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UK tenured professor accused of research misconduct resigns ahead of dismissal hearing


A full professor at the University of Kentucky has tendered his resignation, just days before the UK board is due to hold a hearing on whether to terminate his job.

An attorney for Xianglin Shi and a spokesperson for the university confirmed on Friday that Shi had resigned as of June 15. The board hearing was scheduled for June 16.

Shi, a professor in the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology at the College of Medicine who has studied metal toxicity and cancer, and his wife, Zhuo Zhang, a professor in the UK, had been accused by the university of misconduct important in research on published articles.

The UK started investigating in 2018 and several documents relating to them have been withdrawn.

An internal committee of UK researchers spent a year studying the matter and wrote a 1,000-page report “which found several examples of falsified or fabricated data that were among the many irregularities in seven grant proposals and in at least 13 scientific articles sampled from their work, ”according to the university.

The UK said in 2019 it was preparing to fire Shi and Zhang unless they resign.

Zhang resigned earlier in the process, British spokesman Jay Blanton said. A researcher who worked in Zhang’s lab, Donghern Kim, was also fired in connection with the alleged wrongdoing.

After an initial investigation found Shi guilty of research misconduct, two separate panels of professors heard the charges against him and agreed, recommending that the president pursue the revocation of Shi’s tenure, Blanton said.

Tenure generally protects the employment of university professors, and it is extremely rare for the university to decide to revoke tenure, although this is permitted in the event of incompetence, refusal or failure to perform its duties. duties and immoral conduct, according to UK Deputy General Counsel Shannan Stamper.

Blanton said officials believed the hearing scheduled for Tuesday would have been the first of its kind involving a full British faculty member. The last time a similar situation occurred was around 40 years ago, and it involved a faculty member from the community college system, while he was part of the UK.

Shi’s attorney, Bernard Pafunda, said in an interview earlier this week that “five outside experts who reviewed the documents said there had been no research misconduct.”

“Nowhere in the investigation did they say that Dr. Shi was directly or indirectly involved in misconduct personally,” Pafunda said.

Pafunda also said that Dr Robert DiPaola, dean of the UK College of Medicine who will serve as acting rector in the UK from July 1, co-authored with Shi a 2018 article that was in question for misconduct. research.

He said Shi’s name was on the paper, but he didn’t collate the data, and Papunda asked why DiPaola wasn’t disciplined.

Blanton said in a statement that “the investigation committee found that DiPaola was not responsible for directly overseeing the research in the document, and that the work was under Shi’s responsibility.

“Apart from the retraction of the document, no further action regarding DiPaola was recommended by the inquiry committee or any of the other committees or panels, composed of independent professors, which reviewed the findings of the case. “

Shi had been employed by the UK since 2006. His annual salary was 243,394, according to a UK payroll database from 2021.



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