Addressing a new allegation in a March 6 story

I want to share some of my thoughts about the latest round of unfortunate falsehoods published by the Stanford Daily on March 6 about my scientific research when I was at Genentech. My position is and has been clear: The allegations concerning the 2009 Nature study, made by anonymous and hearsay sources without supporting documentation, are flatly wrong. 

The only new allegation, a claim that some researchers at Genentech covertly switched reagents to try to show that data in the paper were fabricated, does not even have the ring of plausibility. If that contention were true, there would have been consequences, well documented and reported, and certainly identified by Genentech. Richard Scheller, to whom I reported, and who was the executive sponsor of Genentech’s Research Review Committee during those years, surely would have known of these allegations had they been true. But Dr. Scheller told the Daily that he does not recall any discussions that anyone associated with the paper “behaved improperly in any way.” And the same is true for Genentech, which has said, “There have not been any formal investigations, allegations, claims or complaints regarding scientific fraud or misrepresentation” involving the paper.

Let me reiterate that I am confident a full airing of the facts will vindicate my position. And, I will be making a full and corroborated refutation of all the allegations to the Special Committee of the Board of Trustees. 

As the Committee pursues its work, I am fully committed to faithfully fulfilling my responsibilities as President of Stanford and discharging my duties, consistent with the University’s mission and in the support of all of our faculty and students.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne
President, Stanford University
Bing Presidential Professor and Head of the Tessier-Lavigne Laboratory at Stanford University