Earlier this evening, Columbia University announced the removal of Dr. Thomas Jessell, a prominent professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, as reported by the New York Times. Dr. Jessell is a renowned neuroscientist; his accolades include the Canada Gairdner International Award in 2012, the Kavli Prize for Neuroscience in 2008, and membership in the Royal Society of London since 1996. He received his doctorate in neuroscience from Cambridge University, then began his career in academia at Harvard before becoming a professor at Columbia in 1985. His research has focused on sensory-motor nerve circuits.
An official statement from the University stated that Columbia “has ended the administrative positions of Dr. Thomas Jessell and will be winding down the Jessell lab,” following “an investigation that revealed serious violations of University policies and values governing the behavior of faculty members in an academic environment.” Columbia will, however, help to continue the projects of the lab and the careers of its 25 other members, including graduate and postdoctoral students. The University statement also reinforced Columbia’s commitment to “protecting the welfare of all members of the institution and the integrity of the academic mission.”
Official reports do not state the reasons for Dr. Jessell’s dismissal. However, Bwog received an anonymous tip earlier today suggesting that these reasons may relate to sexual misconduct. When asked to confirm or deny this information, a representative of Columbia’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs replied, “We have nothing further to say.”
Full statement from Columbia University Office of Communications and Public Affairs:
Columbia has ended the administrative positions of Dr. Thomas Jessell and will be winding down the Jessell lab at CUMC. These decisions follow an investigation that revealed serious violations of University policies and values governing the behavior of faculty members in an academic environment. The University will fulfill its responsibility to close the lab in a manner that both preserves valuable research and helps those involved to continue to pursue their careers. Dr. Jessell has been out of the lab since the investigation began.
Columbia is dedicated to protecting the welfare of all members of the institution and the integrity of the academic mission. Our standards and policies, including those at issue here, reflect the character of our community, and violations are, accordingly, taken seriously, investigated thoroughly, and when confirmed, acted upon.