Gregory Joseph Canty, University lab employee, dies at 22
Gregory Joseph Canty, a 2012 University graduate and pathology lab employee in the Health System, passed away February 20 in Charlottesville at the age of 22.
While at the University, colleagues said Canty distinguished himself as an outstanding student and member of the community, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and dedicating three years to the resident advisor program.
Friends of Canty said his work ethic and passion for education inspired all who knew him. “Greg was, without a doubt, one of the smartest people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,” said third-year Engineering student Kelvin Green, Canty’s former friend and colleague.
After graduating, Canty joined the lab of Dr. Robin Felder, professor and associate director of clinical chemistry and toxicology, where he had worked as an undergraduate since 2008. “[Canty was] one of the most clever individuals [I’ve] spent time around,” Felder said. “[He could take] an idea and turn it into something tangible in a remarkably short period of time.”
As lead laboratory automation engineer and network administrator, Canty headed a small team developing what Felder described as “a robotic system that would culture human cells.” The robot, which is almost finished, will enable scientists to avoid contaminating the new cells, something that poses problems when culturing cells manually, Felder said.
Above all, those who knew Canty remember his character and kindness. “He never had a bad word to say about anyone,” Green said. “The only critical thing he ever had to say about anyone was about his frustration with the fact that people didn’t know they could learn the things he knew. It was a frustration with what he perceived … to be self-imposed limitations on knowledge.”
Canty is survived by his parents, Lynn Abidin Canty and Gregory A. Canty, who are both University alumni. He is also survived by two brothers and his grandparents who reside in Virginia. His grandfather, Richard R. Abidin, is professor emeritus in the Curry School of Education.