‘We still await an outcry from university scientists at the loss of the life of a young scientist,’ she added. ‘Where are the letters from the award-winning researchers and Nobel laureates condemning the university and the principal investigator (PI) for the deliberate disregard of safety?’
Naveen went on to reveal new details about the case, relaying Sheri’s remarks in the hospital that Harran had asked her to perform large-scale experiments without appropriate equipment, which was packed away in boxes. ‘Sheri stated quite clearly at the burn centre that Patrick Harran had explicitly instructed her to carry out three transfers of 50 cc of t-butyl lithium using a 60 cc syringe,’ Naveen said. As for her sister’s failure to wear a lab coat during the fatal experiment, Naveen said she was likely never issued such equipment.
In 2009, Naveen requested that the ACS Board make a public statement condemning Harran’s behaviour, which she claims includes destruction of evidence and refusal to make full disclosure. The organisation’s executive director and CEO at the time, Madeline Jacobs, declined to publicly comment on the matter. Naveen urged ACS’ current executive director and CEO, Thomas Connelly, to make such a statement, and go even further.
Specifically, she wants Connelly to write an open letter to the head of the NIH, Francis Collins, advocating for that a PI’s safety record be considered in the agency’s peer review process.
‘The ACS has tremendous power, and with that there is responsibility to protect the young scientist you hope to nurture,’ Naveen stated. ‘What the NIH adopts, other funding agencies will follow.’ She said that PIs are busy, and funding is chief among their priorities. ‘Tie funding and safety together, and change will happen overnight – future generations of scientists will be better protected than Sheri was,’ Naveen asserted.More on this soon.