University Community

Colleagues mourn loss of graduate student Bernardo David Bastidas Mayorga

The College of Arts and Sciences mourns the loss of Bernardo David Bastidas Mayorga, a third-year doctoral student in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department who passed away on Saturday, March 26, following a brief illness.

"Bernardo was a great colleague and close friend with many other students in the department. In addition to these friendships, Bernardo’s scientific sensibility, dedication to quality research, and exemplary teaching made him an outstanding scientist who helped many others grow as scientists," said Professor Stephen Bergmeier, department chair.

Family and friends from Ecuador and Ohio joined via Zoom on Sunday, March 27, in a mass organized by Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE). Bastidas Mayorga was Ecuadorian and a graduate of PUCE, and he came to Ohio University to work with Professor Shiyong Wu.

"Bernardo was a self-motivated and dedicated student. His research project was to elucidate the role of constitutive nitric oxide synthase in solar ultraviolet light-induced skin cancer formation using a transgenic mice model. The project is time-consuming and needs careful planning. Bernardo made very impressive progress with the project and received a full research assistant scholarship when he was in his second year of graduate study. In the lab, everyone liked Bernardo as he was such a nice person and a good team player. We all will miss him deeply," Wu said.

Carolina Portero, a close friend and lab mate of Bastidas Mayorga, said, "Bernardo was a person full of dreams. He wanted to be a professor. He worked very hard to pursue it. You could see the passion for his mice project when he spoke about his work. As a person, he was very generous, polite, funny, and caring. For that reason, he had a lot of real friends. There are no words to express how much we will miss Bernardo."

Danushika Herath said on behalf of several of Bastidas Mayorga's friends and colleagues (Harsh, Carolina, Javier, Zoey, Zohreh), "Thank you for making us realize that every second, every moment we spend in our lives are so precious. And thanks for the good memories you left behind. You were such a gentleman. And thank you for making us realize that we are not just a bunch of friends who are doing research in different labs, but a family! May you rest in peace, dear brother!"

"Bernardo always carried a contagious smile. Wherever he went, he brought smiles on peoples' faces. His loyalty to his friends was admirable. It was such a delight to spend time in his company," added Harsh Dwivedi.

Honors Tutorial College student Austin Mahr worked closely with Bastidas Mayorga on the genetic mapping of mice in the lab. "Bernardo was one of the kindest, hardest-working, and most understanding people I have ever encountered. He undertook an inexperienced freshman in myself and taught me countless lessons about different procedures, lab etiquette, and how to think like a real scientist. Above all, he was an excellent friend. We shared laughs, struggles, and everything between in the months we shared. His presence at the Edison Biotechnology Institute and in Athens was one of joy and he will be deeply missed," Mahr said.

“Since the first moment I met him, one can immediately notice he was an easy-going person and very humble, which is why he was always surrounded by many friends. He was always very respectful, with a good heart and a good sense of humor. Within the lab and his academic duties, he was always a very hard worker, and he never gave up. He was always willing to give a hand to whoever who needed, with a big smile and making sure that everything would be done nicely. We will really miss his everyday company and will always remember what a good person he was,” said Veronica Bahamondes Lorca, a post-doctoral researcher in the lab. 

Students in need of support can call Counseling and Psychological Services anytime at 740-593-1616 or stop by the third floor of Hudson Hall during drop-in hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.) to speak with a counselor.

Bastidas Mayorga's friends shared some photos of special times with their friend.


Bernardo David Bastidas Mayorga is shown after finishing his chemistry seminar.
Bernardo David Bastidas Mayorga celebrates after successfully finishing his chemistry seminar presentation talk. He was an ex​​​​pert in mice experiments.
 A group of students from Ecuador are shown together in this photo.
Ecuadorian students in Athens gather at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester.
Lab students and friends gather at the Ridges in August.
Lab students and friends gather at the Ridges in August.
Bernardo David Bastidas Mayorga and friends at Thanksgiving.
Bernardo David Bastidas Mayorga and friends at Thanksgiving.
March 28, 2022
Staff reports