The president of Stanford University, one of the highly esteemed colleges in the US, will step down due to findings by the board that some of the scientific papers he co-authored contained manipulated research data.
Although the inquiry concluded that Marc Tessier-Lavigne did not personally falsify any research, it did identify “serious flaws” in papers he co-authored and uncovered “repeated instances of data manipulation” in labs under his supervision. In response to the investigation’s outcome, he announced his decision to step down for the University’s greater good.
Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, a renowned neuroscientist, has held the position of Stanford University’s president for seven years, following more than three decades of leading research laboratories. In January, the university’s Board of Trustees initiated a thorough investigation into allegations regarding research papers authored by Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, which were suspected of containing manipulated data.
The 95-page report resulting from the inquiry revealed that some scientists and researchers in his labs had engaged in “subpar scientific practices.” While the panel found that he took insufficient measures to address the mistakes, it absolved him of accusations of attempting to conceal the data scandal.
Dr. Tessier-Lavigne stated his intention to retract three papers and correct two others published between 1999 and 2009 before he assumed the role of the university’s president. In his statement, he expressed gratitude that the panel did not find any evidence of fraud or falsification on his part, taking responsibility for the work conducted by members of his lab.
Acknowledging the significance of Stanford University and its reputation, he emphasized that it requires a president whose leadership is not burdened by such controversies. The decision to step down came after reporting by The Stanford Daily, the university’s student newspaper, brought attention to the matter last year.
Despite his resignation from the presidential role, Dr. Tessier-Lavigne plans to continue his association with Stanford as a faculty member, focusing on enhancing controls in his laboratories to prevent similar issues.