Purdue University fined for professor's false research claims

Contributed By: The 411 News

Must return $737,391 to federal agencies

Hammond - United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson and Purdue University announced a pre-suit settlement resolving allegations that an associate professor of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology in Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine falsified documentation provided to the National Institutes of Health and Department of the Army.

The university will pay the government $737,391 to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act, which includes restitution and punitive damages.

Between February 2014 and June 2020, Dr. Alice C. Chang (formerly named Chun-Ju Chang) of West Lafayette, Indiana, formerly an Associate Professor of Basic Medical Sciences at Purdue University, falsified and fabricated data in two published papers and in 17 grant applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health and Department of the Army.

When the university received evidence from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calling into question the authenticity of research that Dr. Chang had included in submissions to federal agencies, Purdue University cooperated and thoroughly investigated the alleged misconduct. Purdue, based on its findings, agreed with the federal government that the funding was not deserved and should be returned.

“Academic integrity is the cornerstone of scientific research, and we take our commitment to protect U.S.-funded research grants seriously,” said U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson. “Failure to be truthful on an application for U.S.-funded grants is a violation of the law and my office will continue to make it a priority to pursue cases to recover grant funds awarded through fraud.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity has also entered into a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement with Dr. Chang banning her from any contracting or subcontracting with any agency of the United States for ten years. As part of this agreement, she will also request that her published papers be corrected.

The settlement was reached as a result of an investigation by United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana with assistance from the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Dirk D. De Lor.

Story Posted:11/18/2023

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