NEWS | IN BRIEF
sciencemag.org SCIENCE 1050 6 MARCH 2015 • VOL 347 ISSUE 6226
HIV researcher admits fraud
In an unusual turn for a scientific misconduct case, a former HIV researcher at Iowa
State University (ISU) has pleaded guilty
to federal fraud charges. Dong-Pyou Han
resigned in 2013, shortly before the federal
Office of Research Integrity (ORI) found
he had faked data in a rabbit study of an
HIV vaccine for a National Institutes of
Health (NIH) grant proposal. ORI barred
Han from seeking grants for 3 years, but
Senator Chuck Grassley (R–IA) complained
that the punishment was too light for
a study that cost taxpayers millions of
dollars. ISU later returned $500,000 and
NIH withheld a $1.4 million award. Han
faces up to 10 years in prison on two felony
counts of making false statements; his
sentencing is set for 29 May.
After 42 years at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology in Cambridge,
including 16 years as an administrator,
physicist Marc Kastner knows the value of
basic research—and how to convince rich
people to support it at a premier research
institution. Last week
he announced he was
leaving to become the
first president of the
Alliance—a job that will
give him the chance
to make the case on a
Q: How will the alliance operate?
A: It will not raise any money for itself.
Instead, we’re trying to increase gifts to
universities or help create new foundations
that will fund basic research.
Q: Why is that so important today?
A: There’s been a tilt in federal funding
toward things that are more applied and
more translational. My task is to explain
to potential donors the enormous opportunities for doing exciting things in basic
science and the satisfaction they will get
out of that.
Q: Is it OK if the well-endowed
universities simply get richer?
A: Absolutely. If foundations choose to
be concerned about geography, that’s
their business. But my experience with
these foundations is that they really want
to fund the best people to do the best
research. And that’s fine with me.
Rise in U.S. lab animals
The number of animals used by the top U.S.-funded biomedical research institu- tions has risen 73% over 15 years, a “dramatic increase,” according to an analysis by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Although federal law requires that research labs report their use of cats, dogs, and nonhuman primates, smaller vertebrates—including rodents—are exempt. To get a sense of the trends,
PETA obtained data from inventories submitted to the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) every 4 years. The top 25 NIH-funded institutions housed a daily average of
74,600 animals from 1997 to 2003; that leaped to an average of 128,800 a day by 2008
to 2012, a 73% increase, PETA reports in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Most of the ani-
mals were mice. This parallels a rise in the use of transgenic mice internationally, PETA
says. NIH cautioned that using the inventory data to track animal numbers is “inappro-
priate” because the data don’t show usage, but are only a “snapshot” that NIH uses to
make sure institutions have adequate veterinary care. http://scim.ag/labanirise
Mice have become
the world’s most used
mammal in research.