University of Edinburgh academic found dead in flat after Hogmanay

His colleagues have paid tribute to him as a ‘brilliant scientist with a great future’

Rodrigo Rodrigues, a postdoctoral research fellow in biomedicine at the University of Edinburgh, passed away in his flat after Hogmanay aged 32.

It is believed he passed away in his flat on East Mayfield in Newington sometime between 31st December and 2nd January and was found dead by police after a friend became worried for his wellbeing.

Rodrigues had only moved to Edinburgh in October 2021 and he was originally from Brazil. His friend Daniel has set up a GoFundMe to help his family, who are based abroad, pay for his funeral.

His colleagues at the Centre for Reproductive Health have described him as “a great friend and colleague”, adding: “He was fun to be with, had a great personality and always ready with an insightful question or comment.”

Rodrigues had come to Edinburgh last October to research cancer cells with a view to improve treatment for sufferers.

He had completed his PhD in 2019 at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge and “his family were very proud of him, and he was known to a great many fellow academics and friends throughout the United Kingdom and beyond.”

On the GoFundMe page, his friend Daniel said he had a “promising future ahead of him in the field of cancer research”.

Tributes on the page describe him as “a very caring and sociable person” and “a great friend” with great potential in his scientific research.

The page was set up because “Rodrigo’s family reside in Brazil and Portugal, and as it appears that Rodrigo did not have life insurance, his family need support regarding funeral, legal, and travel expenses. The family wish to have a cremation and service in Edinburgh, and a service of remembrance for the wider family within the Church of Seventh Day Adventists in his home country of Brazil.”

Concern was first expressed for Rodrigues’ wellbeing after he did not answer his phone when texted by a friend on Hogmanay and failed to attend pre-arranged plans that night.

On the GoFundMe, his friend Daniel wrote: “When I messaged Rodrigo on 31st to confirm our meeting time, his phone was off. My assumption – that I will certainly regret for the rest of my life – was that he just wanted some time alone.”

After failing to get in contact on the following two days, Daniel became increasingly alarmed but did not know Rodrigues’ exact address so could not check up on him himself.

“This meant by Sunday January 2, when I was starting to become really concerned – I phoned NHS Lothian admissions to confirm he wasn’t in hospital, social services and the police – the only option available was a missing person report, which seemed very heavy-handed for someone who maybe just wanted to be left alone.”

After Rodrigues’ brother Adriano contacted Daniel, Police attended Rodrigues’ flat where he sadly was found having passed away.

Daniel added: “My heart was broken on the doorstep of his building”.

Police have told the Daily Record his death is being treated as unexplained but is not believed to be suspicious.

Prof Jeffrey Pollard, Head of the Centre for Reproductive Health where Rodrigues worked at the University of Edinburgh, said: “He was our dear friend and colleague, and he will be sorely missed. All of us in the MRC-CRH send our most sincere condolences to his family during this very sad time.”

He also added: “Dr Rodrigo Rodrigues completed his PhD in Cambridge under the direction of Professor Arthur Kaser and published outstanding research in the best journals on metabolic control of immune cells.

“In October 2021 he came to Edinburgh full of enthusiasm to study a type of immune cells known as macrophages in cancer with a view of improving therapy. He was a brilliant scientist with a great future. He was fun to be with, had a great personality and always ready with an insightful question or comment. ”

If you have been affected by the issues discussed in this article, here are some useful resources and places you can ask for help. 

University of Edinburgh students can find a list of available services here.

University of Edinburgh staff can access available services here.

You can access help through The Samaritans here or phone them free (at any time of day or night) on 116 123.

Support for men aged 15 to 35 is available through the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) here or on 0800 58 58 58.

You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774 or Mind on 0300 123 3393,

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