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Lab worker killed by rare bacteria was UC Berkeley grad who wanted to combat disease with science

A lab researcher apparently killed by the bacteria he was studying at the San Francisco VA Medical Center had dedicated himself to combating fatal diseases after a relative's death, said those who knew him.

Richard Din, 25, died on Saturday less than a day after he fell ill from a fast-moving bloodstream infection caused by a rare strain of bacteria, the same one he was studying as a meningitis research associate at the VA hospital.

Health investigators suspect he contracted the deadly bacterial strain in the laboratory.

The UC Berkeley graduate was a polite and intelligent 25-year-old whose interest in fighting disease was sparked by a family tragedy, according to former classmates.

"It really troubles me thinking about it" said Alex Peng. "It's really sad to hear about him passing away after he wanted to follow that dream."

Peng knew Din when they were undergraduates who led a Taiwanese-American club on the Berkeley campus.

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