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Brian Safer, NIH scientist

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Sunday, March 13, 2011; 6:12 PM

Brian Safer, 68, a National Institutes of Health biochemist, died Feb. 6 at Hillhaven assisted living facility in Adelphi. He had Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Safer worked at the NIH from 1973 until retiring in 2003. His research focused on protein synthesis, the process by which genetic information in DNA is converted into protein.

He served as chief of the molecular hematology branch of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

Brian Safer was born in New York City. He graduated from Columbia University in 1964 and received a medical degree from Baylor University in Waco, Tex., in 1969. He received a doctorate in biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973.

In 1973, Dr. Safer was awarded the Louis N. and Arnold M. Katz Basic Science Research Prize, an American Heart Association award given to young medical investigators. His research focused on mitochrondria in the heart.

His marriage to Nancy Dietz Safer ended in divorce.

Survivors include two children, Jillian Torgan of Providence, R.I., and Mattie Safer, also of New York City; his mother, Anna Safer of New York City; and two grandchildren.

- Timothy R. Smith


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