The president of Stanford University has resigned after the board of trustees concluded several academic reports he authored contained manipulated data.

Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who has spent seven years as president, authored 12 reports that contained falsified information, including lab panels that had been stitched together, panel backgrounds that were digitally altered and blot results taken from other research papers.

He was the principal author on five of the reports, and a co-author on seven. The board concluded that, on the reports he co-authored, he did not have a big role in publishing the facts and figures in question. For the reports in which he was the principal author, the board found that he did not know about the misrepresentations.

However, the board did conclude that Tessier-Lavigne could have overseen his lab better to identify others who may have been manipulating research. It also found that Tessier-Lavigne was not aggressive enough in correcting the incorrect data once it was published.

He said Wednesday that he accepts the board's findings and acknowledges that he could have done better.

"As I have emphatically stated, I have never submitted a scientific paper without firmly believing that the data were correct and accurately presented," he said. "Today's report supports that statement."

"I agree that in some instances I should have been more diligent when seeking corrections, and I regret that I was not," he added. "The Panel's review also identified instances of manipulation of research data by others in my lab. Although I was unaware of these issues, I want to be clear that I take responsibility for the work of my lab members."

The board said of the five papers in which Tessier-Lavigne was the principal author, he intends to retract three and issue corrections for the other two.

Although Tesser-Lavigne is stepping down as president, effective Aug. 31, he will remain a Stanford faculty member and continue his research on brain development and neurodegeneration.

Stanford aims to find a new president in time for the start of the coming school year in August.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

300x250 Ad

300x250 Ad

Support quality journalism, like the story above, with your gift right now.