Friday, October 12, 2007

Trounson Stem Cell Project Under Investigation in Australia

An Australian newspaper is reporting that Monash University is investigating "inconsistencies" in a $1 million research project involving Alan Trounson, the incoming president of the California stem cell agency.

Reporter Carly Crawford of the Daily Telegraph said the stem cell research project "is under investigation after it was scrapped for delivering highly doubtful results." Crawford quoted a university spokesman as saying the investigation involved "possible inconsistencies."

Trounson was quoted as saying through a spokesman,
"I will not comment on this matter while it is being investigated by the university."
The newspaper said Trounson was not being investigated by Monash University but that he had been interviewed.

The matter involves interim findings from lung regeneration research conducted at Monash with public funds, according to Crawford, apparently from the Australian Stem Cell Center, which Trounson co-founded and which is scheduled to receive $115 million in government funding over a 10 year period.

According to the newspaper, Trounson was the principal investigator on the project, which involved 13 scientists. Investigators were required to submit 90-day progress reports to keep the grant funding flowing. The story said that "inconsistencies" were found by the Australian Stem Cell Center in multiple progress reports that were signed by Trounson and an unnamed senior researcher.

(Editor's note: Later information (see item above) indicated that Trounson was the leader of the respiratory research program, which had three principal investigators (PI) and 16 scientists. The person being investigated was a PI (senior research fellow).

The story did not make it clear when the inquiry began. It said that the Stem Cell Center referred findings to Monash last December. The story also said the project was abandoned in February after inconsistencies were found.

The newspaper said it "understands lab records contradicted assertions contained in the reports that said agreed research benchmarks had been met." Sphere: Related Content

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