Dr Bing Liu, Research Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh
Dr Bing Liu, Research Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh
PIC: University of Pittsburgh website

A Chinese medical researcher on the "verge of making very significant" coronavirus findings has been found shot dead in the US state of Pennsylvania, media reports said on Wednesday.

University of Pittsburgh professor Bing Liu, 37, was found dead inside his home in Ross Township, north of Pittsburgh, on Saturday with gunshot wounds to the head, neck, torso and extremities, according to the Ross Police Department.

Investigators believe an unidentified second man, Hao Gu, 46 who was found dead in his car, shot and killed Liu in his home before returning to his car and taking his own life, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Police believe the men knew each other, but say there is "zero indication that there was targeting due to his (Liu) being Chinese," according to Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp, the CNN reported.

The university issued a statement saying it is "deeply saddened by the tragic death of Bing Liu, a prolific researcher and admired colleague at Pitt. The University extends our deepest sympathies to Liu's family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time." "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 colleagues at the university's Department of Computational and Systems Biology said in a statement.

"He was a very talented individual, extremely intelligent and hard-working," said Ivet Bahar, the head of the computational and system biology department in Pitt's School of Medicine.

Members of the university's School of Medicine describe their former colleague as an outstanding researcher and mentor, and have pledged to complete Liu's research "in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence." Liu, who earned a Ph.D 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.

The deadly coronavirus which originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan has infected over 3.67 million people and killed 258,051 people globally, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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