Statement by Ram Sasisekharan

I am pleased by outcome of the extensive investigation and the final decision from MIT[1]. These past three and a half years have been exceedingly difficult for my lab, my family and me.  The very public attack we endured, together with our inability to defend ourselves publicly, was a most egregious abuse of the research misconduct process. Being attacked publicly, and silenced confidentially, had an extraordinarily negative impact on my laboratory staff and the students we mentor and train.

My lab has been focused on developing a ‘rapid response’ capability[2] for emerging infectious diseases threats and a viable therapeutic for COVID. The false allegations handicapped our ability to keep up the previous pace of our research. It was clear from the beginning, to those familiar with my group’s research, how false the accusations were[3], and how detrimental these accusations have been for scientific advancement and academic integrity.  I am fully committed to helping MIT and ORI as they work to improve their processes to ensure comprehensive yet nimble decisions for investigations of this nature.

For more than three and a half years, I have not been allowed, per MIT rules, to speak out about this. I will be happy to give interviews when I am in a position to help others who have been wrongly accused in academia. For now, I am focusing on helping those in my group that were significantly affected by this destructive experience, and the rebuilding of our research at MIT.

Finally, I am grateful to those who understood the advances we had made and supported us through this difficult time.  We are reassured to be able to fully focus on our research and get back to tackling unmet public and global health needs.

[1] Link to Maria Zuber Letter

[2] Rapid Response Initiative

[3] Sasisekharan Lab cleared of any Wrongdoing