Hwang Woo-Suk Appeals Dismissal After Embryonic Stem Cell Research Fraud

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 21, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Hwang Woo-Suk Appeals Dismissal After Embryonic Stem Cell Research Fraud Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 21, 2006

Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk is appealing Seoul National University’s decision to dismiss him as a professor of veterinary medicine following an international scandal that saw his team fabricate results from its embryonic stem cell research.

Hwang has filed an appeal with the Education Ministry to overturn the dismissal, an official said.

"Hwang has asked the Appeals Commission for Teachers to deliberate his case," commission vice-manager Chung Jong-soo told AP.

Chung indicated the commission will take three months to review the appeal and could not speculate whether it would uphold or overrule the decision.

Lee Geon-haeng, Hwang’s lawyer, said the appeal was filed based on Hwang’s belief that it was unfair.

SNU officially fired Hwang in March because of his role in faking embryonic stem cell research. The decision was a formality because Hwang resigned from in December after allegations of fraud began to surface.

SNU’s disciplinary committee decided to cut Hwang’s severance pay in half and the government will not be able to hire him for five years for any teaching or research position.

The university will also cut the salaries of or suspend six other members of Hwang’s team for participating in the hoax.

"The professors fundamentally abandoned honesty and sincerity … and caused the fall in the school’s honor and the country’s international confidence," the university said in a statement.

Byun Chang-ku, dean of the school’s academic affairs, told AP it fired Hwang because he "took overall responsibility as the lead author and played a leading role in writing the papers with fake facts and data."

Hwang’s team published two papers in the medical journal Science claiming to have cloned human embryos and patient-specific embryonic stem cells.

The claims were hailed as a huge advance in embryonic stem cell research, but SNU officials and the South Korean government both confirmed the advancements never took place and the papers were revoked. As a result, embryonic stem cell research is still far away from ever helping human patients. if ever.

Government prosecutors are still conducting a probe into whether or not Hwang embezzled more than $6 million in public and private funds meant for the research.