Exclusive: NYU cancer center director suspended

Benjamin Neel

The director of one the nation’s premier cancer centers has been suspended amid concerns over several of his papers – but he tells Retraction Watch it is unrelated to comments about that work on PubPeer. 

An email Wednesday to employees at New York University’s medical center – and a subsequent message to staff at the institution’s Perlmutter Cancer Center – explained that Benjamin Neel, the former director of the center, had been suspended. 

The letter, signed by Steven Abramson, a rheumatologist and executive vice president at NYU Langone Health, did not state the reason for the move:  

Dear Perlmutter Cancer Center Staff,

I’m writing to inform you that, effective immediately, Benjamin Neel, MD, PhD, has been suspended from his role as director of the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center.

Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD, deputy director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center and Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Oncology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, will serve as interim director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center.

Thank you to Dr. Weber for stepping into this interim role.

Several of Neel’s papers have been the subject of scrutiny on PubPeer dating back more than eight years. Commenters have pointed out issues with figures in the articles, complaints to which Neel frequently responded. None of the articles has yet been retracted.  

Neel told us that the suspension has nothing to do with PubPeer but that he could not comment further.

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9 thoughts on “Exclusive: NYU cancer center director suspended”

  1. Ah, yes. I remember some of the dialogue on PubPeer for the few I posted. This is one of the more detailed responses (not a comment by Dr. Neel)

    “Sorry for the delayed response. I’m currently experiencing a severe case of shingles and unable to access my files, please allow me a few additional days to recover and I’ll respond as soon as I’m able.”

  2. Unlikely that he was fired over a colorful tweet. This was more likely a convenient way to sweep potential research misconduct under the rug.

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