Renowned geneticist, doting father, and life of the party, Amar J. S. Klar, Ph.D., died at age 69 on Sunday, March 5th, 2017 in Frederick, Maryland.
Dr. Klar was born April 1, 1947 in Punjab, India, to Sardar Kehar Singh and Sardarni Dalip Kaur. On the strength of his intellect and tireless efforts, he was awarded a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin where he began his graduate studies. Soon after, he moved with his advisor, Prof. Harlyn Halvorson, to Brandeis University where he continued his Ph.D. thesis research and began his lifelong fascination with yeast mating type. He was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1975 and then went on to carry out postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, with Prof. Seymour Fogel. While at Berkeley he co-discovered programmed gene rearrangements as well as the MAR1 (SIR2) gene.
He then began his career at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he worked with Nobel laureates James Watson and Barbara McClintock. Here he made seminal breakthroughs on the molecular mechanisms and control of programmed gene rearrangements before being recruited to the National Institutes of Health in Frederick in 1988.
His prolific scientific accomplishments included 140 publications in leading journals such as Science and Nature. Over the past 30 years his dedication to research and education across the globe has led him to forge his own illustrious career, being named “The Father of Epigenetics” by Dr. Watson.
Since moving to Frederick Dr. Klar has lived in the same home with his wife, Kuljit Kaur, where they raised their two daughters, Nitasha and Amy. He loved spending time with his family and playing tennis with his daughters, who both played for Urbana High School. He was immensely proud to see both of his daughters excel in their own careers to become a neuroradiologist and a surgeon. Last year he celebrated the weddings of both of his daughters and welcomed his new sons, Drs. Sukhjeet Batth and Jaspreet Sidhu, into the family.
He also enjoyed spending time with family and friends throughout the D.C. and Baltimore area. He had a special talent for befriending anyone he met within seconds and sharing his passions with them.
Family and friends would agree that Dr. Klar had a contagious enthusiasm about work and life. “To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die.” His spirit will live on forever.
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