Scientist’s stem cell research suspended amid probe


Pioneer Founding member
By Kirstan Conley March 7, 2016

ALBANY — A research director at an upstate institute receiving millions in taxpayer dough has been suspended after critics questioned some of his work, The Post has learned.

Christopher Fasano, 35, published findings of trials at the Neuro Stem Cell Research Institute, which is backed by tens of millions of dollars from private investors and public grants.

Fasano’s results were published online in the journal Genes & Development in 2009, in a paper explaining the process by which stem cells renew themselves in the brain.

Last November, the work was posted in an online science database called PubPeer, and critics noticed that accompanying photos of supposedly unique DNA slides were remarkably alike.

A person on the site said photos of two sets of slides, appeared to be “flipped,” “compressed” and “brightness adjusted.”

“The bands to the left are also looking very similar,” the person noted.

Fasano was placed on administrative leave last month while a foundation that oversees the Neuro Stem Cell Institute investigates, sources said.

Calls to the research center, just outside of Albany, were not returned.

He declined to comment when a reporter visited his upstate home.

Someone who identified himself as Fasano on the site expressed gratitude that people had pointed out “these careless mistakes.”

“We are aware of the comments listed here and have been working hard to remedy the situation,” posted the person in December.

His lawyer, Kevin McCarthy, said all sides had promised confidentiality because federal laws on research misconduct allegations mandate secrecy.

“The release of information and allegations is potentially damaging to my client’s reputation,” he added.

Fasano has said his work led to discoveries that halted the development of Parkinson’s disease symptoms in rodents and monkeys.

Health Department spokes*man J.P. O’Hare said officials are awaiting the results of an internal probe.