Prominent Salk Scientist Resigns After Harassment Allegations
Leading cancer and gene therapy scientist, Inder Verma, has resigned from the Salk Insitute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California, the institute said on Monday.
Verma was placed on a temporarily leave in April, after Science requested an interview with Salk officials regarding sexual harassment allegations against Verma. The Institute then asked for a list of detailed written questions, which it received from Science a day after the requested interview.
Dr. Verma denied allegations in a statement issued by his lawyer, according to Science. “I have never used my position at the Salk Institute to take advantage of others,” he wrote. “I have also never engaged in any sort of intimate relationship with anyone affiliated with the Salk Institute. I have never inappropriately touched, nor have I made any sexually charged comments, to anyone affiliated with the Salk Institute. I have never allowed any offensive or sexually charged conversations, jokes, material, etc. to occur at the Salk Institute.”
The Salk Institute began its investigation into allegations against Dr. Verma in February, according to a Salk spokesperson.
Verma resigned before the Salk board had concluded its investigation.
The last year has been challenging for the high-profile institute. Last summer, three female researchers claimed that they, along with other women have suffered gender discrimination at the Institute, calling the Institute an “old boys club”.
According to Science, the lawsuits are scheduled to come to trial in December.