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Hwang dismissed from University post

27 March 2006
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 351

Seoul National University (SNU) has announced it will dismiss the discredited South Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang, for his involvement in fabricating data during his work on human embryonic stem cells (ES cells). Six other professors and co-authors on two Science papers published by the group - now formally retracted - will not be fired, but are set to face criminal charges alongside Hwang. Four of the six have also been suspended for three months, while the other two professors received a one-month pay cut.

Hwang's dismissal means that he is banned from taking up any government-funded research or teaching post for up to five years, and will receive only half his retirement money. 'The professors fundamentally abandoned honesty and sincerity ... and caused the fall in the school's honour and the country's international confidence', the university said in a statement. Hwang was also stripped of his title of 'Supreme Scientist' last week, an award bestowed upon him by a government committee in June 2005. The Ministry of Science and Technology said that all seven members of the committee who were present at the meeting, out of a total of ten, agreed to strip Hwang of the title.

The SNU scientists claimed in 2004 that they had created the world's first ES cell line from a cloned human embryo. But an investigation lead by SNU concluded in January that no such cell line exists. The finding completed Hwang's downfall, after a previous announcement that 11 ES cell lines genetically matched to patients, published last year, were also fabricated. 'As the paper turned out to be a bogus, the panel cancelled the title', said Ministry official Lee Han-Kuk.

Meanwhile, the special investigative team of Seoul's Central Prosecutor's Office has said that the initial contamination of the team's ES cells was not deliberate, as first thought. According to a report in Science, it actually arose from 'accidents' by the researchers. However, the prosecutors are still investigating whether stem cells from Hwang's project were intentionally switched with those from MizMedi Hospital, which collaborated on the work. The investigations, which are also looking at how Hwang spent state and private funds, are expected to conclude early next month.

Discredited South Korean stem cell expert loses last honour
Yahoo Daily News |  22 March 2006
Seoul National University Dismisses Hwang
Science Now |  20 March 2006
South Korea cloning expert fired
BBC News Online |  20 March 2006
South Korea's disgraced cloning expert fired from university
Yahoo Daily News |  20 March 2006
3 May 2009 - by Heidi Colleran 
South Korea's Presidential Committee on Bioethics has granted the first human embryonic stem (ES) cell research licence since their preeminent research scientist fell spectacularly from grace amidst allegations of scientific fraud and embezzlement, over three years ago. Cha Medical Center in the South Korean capital, Seoul, has...
17 April 2007 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The journal Cloning and Stem Cells has announced on its website that it has pulled a scientific research paper from publication, pending the outcome of an investigation into the research data's accuracy. The research was submitted by a team of researchers at Seoul National University (SNU) led...
4 December 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl 
Science, the journal which published fraudulent stem cell research by disgraced Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang, has announced the results of a committee set up to review the editorial procedures that allowed the work to be published and to advise on how to avoid similar mistakes in...
20 August 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl 
Hwang Woo-Suk, the Korean scientist at the centre of the faked cloning scandal last year, has returned to the lab and resumed his research on animals. Hwang, who was sacked from his position at Seoul National University following the scandal, is thought to have secured private funding...
3 July 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
South Korean stem cell scientist Woo Suk Hwang, currently facing charges of fraud and embezzlement, is set to resume animal cloning research as early as next month. Hwang, who could spend up to 10 years in prison if convicted, is going to set up a new...
13 February 2006 - by BioNews 
Seoul National University (SNU) has suspended the discredited South Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang and six other professors in his team from their teaching and research posts. The scientists have yet to be formally punished by SNU, for faking data and breaching ethical standards in their work on human embryonic...
3 February 2006 - by BioNews 
South Korea's national bioethics committee has produced a report on the 'serious ethical problems' with the donated human eggs used in the recently discredited stem cell research carried out by Woo Suk Hwang and his team. Korea's National Bioethics Board (KNBB) says that the scientists, based at Seoul National University...
12 January 2006 - by BioNews 
The panel investigating the work of South Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang has reported that further research published by his team was faked. The scientists, based at Seoul National University (SNU), claimed in 2004 that they had created the world's first embryonic stem (ES) cell line from a cloned human...
9 January 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
For those aiming to develop new, stem-cell based therapies for conditions such as spinal cord injury and diabetes, 2005 will be remembered as the year in which hopes were first raised beyond everyone's expectations - only to be dashed, when apparently groundbreaking research was revealed to be an audacious hoax. The...
7 January 2006 - by BioNews 
An investigation into the work of South Korean stem cell scientist Woo Suk Hwang and his team has concluded that they did not create any cloned embryo stem (ES) cell-lines genetically-matched to patients, as reported in their much-feted Science paper of last year. The revelations have sent shockwaves through the...
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