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A medical researcher said to be on the “verge of making very significant” coronavirus findings was found shot to death over the weekend in Pennsylvania, officials said.
Bing Liu, 37, a researcher for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was found dead Saturday inside a home in Ross Township, north of Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner said.
He had been shot in the head and neck, the agency said.
An hour after Liu's body was discovered, a second person, Hao Gu, 46, was found dead inside a car less than a mile away, the agency said.
Ross Township Police Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp told the Associated Press that the men “appeared to be connected beyond their proximity to each other.” A motive for the killings remained unknown, and the relationship between the men was also unclear.
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Liu, who earned a PhD in computational science from the National University of Singapore, worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University before becoming a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
In a statement, the University of Pittsburgh described him as an excellent mentor and prolific researcher who had co-authored more than 30 papers. His work focused on systems biology.
“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 school said. “We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence.”