A renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist who was fired after having what he said was a consensual fling with a much younger colleague, says the growing scandal forced him to come to terms with unemployment.
David Sabatini, 54, whose research involved unraveling tumor development, resigned from MIT last month and survived on his job after fellow scientist Kristin Knouse claimed he ‘groomed’ her and “forced” to have sex, according to a report and a court. papers.
A longtime friend and dean of NYU Grossman School of Medicine tried to offer him a job, but after an uproar the school announced on May 3 that it would not hire him despite co-workers l described in a recent article as one of the world’s greatest scientists — a “genius” in the running for the Nobel Prize.
“What wormhole did my life take, to…protest and be called a sexual predator? What oddity in the universe allowed this to happen? said Sabatini, who denied wrongdoing and noted that Knouse did not work in his lab or report to him.
In an October lawsuit against MIT, Sabatini said his relationship with Knouse, who is 21 years his junior, was consensual — and told a reporter he was shocked to find himself the subject of protests at NYU when the school explored the possibility of hiring him. .
Sabatini claimed that he and Knouse began their affair at a conference in 2018, when he was in the midst of a divorce. By 2020, he believed the matter had cooled, although he claims Knouse wanted to continue. In October 2020, she complained of being harassed, and in a later lawsuit alleged that Sabitini oversaw a “sexualized” environment in her lab.
Since leaving MIT, he’s been discouraged, he said. He stopped eating and sleeping, lost 35 pounds in three months, “cried a lot and his hair was falling out,” according to the article on Bari Weiss’ “Common Sense” SubStack column.
It’s not just Sabatini handling the fallout.
After the Grossman School of Medicine announced it wouldn’t hire him, the National Institutes of Health decided to vet $500 million in grants overseen by the dean who initially considered bringing him on board, reported Common Sense.
Dafna Bar-Sagi, associate dean for science and scientific director of the medical school, called Sabatini “one of the greatest scientists of our century” and has overseen an investigation into the allegations made against him “at risk to deprive society of the benefit of having someone like that pursue their career and make truly significant discoveries that can affect human health for generations,” she told the outlet.
The NIH said it has received anonymous complaints about Bar-Sagi and recently sent NYU a letter raising concerns about its ability to provide “a safe environment for trainees,” Common Sense reported.
“If there was anything wrong with this man’s behavior, we wouldn’t have hit him with a 10-foot pole,” Ken Langone, chairman of the board of trustees of NYU Langone Medical Center, said at Common Sense, calling the work at Sabatini vet “complete.”
Outside attorneys consulted by NYU, who reviewed a report on the allegations made by MIT, found that Sabatini had not been given due process, the university told Common Sense.
“If people are closed off to the idea that there can be a consensual relationship between two adults, I’m afraid we can’t do any traction,” said NYU Medical School Dean Robert Grossman.
The NIH did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Knouse did not respond to an email seeking comment.
New York Post