NYU med school won't hire biologist accused of sexual harassment

A biologist accused of sexually harassing a former colleague is no longer being considered for a faculty position at New York City-based NYU Grossman School of Medicine, according to The New York Times.

David Sabatini, MD, PhD, was vying for a faculty position at the medical school, which is part of NYU Langone Health. However, he is no longer being considered after recent pushback among students and faculty members, the Times reported.

NYU Grossman School of Medicine, in a statement posted on its Twitter page May 3, said the decision came after much thought.

"After careful and thorough consideration that included the perspectives of many stakeholders, both Dr. David Sabatini and NYU Grossman School of Medicine have reached the conclusion that it will not be possible for him to become a member of our faculty," the statement said.

The statement also said the medical school's mission of advancing science and medicine is why they initially considered hiring him.

"That is what compelled us to give careful reflection to hiring Dr. Sabatini after he initially reached out to us," the statement continued. "In the course of our due diligence, we heard voices of support from many dozens of Dr. Sabatini's colleagues, lab alumni and peers who described their first-hand experiences working with him. But we also heard clearly the deep concern from our own faculty, staff and trainees. Our thorough review and deliberate approach was essential for us to make an independent evaluation consistent with our own institutional priorities.

"We appreciate and respect the input we received from so many people in this process."

Dr. Sabatini is a biologist and former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

The scientist, best known for discovery and study of the mTOR protein, was placed on administrative leave in August 2021 after an investigation related to alleged sexual harassment during his time running a lab at the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research, which is affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the Times.

A former colleague at the Whitehead Institute accused him of coercing her to have sex and grooming her.

Dr. Sabatini has since resigned from the Whitehead Institute and was fired by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a Chevy Chase, Md.-based nonprofit research organization that provided funding for his research, according to the Times.

In a statement cited by the newspaper, Dr. Sabatini said he "deeply respect[s] NYU Langone Health's mission and appreciate the support from individuals who took the time to learn the facts." He continues to deny the allegations.

Read the full Times report here

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