Menu

Salk Institute Suspends Cancer Scientist Inder Verma

The prominent researcher has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation into unspecified allegations.

Apr 23, 2018
Ashley Yeager

FLICKR, ALFRED ESSAInder Verma, a cancer and gene therapy scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, has been placed on administrative leave, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Saturday (April 21). The institute has hired The Rose Group, a San Diego–based international employment law and consulting firm, to investigate allegations, not yet made public, that were reported to the institute in February.

Dan Lewis, chairman of Salk’s board of trustees, emailed the institute’s staff members late last week to inform them that a formal investigation is underway and that “effective immediately, Dr. Verma has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. He will not be performing scientific or administrative roles on behalf of the Institute during this period.”

Complaints against Verma led to his suspension as editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in December.

See “PNAS Editor-in-Chief Placed on Leave

In response to questions from Science about sexual harassment allegations, Verma responded through his lawyer in a statement: “I have never used my position at the Salk Institute to take advantage of others. I have also never engaged in any sort of intimate relationship with anyone affiliated with the Salk Institute.”

Likewise, Verma tells the San Diego Union-Tribune, “I believe that it is inappropriate for an individual in a position of authority to engage in any intimate relationship with a direct report or to use that position of authority to take advantage of others.”

As a leader at the Salk, Verma was directly criticized for making it difficult for women to succeed, according to a lawsuit filed against the institute by Vicki Lundblad in 2017. Two other Salk scientists, Katherine Jones and Beverly Emerson, also filed suits last year claiming that the institute “systemically discriminates against women in terms of salary, promotions and opportunities to compete for large private donations,” the Union-Tribune reports.

Salk’s first female president, Elizabeth Blackburn, announced she would leave the institute, the same week as Verma’s suspension from PNAS.

According to an email from Lewis to Science, the board of directors of the Salk Institute has asked that Fred “Rusty” Gage, who has served as interim president since Blackburn’s departure, continue in his role while the search for a new permanent president is placed on hold. Gage has agreed to stay in the leadership position.

September 2018

The Muscle Issue

The dynamic tissue reveals its secrets

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress, a Folsom, California based leading supplier of human biospecimens, announces the release of frozen Peripheral Blood Leukopaks. Leukopaks provide an enriched source of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with low granulocyte and red blood cells that can be used in a variety of downstream cell-based applications.

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

Vector Laboratories, a leader in the development and manufacture of labeling and detection reagents for biomedical research, introduces VECTASHIELD® Vibrance™ – antifade mounting media that delivers significant improvements to the immunofluorescence workflow.

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Download this white paper from Bertin Technologies to learn how to extract and analyze lipid samples from various models!

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced the launch of two new chromatography media for process protein purification: CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin.