Ousted Whitehead Institute researcher David Sabatini for NYU job

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Biologist David Sabitini / Courtesy of the Whitehead Institute

David Sabatini, who was ousted last year by the Whitehead Institute following allegations of sexual harassment, may have found a new home in New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine.

Sabatini, a renowned cell biology researcher, fought the charges against him. He deposit a countersuit against Whitehead last fall, alleging he is the victim of false allegations. As BioSpace previously reported, Sabatini claimed in his lawsuit that the sexual relationship he had with his accuser was consensual. Sabatini maintained an HHMI-supported laboratory at the institute.

According to the lawsuit, Sabatini said he ended the relationship with his accuser in 2019. However, the accuser, who was a colleague, did not want to end things and continued to seek a relationship with him, the court said. court case. Sabatini claims to have stressed “repeatedly that he did not want a long-term relationship” with the colleague. Once he ended the relationship, he claimed she was seeking revenge. Even after her allegations led to her dismissal from the Whitehead Institute, Sabatini alleges that the woman in question continued to make false statements regarding the alleged harassment.

Sabatini, who had also been a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, resigned from his position at the school earlier this year. He quit his job before he could be fired for violating the school’s policy on consensual sex. MIT management also expressed “significant concerns about his professional behavior towards certain members of the lab”, Science reported.

Despite the ongoing legal drama over the allegations, NYU is seeking to bring Sabatini on board. Citing NYU sources, Science said the hiring discussions had been going on for several weeks. Although concerns have been raised over the allegations of current NYU staff, Science reported that the dean of the medical school sent an email to faculty and staff last week condemning what he called “cancellation culture.” Sabatini’s potential hiring has the support of Robert Grossman, the dean of the medical school, as well as executive vice president and vice dean for science Dafna Bar-Sagi.

Sabatini is certainly not the only renowned scientist to be embroiled in allegations of harassment. Earlier this year, harassment concerns also rocked the White House’s top science office. Dr. Eric Lander, Director of the Federal Government’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), resigned of the position following allegations of intimidation.

Lander, who is also president and founding director of the Broad Institutewas accused of intimidating and speaking meanly to several staff members, including his then-General Counsel, Rachel Wallace, BioSpace previously reported. An internal White House investigation corroborated the allegations. The investigation found that Lander had spoken “harshly and disrespectfully to his colleagues in front of other colleagues”. Upon completion of the investigation, Lander resigned from his post.

In February, Biden tapped familiar faces to reprise the role of Lander. Alondra Nelson, OSTP’s Deputy Director for Science and Society, has assumed the role of Director on a temporary basis. Francis Collins, the recently retired leader of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)was also appointed serving as scientific advisor to the President and co-chairing the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology.

Other famous researchers have also fallen recently due to harassment allegations. Last year, Moncef Slaoui, former GlaxoSmithKline vaccine leader and chief scientist for Operation Warp Speed’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, lost his job as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Galvani Bioelectronics following the confirmation of allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct.

Also last year, SENS Research Foundation terminated Scientific director Aubrey de Gray following internal confirmation of accusations of inappropriate behavior made by two former employees.

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