AIDS research team in Iowa loses $1.38M grant - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

AIDS research team in Iowa loses $1.38M grant

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File). FILE - In this July 1, 2014 file photo, former Iowa State University researcher Dong-Pyou Han leaves the federal courthouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File). FILE - In this July 1, 2014 file photo, former Iowa State University researcher Dong-Pyou Han leaves the federal courthouse in Des Moines, Iowa.
By DAVID PITT
Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An AIDS research team at Iowa State University will not get the final $1.38 million payment of a National Institutes of Health five-year grant after a team member admitted last year to faking research results, the NIH said Tuesday.

One of the members of the research team, Dong-Pyou Han, has pleaded not guilty in federal court to four counts of making false statements in research reports. He is free on bond awaiting trial scheduled for Sept. 2.

The research team, led by biomedical sciences professor Michael Cho, was awarded $6.8 million to be paid over five years by the NIH, but it won't see the last payment. The team previously received grants totaling $7.6 million.

The university has agreed to repay the government $496,000 for Han's salary and other costs tied to his employment at ISU during the research. Han may not apply for or receive grants from the U.S. government for three years, the NIH said, but Cho's team and other researchers at ISU can.

"NIH makes funding decisions based on scientific merit of the proposed research to eligible organizations/institutions. The researchers are eligible to apply for future NIH grant funding through their institutions just as other researchers may apply," the agency said in an emailed statement.

University spokesman John McCarroll said the team, which consists of 10 researchers, has sufficient funding to continue its work. McCarroll said experts at federal agencies have told him it can take two to five years to recover from the negative perceptions created by a misconduct incident.

He said Cho continues to be a respected researcher and people seem to understand he was not aware of faked lab work.

"This has received national and international attention and I know he has been somewhat embarrassed by that and he doesn't want to go through that again," McCarroll said. Cho did not immediately respond to messages for comment.

According to the indictment filed last month in U.S. District Court in Des Moines, Han's misconduct dates to when he worked at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland under Cho, who was leading a team testing an experimental HIV vaccine on rabbits.

Starting in 2008, Cho's team received initial NIH funding. Cho reported soon that his vaccine was causing rabbits to develop antibodies to HIV, which was considered a major breakthrough in HIV/AIDS vaccine research by NIH officials and the research community.

Iowa State recruited Cho in 2009, and his team - including Han - soon received a five-year grant to continue the research. The team reported progress until a group of researchers at Harvard University found in January 2013 the promising results had been achieved with rabbit blood spiked with human antibodies.

An ISU investigation pinpointed Han leading him to write in a Sept. 30, 2013, confession letter that he started the fraud in 2009 "because he wanted (results) to look better" and that he acted alone.

"I was foolish, coward, and not frank," he wrote.

Han, 57, a native of South Korea, has been allowed by the court to live in Ohio near his family and travel to Iowa for court appearances.

___

Follow David Pitt on Twitter at https://twitter.com/davepitt

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Teacher slaying suspect in court on assault charge

    Teacher slaying suspect in court on assault charge

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:41 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:41:36 GMT
    A Massachusetts teenager charged with killing his teacher last year after following her into a bathroom similarly followed a worker at a youth detention facility into a locker room last month before choking and...More >>
    A Massachusetts teenager charged with killing his teacher last year after following her into a bathroom similarly followed a worker at a youth detention facility into a locker room last month before choking and beating...More >>
  • Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life

    Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:36 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:36:05 GMT
    After two days of jury selection, lawyers are poised to give opening statements in the trial of a Detroit-area man who opened his front door and shot an unarmed woman, killing her.More >>
    A Detroit-area man who killed a young, unarmed woman on his porch heard "boom, boom, boom" at least four separate times before he opened the door and shot her in the face.More >>
  • Arrest linked to gun used after Boston bombings

    Arrest linked to gun used after Boston bombings

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:19 AM EDT2014-07-23 14:19:58 GMT
    A man believed to have provided the gun used by Boston Marathon bombing suspects to kill a university police officer has been arrested on drug and weapon charges.More >>
    It has been one of the lingering questions since the dramatic manhunt that gripped the Boston area in the days after the marathon bombings: Where did the suspects get the gun that authorities say they used to kill a...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.