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UW Professor Fired For Doctoring Research Documents

Carolyn Beeler

A King County judge Friday upheld the University of Washington's decision to fire a professor there. The research professor was fired this spring for falsifying his research findings in academic journals. Today was his last day at work. He's been under investigation for academic misconduct for seven years.


Andrew Aprikyan is an expert in blood disorders at UW's School of Medicine. Today a King County Superior Court judge denied him a temporary injunction that would have allowed him to keep working while he appeals the UW's decision to fire him.

Rick Gautschi is Aprikyan's lawyer.

Gautschi: "As you might imagine, we're disappointed, but the matter's not over. And Dr. Aprikyan has, despite what he's gone through for seven years, has persevered."

In 2003, a tipster told the University Aprikyan falsified research he published in an academic journal. Since then, two University panels have investigated the claims. The first found him guilty of doctoring photos and records in research reports. In 2007, the Dean of the School of Medicine recommended he be fired.

The second faculty group reviewed the case last fall and found no evidence of intentional misconduct.

University spokesman Norm Arkans says the process was so drawn out because the science behind Aprikyan's research is complicated.

Arkans: "We'd like the process to move faster, but we're more interested in getting down to the truth. Even if we have to dig down and sometimes it takes long, we'd rather be sure of our conclusion than any sort of rush to judgment."

In March, UW President Mark Emmert ordered Aprikyan to be fired. Aprikyan is appealing that decision, saying Emmert didn't follow correct procedure. The professor maintains his innocence.

His lawyer Rick Gautschi says Aprikyan admits making mistakes, as all scientists do.

Gautschi: "Any mistakes were not fabrications, were not falsifications, they were unintentional."

Aprikyan's appeal of the University's decision will be heard in November.

For KUOW News, I'm Carolyn Beeler.

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