Former MIT Scientist Who Falsified Data Is Suspended From Receiving Federal Grants

January 22, 2009

Washington — The Department of Health and Human Services will bar a former university scientist from receiving federal research money for five years, after concluding that he falsified data in several government-backed projects.

The researcher, Luk Van Parijs, was fired in 2005 as an associate professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, after he admitted he had fabricated and falsified data in a paper, several manuscripts, and grant applications. The federal agency’s announcement is scheduled to be made public tomorrow, in the Federal Register.

Mr. Van Parijs conducted several immunology projects with grant money from the National Institutes of Health, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. He was suspended from MIT in 2004 for suspicion of scientific misconduct and fired a year later.

The department investigated Mr. Van Parijs’s research and ultimately found he had included false data in seven published papers, three submitted but unpublished papers, one submitted book chapter, and many presentations.

Under an agreement between the department and Mr. Van Parijs, he will voluntarily exclude himself from government contracts and from service on any Public Health Service advisory committee, board, or peer-review committee for five years. —Megan Eckstein