Purdue agrees to pay $737,391 to settle claims over former professor’s research

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Purdue University has agreed to pay $737,391 to resolve allegations that a former Purdue professor falsified and fabricated data related to federally-funded research.

The allegations pertain to Alice C. Chang, formerly known as Chun-Ju Chang, a former associate professor of cancer biology and pharmacology at Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

According to a Nov. 17 press release from the office of U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson of the Northern District of Indiana, between February 2014 and June 2020 Chang falsified and fabricated data in two published research papers and 17 grant applications that were submitted to the National Institutes of Health and the Department of the Army.

Purdue spokesman Tim Doty said the university received notice in mid-2018 that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was questioning the authenticity of some of the results that Chang had included in proposals submitted to federal funding agencies.

Doty said Purdue investigated the allegations, and Chang left the university as that investigation was nearing its end.

“Based on its investigation, Purdue agreed that the funding was not deserved and should be returned,” Doty said.

Chang has also entered into a voluntary exclusion agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity, the U.S. Attorney’s press release says. The agreement bars Chang from doing any contracting or subcontracting with any U.S. government agency for 10 years. Chang also agreed to request that her published papers be corrected.

“Academic integrity is the cornerstone of scientific research, and we take our commitment to protect U.S.-funded research grants seriously,” Johnson said in the press release. “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.”

IBJ attempted to reach Chang for comment but was unsuccessful.

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