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January 20, 2024


Dr. Barbara Petrack - A Trailblazing Biochemist

Dr. Barbara Petrack, internationally renowned biochemist, peacefully passed away due to Alzheimer’s in Lexington, MA on January 20 at the age of 96. Her contributions to the field of science and her unwavering dedication to work, as well as family and friends, will forever be remembered.

Dr. Petrack earned her MS from Brooklyn Polytech, followed by a PhD from New York University Medical School. She embarked on her research career as a research assistant under the guidance of Dr. Sarah Ratner, eventually becoming her graduate student, then pursued a post-doctoral fellowship with Nobel Laureate Dr. Fritz Lippman at the NY Rockefeller Institute. Among the 17 post-docs that year, she was the only woman.

Dr. Petrack was an adjunct professor at New York Medical College and worked as a biochemist for Ciba-Geigy and later for Novartis until her retirement in 1996, where she ran research labs, and mentored students. In recognition of her achievements, she was selected as a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences in 1999. Dr. Petrack played a vital role in the New York scientific community, founding the Biochemical Pharmacology Discussion Group at the NY Academy of Sciences and taking on leadership roles in organizing numerous international scientific symposia. Her research focused primarily on diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease. She published over 45 papers in scientific journals and presented her work around the world.

After her retirement from Novartis, Dr. Petrack continued to inspire and support future generations of scientists, dedicating her time to mentoring women graduate students at Drew University's Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (RISE). Her commitment to excellence in science and her consistent encouragement of her mentees made her a beloved figure in the scientific community.

Dr. Petrack's legacy extends beyond her professional achievements. She is survived by her sons, Emory and Scott, five grandchildren, Noah, Josh, Emma, Aliza, and Esther, and three great-grandchildren, Ziv, Mattar, and Shalev, as well as extended family and many devoted friends. Her first husband, Paul Petrack, predeceased her in 1975, and her second husband, Arthur Beringause, in 2018. Her impact as a trailblazing biochemist, mentor, and cherished family member will continue to be felt by all who had the privilege of knowing her.

Content is coming soon...
Casper Funeral Services
187 Dorchester Street
Boston, MA 02127