See more of the story

Nine days after a swimming accident left him comatose, a prominent University of Minnesota food scientist has died.

Koushik Seetharaman, 48, of St. Paul, was pulled from a private pool during a Memorial Day weekend gathering, said Jamie Zwilling, a spokesman for St. Louis Park police.

On Friday, the Hennepin County medical examiner said Seetharaman died from a lack of oxygen due to resuscitated drowning.

Police were called to a house in the 2700 block of Ottawa Av. S. in St. Louis Park about somebody not breathing late that afternoon. “Apparently they noticed him in the pool at the bottom. He had been swimming,” Zwilling said.

When they arrived, they found friends trying to resuscitate Seetharaman, who was unresponsive. In the ambulance, paramedics were able to restore his pulse. At Hennepin County Medical Center, physicians placed him on life support.

His loved ones used CaringBridge posts to update friends and family from throughout the world about Seetharaman. His wife, Debra Freedman, and 8-year-old son, Samuel, kept a bedside vigil, along with many friends and relatives.

One CaringBridge update said physicians told his wife that Seetharaman likely had a cardiac arrest while swimming.

A grains researcher, a year ago Seetharaman was named the new General Mills Cereal Chair and an associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. Before that, he held an industry research chair in cereal technology and was a professor at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario.

He had a master’s degree from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in food science from Texas A & M University and did post-doctorate work at Iowa State University. He’s served on the faculty of Penn State and as a cereal industry consultant.

Memorial scholarships have been established in Ontario and with the American Association of Cereal Chemists.

A scholarship has been set up for his son, Samuel, at

Joy Powell • 612-673-7750