Packham, Marian A.

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Marian Campbell Atchison Packham

13 December 1927 - 20 September 2020


University Professor Emeritus

Marian Aitchison Packham was born in 1927 and grew up in Weston, Ontario. At the University of Toronto she obtained her BA in Biochemistry in 1949, winning the Lieutenant-Governor’s Silver Medal at Victoria College. Upon graduation she married James L. Packham. Her PhD studies in Biochemistry were completed in 1954. While raising a son and daughter, she worked part-time as a Fellow/Lecturer for 11 years in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.

Marian Packham started her research on blood platelets at the Research Station of the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph in 1963, beginning many years of collaboration with Dr. J. Fraser Mustard. From 1965 to 1966 she worked with him at the Blood and Vascular Disease Research Unit at the University of Toronto where early studies of the inhibitory effect of aspirin on platelet function were carried out.

In 1966 she rejoined the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto and rose through the ranks, becoming a University Professor in 1989. She also held a part-time visiting Professorship in Pathology from 1966 to 2003 at McMaster University in Hamilton where one day each week she continued her interactions with Mustard’s group.
Her research focused on the biochemistry and physiology of blood platelets, their role in hemostasis and arterial thrombosis, agents causing or inhibiting platelet aggregation, platelet receptors, signal transduction, heterogeneity, and platelet survival.

Marian Packham had editorial appointments on six journals in her field, and scholarly responsibilities involving the Medical Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the United States National Institutes of Health, the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, the American Heart Association, and the Canadian Red Cross.

In addition to undergraduate and graduate teaching, she was a member of many departmental, faculty and university committees and was acting Chair of her department in 1983. She served on the University of Toronto Radiation Protection Authority from 1969 to 1997, chairing it from 1991 to 1993. She was also a member of the Human Subjects Review Committee from 1983 to 2002.

Her 300 publications include many substantial review articles in her field. In retirement she continued active research for six years and thereafter co-authored a number of research publications. Her other writings in retirement focused on the history of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto including a book 100 Years of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto 1908-2008. She also authored the biography J. Fraser Mustard – Connections and Careers.

In 1988 she shared the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine. She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1991, and was awarded a D.Sc. honoris causa by Ryerson Polytechnic University in 1997. The University of Toronto gave her an Arbor Award in 2008.