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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Former Iowa State Researcher Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements

DES MOINES, IA – On February 25, 2015, Dr. Dong Pyou Han appeared in United States District Court before the Honorable Celeste F. Bremer and pled guilty to two counts of making false statements to the National Institutes of Health, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt.

According to the Indictment, while conducting research on behalf of Iowa State University, Dr. Han falsified scientific data to make it appear an experimental HIV/AIDS vaccine, gp41, neutralized, or controlled, the HIV/AIDS virus in rabbits, when in fact the vaccine did not. The Indictment further alleges that Dr. Han spiked sera samples from gp41-immunized rabbits with human sera containing HIV antibodies. The spiking of the rabbit samples made it appear that gp41 produced neutralizing antibodies against the HIV/AIDS virus. The false data was reported to the National Institutes of Health in a research grant application and funded grant progress reports.

Dr. Han, in the Plea Agreement, admitted he provided false data reported in National Institutes of Health Grant Application, “Enhancing B cell immunity against HIV-1 using novel vaccine delivery platforms” and National Institutes of Health Progress Report, “Characterization of immunogenic and structural properties of HIV-1 envelope.” Dr. Han also admitted that data derived from his spiking rabbit sera samples with human antibodies was reported to the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Han is scheduled to be sentenced before the Honorable James E. Gritzner on May 29, 2015. Each count of making a false statement carries a maximum term of five years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release.

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Updated April 13, 2015