by Steven Ertelt
July 5, 2006
New Haven, CT (LifeNews.com) — Yale University has come under federal investigation for apparently mismanaging federal stem cell research grants. The Ivy League university is accused of possible expense padding to obtain more funds that it deserved for the research.
The Defense Department, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services have requested 10 years worth of financial documents related to grants the educational institution has received.
Yale University president Richard Levin said faculty and staff members have been told to give "top priority" to the federal government’s requests for information for its probe.
"Regardless of the outcome of the current investigation, we must get all our processes right and make sure that we are good stewards of the funds entrusted to us by the federal government," Levin told the Wall St. Journal.
The Journal reported that both Yale and government officials would not say why the Pentagon is involved in the investigation. Yale received subpoenas for the grant documents last week.
Federal authorities have already interviewed numerous Yale employees involved with grant management, Levin said Friday in an email to faculty and staff.
"Yale will cooperate fully with these government investigations," Levin said in the e-mail. "I expect all members of the faculty and staff to give a top priority to any requests from the University counsel and others assisting them for information or documents."
According to the Yale Daily News, Vice President and Counsel Dorothy Robinson also emailed staff and faculty and indicated that "no segment of Yale is exempt from scrutiny" in the investigation and that employees may be contacted by federal officials for interviews about the grants and how grant money is spent.
She also warned Yale employees to keep any documents related to grants, saying that even accidental destruction of documents could result in criminal prosecution.
Yale University received about $350 million in federal funding in 2005.
Yale came under fire last month when news surfaced that scientists there are mixing human and animal cells in bizarre research that goes to the heart of bioethics and concerns over how far researchers are willing to go to conduct experiments.
Yale University scientists, funded by the United States government, are inserting millions of human brain cells into the heads of monkeys afflicted with Parkinson’s disease.
They say the experiments will help them better understand the disease and possible provide a cure.
Yale researcher Gene Redmond and his team are conducting the work on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts because the island, and its neighbor Nevis, have a large population of feral African monkeys.
Yale also lobbied state lawmakers to approve spending $20 million in state grants for stem cell research. The university and the University of Connecticut have applied for $12.5 million to build three research facilities where their scientists will study human embryonic stem cells.