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Former NICHD Lab Chief Dies in Accident

Dr. Alan Wolffe, former chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, NICHD, was involved in a fatal traffic accident while attending an international scientific meeting in Brazil.

He was a scientific leader at NICHD and NIH. He was famous for his landmark work in understanding the structure and functional properties of chromatin — the complex of DNA and a variety of proteins that help to pack the DNA into the cell's nucleus and regulate its biological activity.

Dr. Alan Wolffe

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Wolffe," said NICHD director Dr. Duane Alexander. "His leadership and vision attracted a group of outstanding young scientists to our institute and critical scientific investigation was conducted during his tenure in the laboratory. He will be deeply missed."

Wolffe began his NIH career in 1987 as principal investigator in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, NIDDK. He then became chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology in 1990. In 2000, he joined Sangamo BioSciences, Inc., as senior vice president and chief scientific officer. His company is setting up an educational trust fund for his children.

Donations in Wolffe's memory may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Rett Syndrome Research Foundation.

There will be a memorial service for Wolffe on Thursday, Aug. 23, at 10 a.m. in Lister Hill Auditorium, Bldg 38A. The service will honor his memory and recap his many contributions to NICHD. All are invited to a reception in the foyer outside the auditorium immediately following the service.

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