UPDATE: Suspended UW researcher served on key safety panel - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Suspended UW researcher served on key safety panel

By Bob Schaper - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (AP) -- A University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher sanctioned for unauthorized experiments was a member of the school's biosafety committee.

Minutes of Institutional Biosafety Committee meetings show Professor Gary Splitter played a key role reviewing safety protocols for research involving the 1918 flu strain, chronic wasting disease, other viruses. He served on the panel between 2003 and 2006.

Past coverage:

MADISON (WKOW) -- A biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison says one of his students conducted an illegal experiment - but now he's paying the price.

Gary Splitter, a tenured professor in the school of veterinary medicine, said his suspension from most lab work for the next five years, is due to a student not knowing the rules. And Splitter blames that on lax bio-safety oversight by the university.

"It's hard to know every little thing that's going on," Splitter said.

A university investigation found Splitter's lab conducted unapproved experiments involving brucella, a bacteria that can infect cattle and humans and is highly regulated by the federal government. The investigation said the unauthorized experiments made the bacteria resistant to treatment.

UW-Madison Provost Paul DeLuca said Splitter should have known what was happening in his own lab.

"It is Prof. Splitter's direct responsibility to make sure those students understand that, and moreover, to know exactly what experiments are done in the lab by anyone, student or otherwise," DeLuca said.

The university agreed to pay a $40,000 fine to the federal government.


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