AIDS Fighter Sarver Dies at 50
By James Hadley
The AIDS fight lost a dedicated soldier with the death of Dr. Nava Sarver on Aug. 3 at the age of 50. She battled myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease, and a host of other medical problems for much of her life. Since 1988, she had been involved in several research programs in NIAID's Division of AIDS. Most recently, she served as chief of the Targeted Interventions Branch in the Basic Sciences Program.
"It would be an understatement to say that Dr. Sarver was a tireless fighter in the war on AIDS," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director. "She was relentless in her pursuit of new therapies for HIV disease. Nava's depth of scientific expertise in targeted drug discovery led to the development of many important research initiatives. Her pioneering vision, scientific acumen and dedication will have a long-lasting effect on the field of HIV/AIDS research."
Dr. Nava Sarver
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sarver played a key role in guiding the National Cooperative Drug Discovery Groups for HIV. In 1993, she established the Strategic Program for Innovative Research on AIDS Therapies (SPIRAT), a program to fund research that moved promising compounds from preclinical studies into human clinical trials. SPIRAT was later expanded into what is now known as the Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program in HIV Therapeutics.
A memorial service was held in the Clinical Center chapel on Aug. 8. In eulogizing Sarver, Dr. Jonathan Kagan, acting DAIDS associate director, said, "For those of us who had the privilege to know and work with Dr. Sarver, there are no words to possibly describe the feelings of loss and the holes in our hearts. Every time it appeared that she was down for the count, Nava managed to bounce back. Some would say it was the miracle of modern medicine. Others attributed it to Nava herself, her sheer sense of will. Whatever it was, Nava Sarver kept herself in the game. Despite her illness, she continued to work, even from her hospital bed. That was Nava Sarver. We will miss her deeply."
Sarver joined DAIDS in 1988 as a senior scientist in the targeted drug discovery section, became section chief in 1990 and chief of the Targeted Interventions Branch in 1996.
Born in Ramat-Gan, Israel, she received her bachelor's degree in chemistry (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) from Brooklyn College in 1973. She earned her doctoral degree in microbiology from Rutgers University in 1978. She received an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellowship in 1978 and did postdoctoral work at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and then at NCI's Laboratory of Pathology.
From 1984 to 1988, she was a principal investigator and group leader in the Division of Molecular Biology at Rorer Biotechnology, Inc., in Springfield, Va., where she directed a comprehensive program investigating recombinant gene expression in mammalian cells. This work resulted in several patents.
She leaves a sister, Edna Ben-Horim, of Israel, and a host of colleagues and friends. She was buried in Gan Zikaron cemetery in Clarksburg, Md.
For information on how to make a contribution in her memory, contact the NIAID information office, 496-5717.
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