Philip G. Koga

Scientist who worked at Edgewood Arsenal

May 13, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Philip G. Koga, a molecular biologist and biodefense expert who worked at Edgewood Arsenal, died May 5 of pancreatic cancer at his Churchville home. He was 59.

Dr. Koga was born and raised in Fresno, Calif. After graduating in 1968 from McLane High School, he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

He later earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of California at Berkeley. He then spent four years in the microbiology department at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a National Institutes of Health fellow.

After working as a senior scientist, physical scientist and director in the private sector, Dr. Koga took a position with the Army's Chemical and Research Development Engineering Center at Edgewood Arsenal.

"Much of his work was top-secret," said his wife of 15 years, the former Lori Chenworth. "His specialties were diagnostics, biologics, enzymology, immunochemistry and biotechnology."

Dr. Koga also collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, where he evaluated biological and chemical warfare agents found in municipal landfills after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Dr. Koga was an avid rose gardener.

He was an active member of Oak Grove Baptist Church, 2106 E. Churchville Road, Bel Air, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Koga is survived by his 12-year-old triplet daughters, Samantha Koga, Courtney Koga and Pamela Koga; a stepson, David Sheere of Churchville; his mother, Sue Koga of Clovis, Calif.; and two brothers, David Koga of Laguna Hills, Calif., and Donnell Koga of Lemoore, Calif.

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