A coronavirus researcher killed in an apparent murder-suicide over the weekend was reportedly on the verge of “making very significant findings” before his death.
Police believe that Liu was shot multiple times inside his townhome before the shooter, who has not yet been identified, went outside and shot himself in his car.
Liu was a researcher with the department of computational and systems biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
This is Bing Liu, the University of Pittsburgh researcher who was studying COVID-19 before someone he knew shot and killed him in Ross Township over the weekend. Here’s what we know so far: https://t.co/lCnyojBWGt pic.twitter.com/Q0BSOdS7VW
— WPXI (@WPXI) May 5, 2020
“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,” the department wrote in a statement.
“We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence.”
The head of the department, Ivet Bahar, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Liu was “a very talented individual, extremely intelligent and hard-working.”
“He has been contributing to several scientific projects, publishing in high-profile journals. He was someone whom we all liked very much, a very gentle, very helpful, kind person, very generous,” Bahar said.
“We are all shocked to learn what happened to him. This was very unexpected.”
According to Bahar, the laboratory uses computer simulation models to mimic biological processes to understand and predict how they will behave on the molecular and cellular levels.
This would help researchers interfere with the processes and design therapies for them.
Bahar said that Liu had just started to obtain interesting results in this coronavirus research when he was killed.
Police have not disclosed a possible motive for the homicide but said nothing was stolen from Liu’s home nor was there evidence of forced entry.
They say that the two men knew each other but Ross Township detectives are continuing their investigation into the apparent murder-suicide, KDKA reported.
Liu is survived by his wife, who was not home at the time of the shooting, and his two parents who live in China, according to the Post-Gazette.
“His loss will be felt throughout the entire scientific community,” the department wrote in its statement. “Please keep his family, friends, and colleagues in your thoughts.”
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