School of Medicine graduate student passes away

Zachary Scott Jones, a graduate student and trainee in the School of Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), passed away on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Eskind Biomedical Library sign

Truman McDaniel

Annette and Irwin Eskind Family Biomedical Library and Learning Center, as photographed on Sept. 1, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Truman McDaniel)

Thomas Hum and Sally Johnson

Zachary Scott Jones, a graduate student in the Molecular Pathology & Immunology program and trainee in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), passed away on the night of Wednesday, Sept. 15.

We lost an exceptional member of our MSTP family yesterday, and he will be missed dearly. Zachary was a remarkably compassionate individual who had so much to offer all those around him,” Christopher Williams, director of the MSTP, said in an email to The Hustler. “He was brilliant, committed, and passionate in pursuing a physician-scientist career. He was a positive influence on all around him. We mourn his loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Jones grew up in Middletown, Delaware, and earned a B.S. in biochemistry at the University of Delaware in 2018. He then enrolled at Vanderbilt later that year to pursue an M.D. with a Ph.D. in molecular pathology and immunology. Jones aspired to become a pediatric physician scientist in either pediatric hematology/oncology, endocrinology or rheumatology.

“Our family lost an amazing young physician scientist today. Zachary was a brilliant, dedicated, kind and compassionate individual who left us much too soon,” Dr. Jeff Balser, president and CEO of VUMC and dean of VUSM, told the VUMC Reporter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Zach and his family as well as all of his roommates, friends and colleagues. Our support for one another is always important, but never more than at a time of such tragic loss.”

According to his MSTP student profile, Jones’s other interests included swimming, tennis, playing the saxophone, reading and salsa dancing.

“Zach’s colleagues say he was kind, always willing to lend a hand, quick to smile, and passionate about his research career,” an email sent to students from Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students G. L. Black reads.

The email encourages students to utilize the university’s various support resources including the University Counseling Center (UCC), Student Care Coordination, the Center for Student Wellbeing and the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life.