Body of UC San Diego neuroscientist found in rubble of burned building in Montreal

Firefighters enter a Montreal building after a March 16 fire to search for victims.
Searchers enter a Montreal building after a March 16 fire to look for victims.
(Ryan Remiorz / AP)

An Wu had been attending a conference and was staying at a short-term rental when the building caught fire.


The body of a UC San Diego neuroscientist who was missing after a fire tore through a historical building in Montreal earlier this month has been recovered from the rubble, Canadian media outlets reported.

An Wu was one of seven people reported to have been in the building at the time of the fire, according to Montreal officials. She had been staying at a short-term rental in the building while attending a conference, according to a GoFundMe web page created after the March 16 blaze.

This week, city officials identified Wu‘s remains and those of three other victims. It was unclear when Wu’s body was found.

The building was largely destroyed in the fire and was unsafe to walk through until crews could stabilize some of the remaining walls last weekend. That enabled search crews to get inside with rescue dogs that helped locate the two final victims, CTV News Montreal reported.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Wu worked at the Komiyama Lab at UC San Diego in La Jolla, according to the lab’s website. She was from Anhui in South China and studied biology at Wuhan University. She then attended the University of Miami, where she studied neuroscience. She had been at UCSD for six years.

UCSD professor Takaki Komiyama posted a statement on social media soon after the blaze, praising his friend and colleague, whom he called a “central member of our laboratory.”

“She is creative, fearless and forward-thinking, with a constant desire to learn,” he wrote. “The level of growth that she has demonstrated in the past six years with us, both as a scientist and as a human being, is remarkable.

“She is a tremendous scientist who makes extremely difficult projects look easy. She is a uniquely talented neuroscientist and a future leader of the field in the making.”

The GoFundMe campaign ( was launched to raise money to help Wu’s parents in traveling from China to Montreal and San Diego. As of March 30, it has raised more than $63,000. ◆