Fingering fraud takes toll on students

July 31, 2006

Blowing the whistle on a professor's alleged scientific misconduct has taken a toll on the careers of six University of Wisconsin-Madison students.

A university investigation triggered by the students' allegations found that former associate professor Elizabeth Goodwin allegedly falsified data in three grant applications, the Madison State Journal reported.

Of the six students working on their Ph.D.s in Goodwin's genetics lab, only two are still pursuing doctorates at the university. The newspaper said one student moved to another campus, two are working in the private sector and one left science to become an attorney.

The students were "incredibly courageous," said Irwin Goldman, associate dean for research in the university's College of Agricultural and Life Science, who oversaw the Goodwin probe.

Goldman said it is extremely difficult to raise questions of scientific misconduct in any situation.

"To do it when your mentor is the target is exceptional," he told the newspaper.

Goodwin's attorney, Dean Strang, said Goodwin is now working in the private sector, where there are "fewer headaches" and she is "much happier."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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