In memoriam: Professor Nikolai Klimko, MD PhD, FECMM (22 March 1956 – 30 March 2023)
Professor Nikolai Klimko, MD PhD, FECMM (22 March 1956 – 30 March 2023)
With deepest sorrow we learned that on March 30, 2023, Professor Nikolai Nikolaevich Klimko passed at age 68. Professor Klimko was a Doctor of Medical Science and Head of the Department of Clinical Mycology, Allergology and Immunology at the North-Western State Medical University I.I. Mechnikov in St. Petersburg. A highly skilled professional, a wonderful doctor and teacher, and the most prominent and internationally renowned mycologist of the Russian Federation.
Nikolai Klimko graduated from the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg, where he accomplished all stages of clinical education to Associate Professor and to Deputy Head of the Department of Haematology and Clinical Immunology. In 1997 he defended his doctoral thesis, “The Role of Cytokine and Endocrine Systems in the Regulation of Metabolic Manifestations of Bacterial Complications of Acute Leukaemia”. In 1998, Prof. Klimko joined the staff of the North-Western State Medical University I.I. Mechnikov. For 25 years he served as Head of Department and clinical mycology became his scientific and clinical priority area.
Being widely educated and erudite, Prof. Klimko was an outstanding clinician, extremely efficient and energetic. Always correct, elegant, exacting towards his co-workers and assistants, he was attentive to his patients and colleagues, and characterized by a most generous friendly nature. He was distinguished by his sharp mind and adherence to principle. Thanks to his professionalism, encyclopaedic knowledge, purposefulness and integrity, Prof. Klimko enjoyed the deserved authority and respect of his colleagues.
A brilliant lecturer, scholar, teacher, he became a mentor for a whole generation of students, creating a scientific school on clinical mycology meeting international standards. As a doctor advising and rescuing patients with severe invasive mycoses, he was well-known throughout St. Petersburg and entire Russia and sought-after for treating complicated fungal infections. Prof. Klimko was eager to learn, for example when he attended a clinical infectious diseases course at the University Hospital of Cologne, Germany in the mid-2000’s, when he already was a master in the field. Interaction with him brought not only positivity, joy, and energy, but also helped everyone to enrich themselves with his invaluable experience as a clinical mycologist, which he generously shared with everyone.
Prof. Klimko was a prominent member of the European Committee on Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST), and a co-founder of the Scientific Working Group on Infections in Hematology of the European Hematology Association (EHA), who substantially contributed to understanding and managing COVID-19 in hematology patients (EPICOVIDEHA). He was a member in good standing of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID), the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID), and the Interregional Association on Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (MACMAH). He was actively involved with the Global Action For Fungal Infections (GAFFI). He was a sought-after expert at home and internationally.
The European Confederation of Medical Mycology (ECMM) is connected to Nikolay Klimko in multiple ways: He was the first in his country to be elected to the ECMM Academy, and he represented Russia for many years in the ECMM Council. Prof. Klimko actively contributed to all ECMM initiatives and study projects. This is witnessed by the many clinically important publications he authored. Prof. Klimko helped to improve diagnostic and treatment algorithms on a global scale. As next steps he would have loved to host the biennial TIMM Conference in St. Petersburg, and he and his center were short-listed as near future ECMM Excellence Centers.
We at ECMM have lost a true friend, like-minded person, and collaborator, a man who opened doors and a man of integrity.
Nikolai is survived by his wife Elena and their daughter Elizabeth.
Prof. Oliver A. Cornely, ECMM educational officer
Ass. Prof. Martin Hoenigl, Prof. Jean-Pierre Gangneux, Prof. Ester Segal