by Steven Ertelt
June 2, 2006
Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Two more South Korean professors have been suspended for their roles in the embryonic stem cell research scandal there. Seoul National University has suspended professors Kang Sung-Keun and Lee Byung-Chun after the nation’s government indicted them on charges of fraud and embezzlement in the misuse of research money.
Jung Min-Ho, an official at SNU’s public relations office made the announcement that the two veterinary professors have been placed on leave.
Jung indicated the professors will retain their titles but are prohibited from teaching or conducting research.
He also said more disciplinary actions could be taken against Kang and Lee, who were charged by the government with misappropriating almost $450,000 in state funds meant for scientific research.
“Lee and Kang will submit their report on the issue by next week. After that, President Chung Un-chan will decide whether to refer the two to the university disciplinary committee,” Jung said, according to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
The pair will almost likely lose their SNU teaching positions entirely.
The two collaborated with disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk, also a former SNU veterinary professor, in falsifying embryonic stem cell research.
Hwang’s team claimed to have cloned human embryos and created patient-specific embryonic stem cells that would overcome immune system rejection issues. Neither claim was true as SNU and government probes revealed and the scientific journal Nature revoked the papers regarding the faked research.
The international scandal has set embryonic stem cell research back years as it has still failed to find success in animal studies and overcome the rejection problems.
Hwang has also been charged with fraud and embezzlement and hearings on the charges are set for the middle of this month.