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His Funding Not Renewed, a UIUC Researcher May Have Jumped Niagara Falls

Previously omitted hat-tip: @acidflask on Twitter.

The News-Gazette of Central Illinois is reporting that Jayandran Palaniappan, 34, a postdoc at the University of Illiniois Champaign/Urbana, probably cast himself over Niagara Falls after learning that he lost his funding. Police say he was believed to have jumped on 11 May. Apparently there were four witnesses. Police say he left a note but his body has not been found. Palaniappan earned his undergraduate degrees in India and a Ph.D. from UIUC. After completing his Ph.D., he worked in private industry for a while in the U.S., then went to work at the Beckman Institute in Urbana about a year ago. The article says he learned a couple of weeks before leaving for Buffalo that the funding for his position had ended. Mike Insana, head of the department of bioengineering at the UI and a
team leader of a group at Beckman, and Palaniappan’s postdoc adviser, says that Palaniappan “left very careful notes” indicating where things could be found in the lab.

“He was just so gentle all the time. When he first came to work, he
spent time training other students in lab. He was always helpful, a
member of the team,” Insana said.

3 comments on “His Funding Not Renewed, a UIUC Researcher May Have Jumped Niagara Falls”

  1. another postdoc says:

    I am sad for his family. However, as a postdoc, I also know I’ve contemplated my existence. The postdoc ritual is essentially the definition of hell. You are paid nothing, to do most of the work and to be treated lower than a student. It’s not about the tough surviving, it’s about people realizing that there needs to be a paradigm shift and it starts with the individual and how they treat each other in academia.

  2. anonymous postdoc3 says:

    It’s ironic that people like Jayandran are driven to such extremes, while UofI is happy to hand out 600k salary to a president. Postdocs at UIUC are paid only 40k-50k per year … a slight cut at the new president’s salary could have supported a number of postdocs.

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