Monday, September 27, 2010

Heartbroken Over Kay -- A Bicyclist Is Lost

So many times, a bicyclist is killed by a car and all you read is a four-paragraph blurb in the local paper.

Little is mentioned about that person except the place and time that he or she was struck by a car.

Today, a friend at the USF campus passed along these USF Health announcements about Kayoko Ishizuka, PhD, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver early Saturday night.

Kay was wearing a bike helmet, her bike had a light and she was in the bike lane.

Kay's friends have begun a Facebook page in her memory.

Here is the announcement today:

To: USF Health

Very sadly, one of our postdoctoral students, Kayoko Ishizuka, PhD, was killed on her bicycle returning from College of Medicine labs in molecular medicine early Saturday morning. She was in the bike lane on Bruce B. Downs heading south (near Panera). One of the great sadnesses is that Dr. Ishizuka was an avid cyclist, and talks on her profile page about building her own bicycles:

The chair of her department, Dr. Robert Deschenes, is talking with her family in Japan and will organize a memorial.

This weekend, Dr. Deschenes has been working with Dr. Stephen Klasko, College of Medicine Dean and Vice President for USF Health, who wants to convey his sorrow: "Our greatest asset at USF Health is our students and Kay was among the best and brightest. She dedicated her life to finding answers to difficult health problems on a molecular basis. My most sincere condolences go out to her family, fellow students, teachers and everyone who would have been helped by the great research this wonderful scientist was accomplishing."

Dr. Deschenes sent this note to members of his department:

It is with extreme sorrow and a heavy heart that I must inform you of the tragic passing of Kayoko Ishizuka, a postdoctoral fellow in my laboratory. Kay died early Saturday morning when she was struck by an SUV while biking home from the lab. Although emergency crews arrived quickly, she could not be resuscitated. An experienced bicyclist, Kay was traveling in the bicycle lane, wearing a helmet, and had flashing warning light on her bike. Unfortunately, the driver of the SUV fled the scene after striking her.

Kay was a tremendously talented student who I was proud to have mentored through her PhD training at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She was a native of Japan and came to the US to do her undergraduate training at Virginia Polytechnic University and her doctoral training at MCW. Kay subsequently moved to Tampa to do an interim post-doctoral fellowship with us while applying for her next position.

We are deeply heartbroken and saddened by this tragic loss. She will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family. After consultation with them, I will inform you of funeral or memorial arrangements.

Robert J. Deschenes, Ph.D.
Fred Wright Professor of Cancer Biology
Chair, Department of Molecular Medicine
Associate Dean of Research
College of Medicine
University of South Florida
Phone: (813) 974-6393

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