Yoshiki Sasai, 52, a senior scientist involved in a research scandal, was found in cardiac arrest at Kobe's RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology. Discovered with a noose around his neck, Sasai was pronounced dead two hours later at a hospital. Police found apparent suicide notes—some for Haruko Obokata, a co-author of research papers; others addressed to senior RIKEN members and fellows—but would not disclose specifics. RIKEN spokesman Satoru Kagaya said, "[Sasai] seemed exhausted. I could tell he was tired even on the phone." Sasai's team withdrew research papers from British science journal Nature after Haruko Obokata was accused of malpractice and falsifying data. It is rare for papers to be retracted from major scientific periodicals, and Sasai had told others he was "deeply ashamed."
The two published papers claimed the researchers had optimized a process that "transformed ordinary mouse cells into versatile stem cells by exposing them to a mildly acidic environment." RIKEN holds Obokata responsible for the data falsification. She is contesting the charges.
(Sourced from www.cbc.ca)
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