In a statement addressed to students and staff, Tessier-Lavigne stated that he will step down on August 31st. The decision to launch the review was made by the board of trustees in response to allegations of fraud and unethical conduct related to his research and papers.
While Tessier-Lavigne, a neuroscientist, maintains that he never submitted a scientific paper without confidence in the accuracy of the data presented, he admits that he should have been more diligent in seeking corrections and implementing tighter controls in his laboratories.
Acknowledging his awareness of issues in four out of the five papers, Tessier-Lavigne admits that he failed to take sufficient action to address them. As a result, he plans to retract three of the papers and correct the remaining two.
It is important to note that these papers were published prior to Tessier-Lavigne assuming the role of Stanford president. Misconduct allegations were initially raised on PubPeer, a platform for scientific discussion, and gained attention after The Stanford Daily published stories questioning the integrity of reports from his laboratories.
The newspaper’s aggressive reporting received recognition when investigations editor and then-freshman Theo Baker received a George Polk journalism award. Baker emphasized the importance of their efforts in contributing to the correction of the scientific record for these widely cited papers.
Title: Stanford University President Steps Down Amidst Paper Controversy
The recent resignation of Marc Tessier-Lavigne as the president of Stanford University has raised eyebrows within the academic community. While an internal panel cleared Tessier-Lavigne of serious allegations related to a 2009 research paper, a lack of rigor and numerous errors were identified during the investigation.
The paper in question, published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, proposed a groundbreaking model of neurodegeneration that could potentially revolutionize Alzheimer’s disease research and therapy. However, the panel highlighted various shortcomings and errors in the paper’s development and presentation. Despite this, there was no evidence that Tessier-Lavigne was aware of these issues.
H. Holden Thorp, editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals, emphasized the collective nature of scientific research and the responsibility of laboratory leaders. While researchers like Einstein and Marie Curie may be well-known, a laboratory’s success relies on the contributions of many individuals. The report acknowledged the role of lab culture in the controversy.
Tessier-Lavigne has decided to step down as president due to concerns about his ability to lead the university amidst ongoing debates. However, he will continue his work as a biology professor and focus on his research in brain development and neurodegeneration.
Richard Saller, a classics professor, has been appointed as interim president starting September 1st. Board chair Jerry Yang expressed gratitude towards Tessier-Lavigne for his contributions, including the establishment of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability and the implementation of a long-range growth plan.
After seven years as president, Tessier-Lavigne leaves behind a mixed legacy marked by significant accomplishments and the controversy surrounding the research paper.