Molecular biologist John Fagan made nationwide headlines the week before Thanksgiving when he said thanks--but no thanks--to the National Institutes of Health, returning a grant of nearly $614,000. Fagan, a professor of molecular biology at Maharishi International University (MIU) in Fairfield, Iowa, returned the grant--for research on two genes that are blueprints for cytochromes P450, involved in carcinogen and toxin metabolism--to protest genetic engineering, a field he believes is progressing too rapidly and without consideration of its harmful implications. Fagan, who got his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1977 and was a research fellow at NIH before he joined MIU in 1991, brought a measure of respect to the institution, the site of 1994 Ig Nobel Prize-winning research concluding that meditators caused a decrease in violent crime in Washington, D.C. Losing the funding is "a big hit" for the school, acknowledges Fagan, who is redirecting his work toward cancer prevention...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!