Julius Schachter, Leading Expert on Chlamydia, Dies at 84


This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Most Americans became aware of chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease more common than syphilis, gonorrhea and herpes, in the mid-1980s.

But Julius Schachter, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, had already been studying the bacterium that causes chlamydia for two decades. In fact, the study of chlamydial diseases, along with their diagnosis and treatment, encompassed his entire career.

Dr. Schachter died on Dec. 20 at a hospital in San Francisco. He was 84. The cause was complications of Covid-19, his daughter, Dr. Sara Schachter, said.

He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Columbia University in 1957, his master’s degree in physiology from Hunter College in 1960 and his Ph.D. in bacteriology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1965.

His first job was as an assistant research microbiologist at U.C.S.F. He spent the next 55 years there.

He married Joyce Poynter, a physical therapist, in 1962. She died in 1990.

Dr. Schachter married Elisabeth Scheer, also a microbiologist, in 2018. They lived in Nussloch, Germany. In addition to her and his daughter, Dr. Schachter is survived by a brother, Norbert; two sons, Marc Schachter and Alexander Scheer; and three grandsons.

Dr. Schachter continued to work while hospitalized with Covid-19. Dr. Lietman recounted a conversation they had on the day his friend was being moved to the intensive care unit.

“I’ve got to get out of here,” Dr. Schachter said. “I’ve got to finish these four manuscripts.”



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