Betty M. Twarog

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 11:15am

Betty M. Twarog of Edgecomb, died on February 6, 2013 at the age of 85. 

Betty was born in New York City and attended Hunter College High School before matriculating at Swarthmore College, where she majored in mathematics, graduating in 1948.

In 1951 she completed her Ph.D. in physiology at Harvard University. A neurophysiologist whose primary research focus was the chemical basis of nerve/muscle interaction in smooth muscle, she discovered in 1953 that a compound called serotonin is an important neurotransmitter in both vertebrates and invertebrates. 

During her scientific career, Betty held academic appointments at Harvard University, Tufts University, New York University School of Medicine, SUNY (Stony Brook) School of Medicine, Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1990 she moved to Maine and was affiliated in a research capacity with the Bigelow Laboratory in Boothbay Harbor and then with the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, where she attended weekly research seminars until shortly before her death. Betty was very widely read; her interests ranged from all fields of science to religion, history, and murder mysteries, and she enjoyed opera and classical music.

She was a passionate and lifelong conservationist who was an advocate for the Schmid Preserve in Edgecomb and who took particular interest and joy in observing the birds, water mammals and other wildlife that inhabited her property. She also enjoyed a large and eclectic group of friends and acquaintances who gave her support, companionship and insight during her years in Maine.

Betty is survived by her son Stanley and his wife Susan of Cambridge, Mass.; her grandchildren, Julia of New York City, Susanna of Boston, Mass., and Stanley of Atlanta, Ga.; and her brother, Norman and his wife Inez, of Peterborough, N.H.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta. Condolences, and messages for the family, may be expressed by visiting: