Grad Student’s Death Shocks Colleagues
A brilliant, engaged student is remembered, and mourned
The accidental death of a popular School of Medicine graduate student has shocked and saddened colleagues in an exclusive MD/Ph.D. dual degree program in medicine and biomedical engineering.
Babur Khalique, a third-year medical student who had recently started his training in biomedical engineering, died early Saturday morning after falling from a third floor balcony of an off-campus Brighton apartment.
Khalique was visiting friends at 5 Walbridge Road when he fell to the street at about 1 a.m. He was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Investigators from the Boston Police Department have ruled the death accidental. The Boston Globe reported that witnesses told police investigators that Khalique had been drinking alcohol “through the day and evening before he died.”
Daniel Dworkis, a fourth-year medical student and a colleague in the MD/Ph.D. program, remembers Khalique as an extraordinarily well-read and complex person.
“Everyone in the dual degree program is smart,” says Dworkis, “but Babur was brilliant. He would quote Nietzsche off the cuff. He would grasp things intuitively that others would struggle with. He told me his goal this weekend was to learn three new programming languages and I had no doubt that he could do it.
“One of our last conversations was a long discussion of what it means to be human. He told me he would go the Museum of Fine Arts and be captured by the beauty of the old masterworks. He said he wanted to apply that beauty to his own life.”
Benjamin Wolozin, a MED professor of pharmacology, knew Khalique in several venues. He says he was first struck by Khalique’s positive attitude.
“He was always upbeat,” says Wolozin, “always cheery. And when he was in class he had this shining intellect. He was very interested in systems biology, and he had an ability to get his head around complicated sets of information.”
Wolozin says Khalique’s intellect and energy also served him well in his role as a student representative on MED’s medical education committee and on the MD/Ph.D. program executive committee.
Nancy Kopell, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of mathematics and statistics and an advisor of Khalique’s, says she was amazed at how quickly he learned the detailed biophysical modeling and dynamical systems analysis required for his work in network dynamics. “He was fun to work with,” says Kopell. “I always looked forward to our meetings.”
Khalique, whose hometown is Pittstown, N.J., earned an undergraduate degree at Drexel University. He was one of two student representatives on the preclerkship curriculum subcommittee of the MED medical education committee.
Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore says the Boston University community is deeply saddened by the tragedy.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Babur Khalique,” says Elmore. “His death is a great loss.”
Karen Antman, dean of MED and provost of the Medical Campus, says Khalique’s death is a tragic loss. Khalique was “a brilliant and engaged student,” she says, “and a cherished member of our community.”
Counseling is available on the Medical Campus, as well as on the Charles River Campus. Students on the Charles River Campus can seek counseling at the department of behavioral medicine at Student Health Services, 881 Commonwealth Ave., 617-353-3575.
Art Jahnke can be reached at email@example.com Comments