Tampa, FL – USF graduate student of the Molecular Medicine Department, Kayoko Ishizuka, was killed instantly when an unknown driver struck her as she was riding her bicycle home from the lab late on Saturday night.
The driver fled the scene of the fatal accident.
Robert Deschenes, Kayoko’s mentor of seven years, calls the tragic loss, “A waste,” and “A shame.” Deschenes spoke of his student as, “Very bright,” and “Driven.”
Deschenes went on to explain how the USF lab community is much like a family and that the student, better known as “Kay” by friends and colleagues, will be missed deeply.
Ishikuza’s graduate studies focused on cancer research and the effects that various drugs had on destroying cancer cells. This personal loss for family, friends, and colleagues, is also a loss of a great resource to the greater scientific community.
Investigators tracked down a red Ford Explorer which they believe to be involved in the hit-and-run. However, no arrests have been made in connection with the case.
Kayoko is survived by her father and two sisters, still in Japan. They are expected to travel into Tampa on Tuesday, where a memorial service at USF will most likely be held. Details for the service are not yet available.
Ishizuka’s memory will be forgotten, although the potential contributions to the fight against cancer will never be realized. Deschenes made it a point to note that the loss was “hitting everyone very, very hard,” and that Kay would always set the standard as his “model graduate student.”