Stem cell researcher who sued Harvard, Brigham & Women’s is leaving his post

Piero Anversa
A stem cell researcher who sued his employers, Harvard and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, is headed to Switzerland.

Piero Anversa‘s departure follows the dismissal of his suit last summer. Anversa filed the suit with colleague Annarosa Leri, claiming that an investigation into their work damaged their reputations:

they lost a multimillion-dollar offer to purchase their company, Autologous/Progenital; and both Plaintiffs have had possible employment offers at several institutions postponed.

Anversa’s lawyer, Tracey Miner, confirmed that he was moving:

I can confirm.  His treatment by BWH has left him no choice. Our loss, Switzerland’s gain.

Anversa and Leri share a retraction, a correction, and an expression of concern.

We are not sure when he is leaving, nor if he’s accepted a new post in Switzerland. When we called his lab at BWH, someone told us he was in a meeting.

Last year, one of Anversa’s former research fellows wrote an anonymous post for us describing the fear and inflexible “Hypothesis” that governed his time in the lab:

The “Hypothesis” was that c-kit (cd117) positive cells in the heart (or bone marrow if you read their earlier studies) were cardiac progenitors that could: 1) repair a scarred heart post-myocardial infarction, and: 2) supply the cells necessary for cardiomyocyte turnover in the normal heart…In practice, all data that did not point to the “truth” of the hypothesis were considered wrong, and experiments which would definitively show if this hypothesis was incorrect were never performed (lineage tracing e.g.).

Further, controls that suggested that the data might be artifactual were ignored or not conducted.

We’ll update this post if Anversa or gets back to us with more information. We’ve also reached out to BWH. In the meantime, you can read the whole lengthy court document from the dismissed lawsuit here.

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