Columbia fires leading neuroscientist over ‘serious’ offences

University says Thomas Jessell violated university policies and values

March 9, 2018
Columbia University
Source: iStock
Columbia University

Columbia University has sacked a leading neuroscientist after an internal investigation uncovered violations of “university policies and values”.

In a statement, the New York institution said that it “has ended the administrative positions of...Thomas Jessell and will be winding down the Jessell lab”.

Professor Jessell was professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and neuroscience at Columbia University and is one of the world’s leading researchers into the basic biology of brain cells. He was a director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science and a director of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, both at Columbia.

Professor Jessell has also been fired from his position as an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, according to reports.

Columbia said that the decision to remove Professor Jessell from his posts follows “an investigation that revealed serious violations of university policies and values governing the behavior of faculty members in an academic environment”.

It added that Professor Jessell “has been out of the lab since the investigation began” and that it will “close the lab in a manner that both preserves valuable research and helps those involved to continue to pursue their careers”.

“Columbia is dedicated to protecting the welfare of all members of the institution and the integrity of the academic mission,” it continued. “Our standards and policies, including those at issue here, reflect the character of our community, and violations are, accordingly, taken seriously, investigated thoroughly, and when confirmed, acted upon.”

Dr Jessell won the Kavli Prize for Neuroscience in 2008 and has been a fellow of the Royal Society of London since 1996.

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