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ICR saddened by death of Mike Ormerod

Headshot of Mike Ormerod

The ICR is saddened to learn of the death of Dr Mike Ormerod, who headed the ICR’s flow cytometry facility in Sutton in the 1980s.

Dr Ormerod was a world-leading figure in flow cytometry – a technique that measures the characteristics of cells – and made significant contributions to the understanding, implementation and education of flow cytometry in a career spanning more than 35 years. He authored several key books on flow cytometry and taught flow cytometry courses internationally, in countries including India, Uruguay and South Africa.

After leading the Sutton flow cytometry facility housed in The Royal Marsden, where he was the first to work out how to operate its first cytometer machine, Dr Ormerod became an independent flow cytometry consultant to organisations including the ICR in the 1990s. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Microscopical Society in 2015, in recognition of his national and international contributions to flow cytometry.

Outside of his scientific career, Dr Ormerod led the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council from 1995 to 1997 and was involved in many charity and fundraising events, particularly for YMCA East Surrey. He was an avid cyclist and marathon runner.  

Dr Ormerod died on 26 April at age 83.

Professor Mitch Dowsett, Emeritus Professor at the ICR and Honorary Clinical Scientist at The Royal Marsden, worked with Dr Ormerod on numerous research papers throughout his career, advancing knowledge and sharing best practice around the technology – such as the use of cytometry to characterise circulating breast cancer cells.

Professor Dowsett said: “Mike was an energetic, enthusiastic and dedicated scientist who was a great collaborator and pleasure to work with. His expertise was in all aspects of cytometry and his greatest skill was in flow cytometry. He was fundamentally important to some of our work on the analysis of repeated fine needle aspirates (FNAs) from breast cancers before and during their treatment.

“We were delighted to employ him as a consultant after he left the ICR and in that manner he steered our analytical work on the analysis of FNAs by laser scanning cytometry – a new method at that time – and also on the application of that technique to the analysis of circulating tumour cells. None of the 13 papers that we co-authored would have occurred without his eagerly provided expertise.”

Ian Titley, Facility Manager at the flow cytometry site in Sutton, said: “Mike was a leading light in flow cytometry in the UK and indeed internationally – it is with great sadness that we learn of his passing.”


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