by Steven Ertelt
November 6, 2006
Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk, whose team faked all of its embryonic stem cell research in an international scandal, has filed a lawsuit against Seoul National University to get his old job back. SNU fired Hwang in March and he is currently on trial having been charged by the government with embezzling research funds.
Hwang’s attorney Lee Geon-haeng said the lawsuit claims SNU unfairly dismissed Hwang due to "distorted evidence."
"The plaintiff’s (Hwang’s) case was not subject to an impartial and legal procedure," the suit says, according to a Reuters report. It adds that SNU "chose to use extreme measures of dismissing a scientist while failing to evaluate the objective truth and his public accomplishments."
Hwang resigned his teaching position at SNU’s school of veterinary medicine in December after preliminary reports surfaced showing the fraudulent nature of the studies.
His team has supposedly advanced embryonic stem cell research by cloning a human embryo and creating patient-specific embryonic stem cells that could overcome immune system rejection issues — a major hurdle.
Neither claim turned out to be true and the medical journal Science revoked both papers the team submitted that contained the false studies.
Though he is on trial and could face years in prison if convicted on the embezzlement charges, Hwang has resumed his animal cloning work at a privately-funded research lab in Seoul. The government has revoked his license to conduct embryonic stem cell research.
Earlier this month, Seoul National University proposed new guidelines governing scientific research.
The SNU Committee on Research Integrity has published an exhaustive report on what constitutes fraudulent research and how SNU staff and faculty can expose it if it happens.
It outlines misconduct, according to a Korea Times, which includes fabricating research, faking data that doesn’t exist or hasn’t been proved and distorting research results.
It also discusses improprieties — such as falsifying research papers or adding the names of scientists to papers who did not participate in research. Hwang’s team did both.
Seoul National University professors Lee Byeong-chun, Kang Sung-keun, Moon Shin-yong and An Cu-rie also lost their jobs at the university, which is considered the best in the Asian nation.