life of Professor Sam Machin

Presented by Dr Ian Mackie, at the Inaugural Sam Machin Lecture, BSHT Annual Scientific Meeting, January 2024

Professor Sam Machin

Sam Machin was Professor of Haematology at University College London (UCL) with a career long interest in haemostasis and thrombosis. He graduated in medicine from Sheffield University in 1971, and in 1973 began his Haematology training at Manchester Royal Infirmary, before taking a senior registrar post at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, London. Sam subsequently worked for 2 years with Jos Vermylen and others in Leuven, Belgium, researching on platelets, prostacyclin, and Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS). In 1980, Sam returned to The Middlesex in London, becoming the youngest ever UK Consultant Haematologist, and was subsequently awarded Professor of Haematology at The Middlesex and then UCL.

I first met Sam in 1977, at the Central Middlesex Hospital in West London where we both worked with Milica Brozovic on platelet function in myeloproliferative disorders and other diseases. In 1981 I joined Sam at The Middlesex, helping him to establish what was to become the Haemostasis Research Unit.

Sam had a wide research interest which included the study of platelet function, antiplatelet medications, antibiotics & prothrombin time, antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), thrombotic thrombocytopaenic purpura (TTP), oral contraceptives and air flight thrombosis, to name a few. He was a co-author of over 400 publications. He trained many scientists and junior doctors, most of whom became Consultants, Professors, and Heads of Department in hospitals, universities, and the National Blood Service.

Sam had a lead role in many national and international groups: He was President and Treasurer of the British Society of Haematology (BSH), an International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) Scientific and Standardization Committee (SSC) Vice Chair, and Treasurer of the 2003 ISTH Birmingham meeting, which generated considerable funds that later supported BSHT. He was President of BSHT from 2000-2001 and a long serving committee member. His wife Jean led the organisation of many successful BSHT annual meetings.

Professor Sam Machin

Sam was a driving force for laboratory modernisation and automation, both in general haematology and coagulation. He set up an evaluation unit that assessed new analysers, reagents, and methods, often assessing them before market launch. He led the revival of the International Council for Standardization in Haematology (ICSH) in 2007, continuing to develop it until 2020. This led to the development of 30 ICSH guidelines and other documents. He also served on several committees for the British Committee for Standards in Haematology (BCSH) and chaired the UK NEQAS Haematology Steering Committee for many years.

Sam enjoyed playing and watching sport, being particularly passionate about cricket, hockey, and rugby league. He could be kind and generous, encouraging staff to present at meetings, but was sometimes controversial, always speaking his mind and expressing his opinions strongly. He had a way of cutting through bureaucracy and “just getting things bloody done”.

Sam would have been delighted to have a BSHT lecture in his memory and very pleased that the first speaker will be Professor Mike Laffan from Imperial College London.

Dr Ian Mackie
Emeritus Reader,
Haematology Research Department,
University College London,
January 2024

The Sam Machin Award lecturers

BSHT ASM 2024 | 24-26 January | Belfast | The inaugural Sam Machin Award

Sam Machin award 2024 - L-R – Dr Ian Mackie, Prof Mike Laffan, Dr Catherine Bagot(President, BSHT)

L-R: Dr Ian Mackie (Emeritus Reader, UCL, London, UK), Presentation by Prof Mike Laffan (Consultant Haematologist, Imperial College London, UK), Dr Catherine Bagot (President, BSHT)