University of Pittsburgh Researcher on Verge of Coronavirus Breakthrough Shot to Death

Image via University of Pittsburgh

By Keya Vakil

May 6, 2020

The 37-year-old research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine was “on the verge” of making “very significant” findings related to the coronavirus, his department said.

A Pennsylvania researcher killed in an apparent murder-suicide was close to “making very significant findings” related to the coronavirus, his department at the University of Pittsburgh revealed on Tuesday.

Dr. Bing Liu, a 37-year-old research assistant professor in the computational and system biology department at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was shot dead on Saturday in his home on Elm Court in Ross Township, Pennsylvania. Liu died of apparent gunshot wounds to his head, neck, and torso. The alleged shooter, Hao Gu, 46, of Pittsburgh, then got into his car parked at the complex and killed himself, according to authorities. The two men knew each other, authorities said, but a motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

Liu had recently begun working on a project involving the coronavirus, and a statement issued by the computational and system biology department at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said he was close to a breakthrough.

“Bing was on the verge of making very significant findings toward understanding the cellular mechanisms that underlie SARS-CoV-2 infection and the cellular basis of the following complications,” his department said in a statement. “We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence.

Liu was also described as an “outstanding” and “prolific” researcher who was an excellent mentor to younger members of his lab and students. 

Ross Township detectives are continuing to investigate the crime and said Tuesday there does not appear to be any connection between Liu’s death and his research. Nothing was stolen from his townhouse and there was no sign of forced entry, authorities said. Liu’s wife was not home at the time of the shooting, and it did not appear that anyone else was in the residence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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