Former Iowa State University researcher gets four-and-a-half years in prison for faking vaccine research funded by the NIH

An ex-Iowa State University scientist has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for faking Aids vaccine research funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dong Pyou Han, a Korean national, was sentenced to 57 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of making false statements to the NIH. The judge ordered that Han serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, and will also be required to pay back more than $7.2 million (£4.6 million).

Han falsified scientific data while conducting research on behalf of Iowa State to make it appear an experimental HIV/Aids vaccine, gp41, neutralised or controlled the virus in rabbits. Furthermore, Han apparently spiked sera samples from gp41-immunised rabbits with human sera containing HIV antibodies, and reported this false data to the NIH in a research grant application. The attorney’s office says Han admitted providing false data to the NIH.

In 2013, the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI) found that Han had falsified his work, and banned him from participating in government funded research. As a result of the case, ISU has repaid nearly $497,000 to the NIH. The university has also expanded training in misconduct and related topics for many researchers, as well as graduate and postdoc students.