FRAMINGHAM – Dr. Muthiah Devakadadcham Daniel (Danny) passed away on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
He leaves behind his wife Gloria (Ria), their daughter Amirtham, their son-in-law Damon Constantinides, his sister Kamala and nephew A. J. Devanesan and wife Rashantha in Singapore, his brother M. S. Karunakaran in Malaysia, and extended family in the U.S., Canada, Sri Lanka, and Australia.
Danny was born in Jaffna, in the north of Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon), on July 4, 1927. He was an old boy of Jaffna College and did his veterinary degree in Calcutta, India.
In Sri Lanka, he worked at the Colombo Municipality as Chief of Rabies Control.
In 1961, he came to the University of Madison, Wisconsin, to earn his Ph.D in bacteriology and virology.
Then, in 1966, he moved to Framingham to join Harvard Medical School’s Primate Research Center in Southborough, where he worked in the Microbiology Department for 37 years until his retirement. He concentrated on cancer and AIDS research.
Toward the end of his career, he isolated a gene in primates which provided significant insight toward keeping the virus from replicating, earning him the moniker “Father of SIV” (the primate equivalent of HIV).
Harvard Medical School awards a scholarship in his name, given to a doctoral candidate who continues his line of research.
He was happily married to Ria for 62 years, and they celebrated their 50th anniversary among family in Australia.
There were frequent visitors at their home in Framingham, affectionately called “Chez Daniel.”
He was known to give tours of Boston in which he would identify all the schools of Harvard University according to the colors of their domes.
Danny was an avid tennis fan and lover of dogs. While in Colombo he had two Great Danes, Handsome and Beauty, and more recently he was grandfather to two chows, Bianca and Sabrina.
A memorial service will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 3 Maple Street in Framingham, on Saturday, July 28 at 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, a GoFundMe page has been set up under the name “MD Daniel Memorial Fund” from which donations will be made to his favorite charities.