Professor dies after collapsing in Cleveland State University lab
Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Cleveland State University professor died Tuesday after he collapsed in a science lab.

Officials suspect Tarun Mal, 42, was electrocuted shortly before 11 a.m. in a second-floor lab of the science research building on Euclid Avenue. Two students who were in the lab with Mal told Cleveland police it looked as if he was plugging in something when he collapsed.

Paramedics tried to revive Mal on the way to St. Vincent Charity Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Dr. Elizabeth Balraj, Cuyahoga County coroner, said she will examine the body today.

"Right now we don't know what happened," said CSU spokesman Brian Johnston.
University police are investigating and have sealed off the lab, Johnston said.
Electricians checked the area Tuesday to make sure it's safe for investigators and that no electrical problem is affecting other labs, he said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also will investigate, because the incident happened while Mal was at work, Johnston said.

Mal, an associate professor in the biology department, joined the CSU faculty in 1999. He received his doctorate at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.

"He was a highly respected and very accomplished man," Johnston said.
On his Web site, Mal described himself as a broadly trained plant biologist and said his research interests range from plant population biology to community ecology.

He also had been working on plans to clean up the Cuyahoga River watershed.
His wife, Sanchita Mal-Sarkar, is a lecturer in the university's computer and information sciences department. The couple have a 3-year-old daughter, Tatini.

"Our concern, prayers and thoughts are with his family," Johnston said.

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