At Harvard, extraordinary court battle between Ph.D. student and prominent researcher grinds on | Science

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Earlier this year, ScienceInsider reported on a dispute between a graduate student and a prominent biomedical researcher at Harvard University that escalated into an unusual legal confrontation. The chain of events included the student’s allegation of misconduct against the researcher, a forced mental exam of the student, and an extraordinary court order preventing the scientist from working in his laboratory while the student is present. (You can learn all the details in our 18 January story.) Since that story, the conflict between Gustavo German, a Harvard doctoral student in biomedicine, and Lee Rubin, a prominent stem cell researcher, has continued to evolve. Alison McCook, the editor of Retraction Watch who wrote the original story, provides this update:

Amid continued legal jousting, the situation has remained difficult for all of the parties involved in this tumultuous episode.  Nearly a year after Elizabeth Fahey, a Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, ordered Harvard in August 2016 to allow German to work in Rubin’s lab to complete the final months of his degree, German still does not have his Ph.D.—and Harvard has moved to kick him out of the university.

German says he was able to make some progress toward his degree this past February and March, but that came to a halt over disagreements about who would serve as German’s dissertation adviser. This past April, that dispute led Harvard to place him on academic probation, and on 16 May it withdrew him from the university, saying he had violated the terms of the probation.  Afraid that the withdrawal would expose him to deportation, German—an Argentine citizen in the United States on a student visa—filed an emergency motion with the court after he was put on probation. On 31…

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