Duke Graduate Student Dies in Weekend Car Accident

DURHAM, N.C. -– An electrical engineering graduate student at Duke University died early Monday from injuries sustained in a car accident late Sunday.

Zhaochun Xu, 31, was a member of the Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics and Communications, where he worked with professor David Brady. He was scheduled to receive his Ph.D. in May 2005.

“Zhaochun was a brilliant signal processor, working on mathematical data analysis for a new kind of optical biomedical sensor to enable in vivo blood tests,” said Brady, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. “Zhaochun wanted to be a university faculty member and I believe he would have been very successful at that. He was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant students I’ve ever had.”

Zhaochun Xu, a citizen of China, is survived by his wife Yuan Liu, who was in the car at the time of the crash. She also suffered injuries and is listed in fair condition at an area hospital.

“The Pratt community is saddened by the death of Zhaochun Xu,” said Kristina Johnson, dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke. “It is a particular tragedy when someone so young with so much potential passes away. We extend our deepest sympathies to his spouse Yuan Liu and their families."

A Durham Police Department spokeswoman said the accident happened at 10:05 p.m. Sunday on U.S. 15-501 between the Cornwallis Road and N.C. 751 exits. An investigation into the accident is continuing, the spokeswoman said.

Details for a memorial service are still being worked out.