UNC Researcher Remembered As ‘Outgoing,’ ‘Passionate’ About Science

By Wilson Borntrager Posted July 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Both UNC and the wider Chapel Hill community have been devastated by the murder Dr. Feng Liu of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Born in 1955, he was a father, husband, professor, researcher, and more.

Liu earned both his BS and MS in pharmaceutics science at the Shenyang Pharmaceutical University in China, and his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. In 2005, he became part of the UNC community after being brought from Pittsburgh with a research team.

Dean of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Bob Blouin, told WCHL what he remembers about how Dr. Liu originally became part of the UNC community and how he remembers first meeting him.

“We recruited them to help transform our school into a national leader in nanomedicine and drug delivery, and I believe that he, along with many others have actually done that,” says Blouin. “I grew to know him later as a wonderful, kind, gentle, but endearing personality; someone who quietly touched the lives of other faculty, staff, and students.”

Blouin also talked about what he will remember the most about Dr. Liu.

“He had a contagious smile,” says Blouin. “He was by nature a very outgoing personality, something that you don’t appreciate when you meet him. I think in many respects, [he] surprises people with his high level of engagement, and so it was that smile that I believe I will always remember.”

Liu was recognized throughout the U.S. and the world for his contributions to the field of molecular pharmaceuticals and his efforts to combat cancer.

When asked about what impact Liu had on his students, Blouin recalled an individual who spoke during the private memorial that was held by the School of Pharmacy on July 25.

“It was from a graduate student who simply described him as a role model,” says Blouin, “a person who had a passion for science but at the same time had the strong desire to work in an environment in which people mattered, and that he had a strong desire to not only get to know the people that he worked with, but to create a work environment in which they enjoyed coming to work everyday and working with one another.”

His colleagues knew that something was undoubtedly wrong when Dr. Liu did not return from his daily walk after lunch on Wednesday afternoon. He was later found unresponsive after being attacked at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Ransom Street and West University Drive, a mere two blocks away from UNC campus and the School of Pharmacy.

Dean Bob Blouin offered these as his final words about Dr. Feng Liu:

“Our university community is shocked by this tragedy, and he will be deeply missed by many.”

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