An Indian American graduate student was found dead May 4 on the Busch campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New York.
The cause of death for Akash Taneja, a Ph.D. student in medicinal chemistry, has not been released. The Middlesex County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s office said in a May 4 press statement that the cause of death has yet to be determined, pending the results of an autopsy. “At this time the death does not appear suspicious,” noted the office.
Taneja was found outdoors on the Busch campus, early morning May 4. An investigation is active and ongoing; investigators have asked anyone with knowledge of Taneja or the death to contact Detective Michelle Bolognini of the Rutgers Police Department at (848) 932 -4842, or Detective David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4436.
Taneja is a graduate of BITS Pilani, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. He came to the U.S. in 2015 to obtain his master’s degree from Rutgers in medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry. He served as a teaching assistant and academic tutor on campus and was looking for a job in the field of drug discovery at the time of his death, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Taneja, a native of Mumbai, attended Maneckji Cooper elementary school.
A gofundme page has been set up to help with Taneja’s funeral costs. A funeral and cremation was held in Newark, New Jersey, May 6. Taneja’s parents flew to the U.S. to attend the services for their son.
Archana Taneja, 57, Akash’s mother, wrote on the gofundme page: “I grieve the loss of my son Akash Taneja, 24, who passed away from home on Friday morning at Rutgers campus.”
“Akash was hard-working and kind hearted. He tried to support the family while completing his education. He tried not to let us down having spent our last penny on completing his education.”
“He tried and that is all he did, until his last breath, to fight depression and irritable bowel syndrome,” wrote Archana Taneja.