An Iowa State University assistant professor resigned after being accused of spiking rabbit blood to falsely show that an AIDS vaccine was working in the research animals.
Dong-Pyou Han was an assistant professor of biomedical sciences. He resigned in October after admitting responsibility, an ISU spokesman said.
The fraudulent results helped an ISU research team gain millions of dollars in federal money, according to James Bradac, who helps oversee AIDS vaccine grants for the National Institutes of Health.
Bradac said in a phone interview Monday that Han apparently added human blood components to the rabbit blood to skew experiments' results. He said this was the worst case of research fraud he'd seen in his 24 years at the federal agency.
The human blood came from people whose bodies had produced antibodies to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, Bradac said. The presence of these antibodies in the rabbits' blood made it appear that the vaccine was spurring the animals to build defenses against HIV.
"This positive result was striking, and it caught everybody's attention," Bradac said. moreI can't imagine how somebody could even fathom giving hope for a vaccine to untold people, simply because they wanted more funding sent their way. And how on earth did the guy think he was going to get away with it?