publication date: Apr. 26, 2019

MD Anderson researchers ousted as NIH and FBI target diversion of intellectual property

By Paul Goldberg

Three faculty members at MD Anderson Cancer Center were sanctioned for failure to ensure confidentiality of review of NIH grants. The scientists also failed to disclose outside funding, academic appointments, and roles in laboratories outside the U.S.

As a result of this probe, two of these faculty members have resigned, and dismissal proceedings against the third are ongoing.

Altogether, NIH and MD Anderson have examined five cases, and investigation documents reviewed by The Cancer Letter allege brazen and egregious abuses of the NIH peer review system.

These include sharing confidential information obtained through participation in NIH study sections, sometimes bouncing confidential information to unauthorized individuals down the hall, and sometimes sending it to colleagues half-way around the world, with the instruction to “keep this confidential.”

Also, the MD Anderson researchers failed to disclose ties to laboratories, faculty appointments, and financial support from the People’s Republic of China, including the Thousand Talents program and its equivalents in that country’s provinces.

Exhibiting another form of misbehavior, one MD Anderson faculty member took part in evaluation of NIH grant applications by his intimate partners.

The impetus for the inquiry at MD Anderson came from NIH and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Late last year, NIH officials sent MD Anderson five letters containing allegations against the five researchers.

“After in-depth investigations that were performed by the University of Texas System and MD Anderson officials, violations of NIH and MD Anderson rules and policies and documentation of illegal activities led to the initiation of the termination process of three faculty members out of … Continue reading MD Anderson researchers ousted as NIH and FBI target diversion of intellectual property

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