Japanese stem cell scientist Yoshiki Sasai found dead in apparent suicide
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent and i. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; four times highly commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigations into the tobacco industry. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Tuesday 05 August 2014
A leading stem cell researcher in Japan has been found dead at his laboratory in an apparent suicide after months of pressure over a controversial study that had to be retracted because of scientific errors.
Yoshiki Sasai, 52, was discovered by a security guard on Tuesday morning at the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe where he was deputy director. Suicide notes were found at the scene and on his secretary’s desk, it was reported.
Dr Sasai was the supervisor of Haruko Obokata, the lead author of the stem cell papers published in the journal Nature earlier this year in which it was claimed that blood cells can be converted into embryonic-like cells by simply exposing them to a weak solution of acid.
In a subsequent investigation by Riken, Dr Obakata was accused of scientific misconduct and although Dr Sasai was cleared of any direct involvement, he was harshly criticised for failing to provide oversight during the drafting of the now discredited research papers.
Ryoji Novori, the president of Riken, said in a brief statement: “The world scientific community has lost an irreplaceable scientist.”
In 2011, Dr Sasai stunned the world with a study mimicking the early development of the eye with mouse stem cells that produced a three-dimensional optical cup, similar to a human retina, in the laboratory.
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
General Election 2015: Polish prince challenges Nigel Farage to a duel over immigration question
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...