Questions Raised About West Virginia U. Researcher

September 11, 2014

A former West Virginia University professor who had been nominated to lead its epidemiology department made up credentials for his resume, including his doctorate, and may now face questions about his published works, according to an investigation by NBC News.

NBC's report raises questions about Anoop Shankar and what it called his "history of fraud." Shankar, who left the university in December 2012,  was asked to lead a public health program just as the university was attempting to start a public health school and step up its quest for research dollars in a state with many citizens facing dire short- and long-term health problems. The report also suggested, in an even more bizarre twist, that two people close to Shankar falsely accused another professor of sexual misconduct because that professor was reviewing Shankar's credentials. 

In a statement, university spokesman John Bolt failed to address specifics but said the university "immediately and appropriately followed its policies, procedures and all applicable law to assess the circumstances" since questions about Shankar's credentials were first raised while he was still at the university. He added, "WVU's discoveries were shared with law enforcement and appropriate research funding agencies."  Yet, according to NBC, when Shankar was "forced" out under a cloud, the public was never informed about the situation. After WVU, Shankar moved on to Virginia Commonwealth University. But he is no longer there after it opened its own investigation following inquiries by NBC.


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