Harvard stem cell scientist takes sabbatical following fraud scandal


Charles Vacanti, a Harvard anesthesiologist and stem cell pioneer whose name appeared on both retracted STAP stem cell papers, is giving up his post as chair of anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and taking a year-long sabbatical.

According to the Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog, which as become a must-read for anyone interested in the STAP saga, Vacanti — the corresponding author, with Haruko Obokata, on one of the Nature articles, and a co-author on the other — told colleagues in an email:

I plan to take a one-year sabbatical to contemplate my future goals, redirect my efforts and spend time doing some of the things that I enjoy most.  When I return in September 2015, I hope to focus a significant portion of my academic efforts on Regenerative Medicine and mentoring the next generation of anesthesiologists.

The letter does not mention the STAP retractions, and there’s no direct evidence that Vacanti’s decision came in reaction to the scandal. We emailed Vacanti for comment and will update this post if we hear back from him. Vacanti might be best known for his creation of the “ear mouse,” a lab mouse that bore human ear tissue on its hairless back.

Read the full, original story: Harvard stem cell scientist Vacanti taking leave in wake of STAP retractions