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Jan van Deursen left Mayo Clinic, accused of bullying

Cancer and ageing researcher Jan van Deursen has silently left the Mayo Clinic, over allegations of bullying.

The Dutch-born biologist Jan van Deursen is a very senior figure in the field of cancer and ageing research, and more specifically, in the field of mitotic cell division. His personal profile and lab websites at the Mayo Clinic at Rochester, Minnesota (USA), its Cancer Center and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are still online.

Only that Professor van Deursen has apparently left, months ago even, and apparently not voluntarily. It is all very hush-hush.

Bob Nellis, manager of research communications at the Mayo Clinic, confirmed van Deursen’s removal to me:

Mayo Clinic is in the process of responsibly concluding the research activities associated with Dr. van Deursen’s laboratory, including the important work of our students and employees.  By policy we do not discuss publicly discuss personnel matters.

Update 24.06.2020. A source wrote to me with this timeline of events:

an investigation into his treatment of employees and students had begun around late November. [Jan van Deursen] was placed on administrative leave on 16th December 2019 and he was asked to never return on 21st January 2020, the same time at which the rest of the lab was informed“.

Why did van Deursen leave, his PhD students and postdocs left behind for others to take care of? It transpires, over accusations of “bullying and unhealthy lab environment”, as his lab members were informed, which Nellis did not deny when specifically asked to. A reader told me this:

Van Deursen was forced to retire about 6 months ago by Mayo after an investigation into accusations of denying a student maternity leave, and for a long history of abuse and manipulation over his students and employees. […] However, he has since been given opportunities to go to new institutions, possibly in Texas or John’s Hopkins, and his abuse will definitely continue there as no one outside of Mayo knows about what has happened. He has purposefully delayed students graduating, denied vacation, denied overtime for years. The abuses he has yelled and threatened students and employees with, has caused depression and mental issues […]

I know his senescence results have gotten raised eyebrows over the last couple years, and there have been issues with reproducibility by fellow and neighboring labs. The pressure that he puts on students to give him the result he wants is unbelievable. He can’t see beyond what he thinks the result should be, and won’t accept the answer if it doesn’t match with what he’s made up in his mind.

Johannes Martinus Adrianus van Deursen studied in Nijmegen, Netherlands, but moved to US after his PhD (his CV here). In 1999, he joined the Mayo Clinic, where he was (until his recent removal) Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and, without any medicine training, Consultant (senior physician) and professor of Pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic. Among his honours are honorary professorships at universities of Nijmegen and Groningen (reader comment below reveals that the Groningen professorship ended recently).

van Deursen also co-founded the company Unity Biotechnology which aims to sell drugs to remove senescent cells and rejuvenate the body. The anti-aging field is indeed where big money is made with big promises, people spoke of “fountain of youth” when discussing van Deursen’s discoveries. In 2019, he celebrated such senolytic approach to anti-aging in a perspective in Science. Both van Deursen and his company Unity Biotechnology were promoted in a 2018 Guardian article.

Despite, or because of his leadership style, van Deursen’s Mayo lab received a constant stream of NIH grants, the most recent R01 grant was awarded in 2020. He published in all the top journals. Despite the above cited rumours or irreproducibility, there are so far no PubPeer or any other records of data manipulation in van Deursen papers. If Mayo Clinic really made him to resign over bullying, the bullying must have been very bad indeed.

My own interactions with van Deursen were about his participation in the 2018 semi-private We-Stand-With-Rudolph conference in Jena, Germany, which sole purpose was to restore the damaged scientific reputation of another senescence researcher, K Lenhard Rudolph. The latter was forced to resign as director of his Jena Institute, found guilty of research misconduct by his own Leibniz Society and by the national research funder, the DFG, and explicitly shamed in public press releases and news reports, something which happens in Germany extremely rarely. Rudolph also featured in German newspapers over animal abuse in his institute, police raids included, another absolute no-no in Germany. In short, what Rudolph, formerly a star of ageing research and Germany’s top scientist, has done, must have been very bad to cause such public shaming in Germany.

Back in December 2017, van Deursen claimed first to be unaware of the recent misconduct findings against Rudolph, and added: “Presenting at the conference will be to advance the science on aging and should not be linked to the issues your mentioned“. I also alerted van Deursen to problems with other meeting participants, like Pura Munoz-Canovez. Less than an hour later, he wrote to me again:

“I had no knowledge of the issues until today when I opened the links you provided. Are you recommending that I withdraw from the meeting at this point because of issues with Drs. Rudolph and Canoves. Do you think the meeting should be cancelled or organized by someone else.”

I cannot now out if van Deursen participated in Rudolph’s Jena 2018 meeting or not. But he sure was not listed in the speakers list of the follow-up September 2020 meeting in Jena which is still scheduled to continue, COVID-19 or not. Rudolph’s reputation is more important.

Why am I telling you all this? van Deursen’s last message to me, on same 4 December 2017, was:

Keep up the good work on issues of scientific integrity. My best, Jan

Original images: Mayo Clinic and Jadavji Lab

Update 23.06.2020

Various former lab members of the now defunct van Deursen lab reached out to me. Allegedly, the former Mayo Clinic professor “yelled” at the aforementioned pregnant student “at the graduate school office for an hour”, and insulted her in front of the associate dean and the administrative leader.

Same source wrote:

Jan van Deursen did a lot of things…including stating that Muslims are terrorists, women are able to get jobs because they probably slept with someone, bullied an employee with cancer, physically intimidated women in 1-1 meetings and insulted people during lab meetings and daily private meetings.

The source also commented about van Deursen’s favourite lab members and co-holders of patents, Darren Baker and Bennett Childs (who now rejects all association with his mentor below):

About Bennett Childs. He was also bullied, although not as much as others. The people that had it worse were anything other than white males. Bennett enabled Jan in a way. One time in lab meeting Jan stormed off because one student was not ready. Jan asked Bennett to address it. Bennett closed the doors, yelled at us some more and make the student go to Jan to apologize. She did, reluctantly, and came back with clear discomfort on her face and voice.

Darren Baker, although a nice guy, has been very supportive of Jan, and had said how tragic it is he has to leave mayo. Everyone in the lab is hurt by Darren’s comments.

People in the lab are still required to send emails to Jan to update and he is still very much in control of what happens in the lab.”

Another source alleged that “99% of data that were not able to be reproduced over decades in the lab by anyone are traced back to Darren Baker and Bennett Childs“. Other sources reached me over their friends and are also considering speaking out.

More van Deursen revelations from the source:

When the mouse tech decided to leave the lab, he yelled at her telling her she was a shitty person and if she went to HR he would give bad recommendations to her boyfriend (graduate student in the lab).

He even yelled at his wife [Janine van Ree] during lab meeting. His wife is still in the lab, pushing his agenda. During the investigations she was asking people to go to HR and say good things.

van Ree is listed on van Deursen’s CV as “Postdoctoral Fellow” he mentored, “10/2006 -01/2011”. Allegedly, Mayo Clinic ordered lab members to keep reporting their research progress to van Deursen. With his wife watching over them in the lab.

Update 24.06.2020

While I am waiting for the Mayo Clinic to explain why van Deursen’s lab members are forced to constantly report to their alleged abuser, yet another former trainee described his wife as “the least motivated, lazy, selfish” member of the van Deursen lab. The source added regarding van Ree:

She believes that people who work on the same project as her are her property and she can control and order them around to do her mundane work while she gets to go home early or take time off/vacation. She was partially responsible for a student leaving the lab last year because of the way he was treated by her and her husband. […] Despite the PI not on campus anymore, it is true that van Ree pushes his agenda from time to time, even at virtual lab meetings. She spies on the current students on what they are doing in their projects, how many hours are they working, and sometimes hints at them to reply promptly to her husband’s emails.

Update 26.06.2020

Bullying and data manipulation go hand in hand, the former done by PI causes the latter done by lab members. First very serious case of possible Photoshop fraud in van Deursen’s lab:

X Wang , JR Babu , JM. Harden , SA. Jablonski , MH. Gazi , WL. Lingle , PC. De Groen , TJ. Yen , JMA. Van Deursen The mitotic checkpoint protein hBUB3 and the mRNA export factor hRAE1 interact with GLE2p-binding sequence (GLEBS)-containing proteins Journal of Biological Chemistry (2001) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m101083200

It is not just heavy lane splicing in every single panel. The fragments look suspiciously copy-pasted (highlighted with colour boxes). This and another van Deursen coauthored paper (Riedlinger et al 2017) are flagged in the comment section.


This article is being updated with new information as it arrives.


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58 comments on “Jan van Deursen left Mayo Clinic, accused of bullying

  1. Claire Francis

    J Biol Chem. 2001 Jul 13;276(28):26559-67. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M101083200. Epub 2001 May 14.
    The Mitotic Checkpoint Protein hBUB3 and the mRNA Export Factor hRAE1 Interact With GLE2p-binding Sequence (GLEBS)-containing Proteins
    X Wang 1, J R Babu, J M Harden, S A Jablonski, M H Gazi, W L Lingle, P C de Groen, T J Yen, J M van Deursen

    Affiliation
    1Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.

    Figure 1C.

    Figure 3B.

    Like

  2. “He can’t see beyond what he thinks the result should be, and won’t accept the answer if it doesn’t match with what he’s made up in his mind.“”

    I might call this Raoult’s Law of Biomedicine (not to be confused with the Raoults law in chemistry): If the advisor thought of it, it must work, and if your data does not show this, you are incompetent.

    If you think this way, you most certainly should not have any involvement in scientific research, especially leading a lab.

    Like

  3. Bennett Childs

    Why is my picture in this article?

    Like

    • I linked to the tweet by Mayo Clinic. If you don’t want this picture in public domain, contact them please.

      Like

      • Bennett Childs

        Public domain or not, my question was why did you feel it necessary to put the picture of a JvD lab doctoral student and current postdoc in this article? I feel this is a fair question and would appreciate an answer, although you certainly don’t owe me one.

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      • Dear Bennett,
        thank you for commenting here. First of all, the tweet by Mayo Clinic is from February 2019, when bullying accusations were probably already raised. The @mayoclinic account has 2 Million followers, you did not complain or protest. My site is read by relatively few people, and yet now you are unhappy I inserted a link to that tweet.
        I was initially thinking if you yourself were victim of bullying in Dr van Deursen’s lab, but then I checked your papers. In Nature, Science, etc. Dr van Deursen sure had no reason to be unhappy with your performance, unlike with that of others. Hence the @Mayoclinic tweet?

        And the press release, where you look rather smug, and not bullied at all: https://discoverysedge.mayo.edu/2017/12/01/rocketing-ahead/

        “An April 2017 graduate of Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Childs appears headed skyward, fueled by passion, intellect and the support of mentors, such as Jan van Deursen, Ph.D.
        “I think he has a tremendous future ahead of him,” says Jan van Deursen, Ph.D. […]
        In this case, Dr. Childs says having the world’s leading authority on senescent cells as a mentor has defined him as a scientist.
        “I came here to work with Dr. van Deursen, who had the resources, expertise, drive and intellectual curiosity that allowed me to perform research that was interesting to me,” he says. “I can’t imagine a better outcome.” […]
        “I basically said to him, ‘Hey, Bennett, this is how it works,’” Dr. van Deursen recalls, noting that his student quickly took to team-based research. “He’s very coachable. He listens and thinks about it, and then he makes a change. He’s an eager learner. […]
        Dr. Childs says he aspires to be a principal investigator. For now, he plans to stay in Dr. van Deursen’s lab, where he is trying to screen old mice to determine where senescent cells collect and the effects of removing senescent cells. But the path to independence for a researcher is paved in funding. And the good news for Dr. Childs is that he has received a predoctoral fellowship from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
        “His career has been launched,” Dr. van Deursen says. “Now he has momentum.”
        Where will Dr. Childs be in five or 10 years? To find the answer, think trajectory and look up.””

        Are you sure you suffered, Bennett? Some examples of your misery:

        Naturally occurring p16(Ink4a)-positive cells shorten healthy lifespan.
        Baker DJ, Childs BG, […] van Deursen JM. Nature 2016

        Cellular senescence in aging and age-related disease: from mechanisms to therapy.
        Childs BG, […] van Deursen JM. Nature Medicine 2015

        Senescent intimal foam cells are deleterious at all stages of atherosclerosis.
        Childs BG, [..] van Deursen JM. Science. 2016

        Senescent cells: an emerging target for diseases of ageing.
        Childs BG, [..] van Deursen JM. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2017

        Senescent cells: a therapeutic target for cardiovascular disease.
        Childs BG, Li H, van Deursen JM. J Clin Invest. 2018

        Inhibition of ‘jumping genes’ promotes healthy ageing.
        Childs B, van Deursen J. Nature. 2019

        and so on. Papers others only dream about a professors, and you had them all as PhD student.

        Aside the fact that the senolytic approach to curing age-related diseases is quite contested, your publication record does not suggest you were a victim in any way. Instead, you should be defending your mentor here instead of protesting on my site against a tweet by your own Alma Mater to their 2 Million followers.

        Like

      • Got this anonymous Twitter direct message too, maybe you’d like to address it, Bennett?

        “anyways I am writing you regarding comments on the article from Bennett childs. I’m sure you know why you picked a tweet with him in it for the article since you do talk about fabrication of data. He wants to push you to say publicly that that tweet is picked randomly and not intentionally. Just for your support – 99% of data that were not able to be reproduced over decades in the lab by anyone are traced back to Darren Baker and Bennett Childs”

        Like

      • I have no connection with Bennett Childs and I’ve been following the story from the beginning. I know how people were in pain in that lab and I think putting this image causes character assassination subconsciously. This image makes an indirect connection between Bennett Childs and bullying.

        Like

  4. Interesting read on JvD’s company:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2018/06/05/how-a-biotech-entrepreneur-aims-to-make-aging-less-awful/#593171e2c203

    My favorite line: “David’s (the president of the company based on JvD research) five (previous) companies have raised $1.5 billion and made investors close to $2 billion without ever actually turning a profit.

    I have come to appreciate if you want to make a lot of money in science, be sure either to be faculty at an R1 institution selling longevity, or get someone with Harvard/Stanford/Berkeley/MIT on their resume to sell longevity stuff to big pharma. David Sinclair makes it look easy.

    JvD’s senescence research may be irreproducible (above)? Hope for the companies sake that isn’t determined before they make the big sale. I’m surprised big pharma has not learned their lesson by now, or maybe it just shows how desperate they are with their collective pipelines running out.

    Like

  5. Cannot Say

    The senescence (and cancer cell biology to some extent) field is in an unprecedented crisis precipitated by some of their most pre-eminent scientists catching the limelight for data forgery again and again. Maybe the rise of senolytics and the money involved was too much to resist, and science and robustness had to pay the price, as well as all honest scientists working in the field that is now permanently damaged by a few individuals.

    See the mostly unaddressed Pubpeer records of Kirkland, Bischof, Dejean and now van Deursen. Cancer biology: Vousden, Karin… I am sure Dr Schneider has even more to add.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Max Power

    Thank you for publishing this. I am a former student and largely agree with everything you have posted, but I took issue with some of your assumptions here in the comments section.

    Regardless of how Bennett feels about his relationship with van Duersen, and whether or not he believes he was bullied/abused, I take offense to your conclusion/assumption that because a student performed well in the lab (published in high impact journals) that they did not suffer abuses. To that end, it also doesn’t mean that the hard work and efforts put in by students who published in “lesser” journals weren’t important or meaningful. To be honest, there did not seem to be a clear logic to who he targeted, and it was certainly not based on where they published (which obviously reflects on the PI as much as the student).

    Furthermore, to point to a photograph where the student did not look miserable (a photo OP, which, by definition is not going to depict unrest in the lab) is not evidence he wasn’t bullied.

    I am not sure if your intent was to simply bait Bennett or get him to state whether or not he was bullied, but regardless, it was disingenuous to abuse victims, from this lab, and elsewhere. And I agree with the above commenter that including his name and picture specifically paints him as the poster boy for abuse, whether he was or not.

    Like

  7. Having been previously associated with the lab, I agree with Max Power’s comment that it is not right to target or instigate Bennett Childs nor make assumptions about why and how he succeeded or was made to suffer.
    Despite the constant yelling, it was always commendable to see the camaraderie of colleagues within the lab and it should not be assumed or generalized that data was fabricated/manipulated as many students and post-docs alike, sincerely and enthusiastically performed their work in the lab while adhering to the standards of scientific ethics and rigor. This was reflected with the strong constructive critique of work by fellow colleagues during lab meetings or informal discussions about data and experiments. People in the lab were passionate about their projects and had the integrity to execute their work truthfully despite the pressure.

    Like

  8. I am unfortunately in no position to tell you whether senolytics work or whether you should buy Unity Bioscience stock, as i lack the required expertise in senescence or financial stock market analysis.

    Like

    • Dr Childs’ and Dr van Deursen’s papers clearly say senolytics they patented do work. We should confirm this first before discussing integrity etc.

      Like

  9. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2017 Oct;1864(10):1785-1798. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2017.07.005. Epub 2017 Jul 16.
    NF-κB p65 Serine 467 Phosphorylation Sensitizes Mice to Weight Gain and TNFα-or Diet-Induced Inflammation
    Tabea Riedlinger 1, Marleen B Dommerholt 2, Tobias Wijshake 3, Janine K Kruit 2, Nicolette Huijkman 4, Daphne Dekker 4, Mirjam Koster 4, Niels Kloosterhuis 4, Debby P Y Koonen 4, Alain de Bruin 5, Darren Baker 6, Marten H Hofker 4, Jan van Deursen 6, Johan W Jonker 2, M Lienhard Schmitz 1, Bart van de Sluis 7

    Affiliations
    1Institute of Biochemistry, Medical Faculty, Friedrichstrasse 24, Justus-Liebig-University, D-35392 Giessen, Germany.
    2Section of Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713, AV, Groningen, The Netherlands.
    3Section of Molecular Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713, AV, Groningen, The Netherlands; Departments of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street Southwest, Rochester, MN, USA.
    4Section of Molecular Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713, AV, Groningen, The Netherlands.
    5Section of Molecular Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713, AV, Groningen, The Netherlands; Dutch Molecular Pathology Center, Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
    6Departments of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street Southwest, Rochester, MN, USA; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street Southwest, Rochester, MN, USA.
    7Section of Molecular Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713, AV, Groningen, The Netherlands.

    Figure 3A. Much more similar than expected.

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    • Max Power

      I am not sure why you posted this.

      First, it seems like you trying to compare two western blots to each other, which you CANNOT do — you can only compare WITHIN the same blot, and furthermore, actin isn’t the reliable housekeeping gene for each fraction. Importantly, the authors’ conclude that the protein levels don’t change, but that “the re-export of nuclear p65 was slightly delayed inthe p65 S467 expressing cells, as revealed by Western blot” — which is supported by their data. Look at the N2 fraction for the mutant MEFS — p65 signal is strong the entire duration, whereas in WT MEFs it decreases by 60 minutes and stays decreased. You need to look across the time point for the respective housekeeping gene for each group of MEFs.

      Like

      • “Max Power” is an awe-inspiring name, but you just discredited yourself and your previous comment with that confused rant about image integrity. Zebedee is “Clare Francis”, look them up.

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      • Cannot Say

        @Max Power: Dude, your biochemistry is shit. Are you sure you are a scientist?

        Like

      • Max Power

        I apologize for misinterpreting the motivation for posting the image.

        Forgive me, and explain it to me like I’m the moron I am?

        Like

    • Yeah Homer, I mean Max. The post indicates that the actin band is not a loading control for both blots, in fact it’s not the control for either from what I can see.

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    • Max Power

      I am so sorry, and revoke my science card. I thought the actin was just two exposures and I ignored it and jumped to a conclusion, and did not see that it was literally the same panel used twice. I don’t know how I missed that and am very embarrassed.

      Yikes. Face is red. I will go slower next time.

      Like

      • Max Power

        (same panel used for each blot).

        That said, while H3 is the control for the nuclear fraction, it certainly calls into question the integrity and trustworthiness of the entire blot.

        I’ll show myself out.

        Like

      • It doesn’t matter if it’s same picture twice or two different exposures of same blot. Those are different experiments, FFS.

        Like

      • Yeah, the whole thing is dodgy as hell. In a real journal like JBC this would be yanked automatically, but these fakers obviously have a club going in the eurosphere that ensures their crap gets in with little scrutiny, and nothing is ever retracted. See it all the time.

        Like

      • Max Power

        @Leonid

        Yes, I realize they’re two different experiments. That’s why I made my post — I thought poster was comparing the two. I thought we were looking at three independent panels of actin, and that the experiment on the left just had two different exposures. I did not look carefully, and I see that that the arrow meant the actin from the left and right are identical. I thought it was comparing them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Max Power

        Look — I made a mistake. If I could delete my post, I would.

        I did not actually look closely at the actin because I jumped to a conclusion that the figure was posted over the interpretation of the blot, and I focused on the housekeeping gene for N2 (the H3 panel).

        I THOUGHT the actin on the left was two different exposures for the SAME experiment, and that it was DIFFERENT than the actin on the right for the second experiment. I thought the arrow was trying to compare the experiments, which obviously you cannot do. I am blind today or something, I only glanced at it, I’m sorry.

        I see now that they are, in fact, all the same d@mn actin panel which is absolutely HORRIFYING and indefensible. Very, VERY WRONG.

        I am sorry for wasting my and everybody’s time because I didn’t look closely and made assumptions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Mr Power! Important is we all agree here, misunderstandings happen, but we solved it and let’s move on.

        Like

  10. For three out of five labs I have worked in, the wife of the PI was there, and it seemed to make the lab a little to a lot worse. For me:

    Case #1: wife was a PhD stay at home mom and not a faculty member, but wanted people to work on projects she did as a post-doc, asked for equipment to be bought off PI’s grants that was never used.

    Case #2) wife in the lab (was the PI’s grad student) was in a miserable marriage with the PI (my advisor), she flirted/propositioned me (and presumably other post-docs). I rejected the proposition, had to flee the lab or I would have been fired.

    case #3) lazy, spied for her PI husband, everybody hated her, PI extorted the school (by getting another school offer) to get her promoted to tenure track, which she most certainly didn’t deserve, due to her laziness and stupidity.

    I am grateful that my current advisor, who can be very difficult at times, does not have his wife (now ex -wife) in the lab. She has mental illness, I think in part due to extreme envy of her ex husband (my advisor) for having a career in academic that she so much wanted but could not get. I guess the idea of not “being the boss” and lording over cheap labor can literally make some individuals insane.

    Like

    • Maybe these PI wives are just projecting their dislike for that git whom they had to marry for social advancement reasons, upon his defenseless lab equipment?

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      • Nah. I’m sure it was true love between PI and PI wife, right? RIGHT?

        However, it appears to my untrained eye that these situations are consistent with the predictions of the tenets of evolutionary psychology: women like to marry “up”. Although I might question that it maybe more an attraction to egotistical sociopaths who like to lord over cheap labor, which insures reproductive fitness for providing for a female. Sad!

        Like

      • Oh come on, men “marry up” even more eagerly. Hence the traditional practice of dowry. Evo psychology is a bunch of misogynous crap.

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  11. Max Power

    @Cannot Say: I missed the reason why the image was posted, and I apologized. That said, nothing in my interpretation of the blot was incorrect. Can you explain what you take issue with?

    Like

  12. “My own interactions with van Deursen were about his participation in the 2018 semi-private We-Stand-With-Rudolph conference in Jena, Germany, which sole purpose was to restore the damaged scientific reputation of another senescence researcher, K Lenhard Rudolph. The latter was forced to resign as director of his Jena Institute…”.

    No longer director, but still at the institute. https://www.leibniz-fli.de/research/research-groups/rudolph/

    https://www.leibniz-fli.de/research/research-groups/rudolph/

    Like

  13. I think there is a stereotype about bullying in academia: an older male boss offends young female fellows. However, bullying can come from students. I have seen how much students and postdocs bully each others and often their bosses. Usually these attacks are stronger when the student/postdoc cannot take holidays randomly out of the blue and cry out that (s)he was bullied. Many cases are childish conflicts, coming from the “bullied” student and not from the boss. Sadly however, I have also seen severely bully professors, and despite reports, HR did nothing.

    Like

    • Another possibility is the white male professor bullies/is rude to people because he is in a difficult marriage. In one case I am familiar with, the wife was envious/jealous of the white male PI’s career so she treated him like shit at home, and he was always in a crappy mood on Monday (plenty of weekend time with the angry wife), and he took it out on people in Monday’s lab meeting.

      In light of all of the crap that gets published, ‘Im not so sure that not having a career in academia is something to get angry/jealous about. Besides, good honest researchers are selected against versus cheaters, so to quote my president “the system is rigged.” Why get angry about not being in a crappy, unfair system?

      Like

      • Bullying is gender and ethnicity and sexual orientation neutral. I know bully females from minority groups, and honest white males who are great colleagues.

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      • In one case I am familiar with, the female deputy director was envious/jealous of the white male PI’s career so she treated him like shit at work. 🙂

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    • blatnoi

      Yeah, I know of a case where the director hated the professor and wanted to get rid of him. So, they started a fishing expedition with all the students and postdocs. Everyone did not bite, and reported back to the prof. Then eventually they found a former postdoc who was in industry, and was doing badly and about to be fired, and he bit. Started saying stuff about data manipulation and bullying. They hired him back to the university somehow, and started an investigation against the prof. Couldn’t prove the data manipulation since there was actually none, but the bullying charge is of course impossible to disprove if you’re fighting the whole administration and the HR department. They destroyed the whole group just because the director thought the prof was disloyal or something. Luckily this prof still has a future in science because nobody outside the institute believe it. Insane. Now that these bullying charges are popular, real bullies can take advantage of them and use them to bully others. Not everything is always as clear as in this van Deursen story.

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      • blatnoi: You nailed it. Impossible to disprove bullying charges especially when they come from a struggling doctoral student who is about to canned.

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  14. Has the Mayo clinic notified Dr. van Deursen’s grant agencies for the reason of his dismissal (hostile work environment)? At least the NIH requires this. I suspect they are attempting to sweep it under the rug much like they did the 20+ years that he bullied students/staff/postdocs.

    https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-124.html

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  15. Big Daddy

    This is a total smear job. Leonid, you have a great future working in the Celebrity tabloid press. Jan and his wife are two of the hardest working people I have ever known. I have no doubt he is firm task-master but this unnamed source innuendo is just horse shit.

    Like

    • “Firm task-master”, signed by “Big Daddy”? What kind of business are you in, BDSM? The sources are unnamed to you, for a good reason.

      Like

      • Big Daddy

        Winning an argument on the internet is a little like winning the special olympics. …right Leonid?

        You should feel great about yourself. Destroy someone’s livelihood based on rumor. Trial by media. Sleep well.

        Like

      • It is not rumor. I worked for JvD for many years. I will go get legal counsel & go to NIH if necessary for revoking his grant money. Hostile work environment is not sufficient verbiage.

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      • Big Daddy

        BDSM? Really? I guess if you have no answers then always better to distract, deny and dismiss. Your middle name must be Trump, Comrade Leonid.

        Like

      • I am a Communist Trumpster? How does this work, Big Daddy? Anyway, are you sure Jan van Deursen is not a Trump supporter? You seem very confused

        Like

    • Zebedee

      ” I have no doubt he is firm task-master..” is no guarantee of good science. If they are fierce they must be good does not follow. Sounds like a manager.

      Like

      • …and a manager that has not had the humbling experience of being on a project that didn’t work well enough to publish, despite was his manager predicted.

        Like

  16. Big Daddy

    123abc
    Millennial Whiny child. Another failed scientist who couldn’t take the heat of working in a top class lab. Good luck at Starbucks.

    Like

  17. It was quite fun when my ex-girlfriend referred to me as “Big Daddy”. As much as I wanted to spank her at times, she would not let me…..

    Like

  18. quarantined bug

    Has Mayo contacted NIH about this? Has the new institution that hired Van Deursen been notified about this?

    Like

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