Dixon qualified with the degrees of MB ChB from Edinburgh
University in 1965. Following house officer appointments
in Edinburgh and close to his old home in Manchester,
he returned to Scotland to train in Pathology. He was
appointed lecturer at Edinburgh University in 1968 and
embarked on his academic career. It was at this time that
two patients in Edinburgh were reported with Paracetamol-induced
liver damage; this generated his interest in research
and a lifelong involvement in quantitation in Pathology.
In 1970, following an enforced move because of personal
circumstances, he joined the Department of Pathology in
Leeds as a lecturer. In 1972 he obtained membership of
the Royal College of Pathologists and set about creating
the speciality of Gastrointestinal Pathology in Leeds.
In 1975 he started the weekly Gastrointestinal Pathology
meetings which superbly educated not only the pathology
trainees but also a generation of Gastroenterologists
and Surgeons in the importance of his subject. Many a
research project was started on the basis of the multi-disciplinary
clinical discussions leading to the question why? In 1997
he was appointed Honorary Consultant to Leeds General
Infirmary. In 1980 he was awarded his MD from Edinburgh
University on observations on human and experimental Paracetamol
overdosage. This was the first use of image analysis in
the study of liver damage and demonstrated a direct relationship
between liver enzymes and the amount of liver damage.
a Senior Lecturer, Mike developed into an international
authority in Gastrointestinal Pathology and widened his
research experience. Among his many notable research achievements
were the introduction of Kappa statistics into pathology,
the description of the pathological and biological changes
in inflammatory bowel disease, the description of the
safety of anal preservation in low rectal cancer and the
importance of the circumferential margin in rectal cancer.
The latter has directly contributed to an improvement
in five year survival in rectal cancer by 20 per cent
in Scandinavia and Holland. His biggest contribution is
in the field of gastritis. With Professor Axon he described
the condition of biliary gastritis and extended these
observations to chemical induced gastritis. He has played
a major role in increasing our understanding of the importance
of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastric
diseases. Specifically, he first predicted the importance
of local acid production in determining the pattern of
gastritis in H. pylori infections and has shed light on
both the human disease and animal models of H. pylori
induced gastric lymphoma. Mike's extraordinary histopathological
skills, his diplomacy and presence led to him playing
a major role in the creation and development of the Sydney
classification of gastritis which was immediately accepted
outstanding scholarship has led to three successful books
and 238 publications, many of them in the cream of international
journals. He is the only British histopathologist to be
elected a member of the American Gastroenterologists Association
and as well as chairing the Histopathology group of the
British Society of Gastroenterology, he delivered the
Basil Morson Lecture, the highest honour that can be bestowed
on a British GI pathologist.
will be remembered by the National Health Service in Leeds
as the Father of Leeds Gastrointestinal Pathology. He
not only bore a very heavy service load for many years,
he ran the diagnostic service with great skill and trained
at least six nationally and internationally recognised
gastrointestinal pathologists. He set a very high standard
and by doing so inspired many of the training pathologists.
was an excellent lecturer, both to undergraduates and
postgraduates, and every talk held unusual surprises.
His lecture on 'how not to lecture' was a masterpiece.
His book on 'Aids to Pathology' was a standard undergraduate
text and he now contributes the Gastrointestinal Pathology
chapter to the standard British undergraduate textbook.
has been a privilege for members of the Department to
work with Mike over the last thirty-one years. He is universally
respected by all colleagues and we wish him a long and