UMass Medical School professor published definitive text Platelets

WORCESTER, Mass. — The recently published textbook Platelets, edited by Alan D. Michelson, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), has been named the 2002 Best Book in Medical Science by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). The AAP’s Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division Awards for Excellence are given annually to acknowledge excellence in professional, scholarly and reference publishing in more than 30 disciplines. The authoritative work to date on the numerous, far-reaching roles of platelets in health and disease, Platelets comprises 61 chapters by more than 100 contributing authors who are the recognized experts in their fields.

Platelets are irregularly shaped, colorless bodies present in blood. Their sticky surface enables lifesaving clots to form, thereby stopping bleeding at wound sites. But when clots form inside blood vessels, those same platelets can trigger coronary thrombosis, the most common cause of death in the United States. “Platelets are cells of great importance in a number of physiological processes. Because they’re involved in so many diseases, the book is relevant to many disciplines,” explains Dr. Michelson.

Interested in platelets throughout his career as a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, Michelson is founder and director of the Center for Platelet Function Studies at UMMS. The center is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration for the study of platelet function via state-of-the-art methods, undertaking both basic and clinical research. In addition to authoring more than 240 publications, Michelson has been principal investigator of 50 grants and has been awarded patents for two inventions that help analyze platelets in whole blood. A native of Australia, where he received his medical training, Michelson came to the United States as a Fulbright scholar in 1982, and has been at UMMS since 1984.

“The book is the first that draws together multiple fields to integrate basic and clinical science, which is what has always interested me,” says Michelson. “I’m happy for the award because it is for all of medical science, thereby highlighting the underappreciated role of platelets as the central factor in the most common cause of death in the developed world.”

“As educators, we are very proud of Dr. Michelson’s recognition in the important medical publishing arena,” said UMMS Professor and Chair of Pediatrics Marianne Felice, MD. “He now adds editing and writing to his long list of accomplishments in academic, scientific and clinical roles.”

While the first edition of Platelets today stands as the definitive source of advanced knowledge on the subject, Michelson noted, “There is an enormous amount of work underway and still to be done.” He looks forward to editing future editions as knowledge in platelet biology, pathophysiology and clinical treatment expands. “I hope the book will promote a better understanding of platelets that will result in a reduction in death and disability from platelet-related diseases.”

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.  The Medical School attracts more than $143 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources.  Research funding enables UMMS scientists to explore human disease from the molecular level to large-scale clinical trials.  Basic and clinical research leads to new approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. Visit for additional information.

Contact: Sandra Gray, 508-856-2000