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Former Student Sues Tufts University for Retaliation

A Tufts University graduate student is suing her alma mater and its employees for retaliation after she reported data fabrication by her advisor.

Dr. Kristy Meadows, who studied veterinary medicine and received a doctorate in comparative biomedical sciences program, alleged the school of punishing her after she reported Dr. Elizabeth Byrnes, a professor, and associate chair section head of Neuroscience and Reproductive Biology, for fabricating research, The Daily Mail reported.

She also alleged a violation of animal research protocols and animal abuse.

The lawsuit filed in a federal court on Friday accuses school and Byrnes of interfering in her research, a delay in her progression through her Ph.D. program and falsely accusing her of stealing an antibody after she reported fabrication of data in the article “Sex- and age-specific differences in relaxin family peptide receptor expression within the hippocampus and amygdala in rats” to the department.

The lawsuit claims that after she brought the matter to her advisor, she said, “it was fine to publish this data because if they had done the experiment, this data reflected the result they would have gotten,” the lawsuit claims.

According to attorney David Russcol, Meadows’ experienced retaliation for years as a result of the stand she took. Her graduation was delayed, her research was impeded, her reputation severely damaged, and her career opportunities curtailed,” Russcol said in a statement to The Daily Beast.

“Tufts swept her allegations under the rug and allowed this retaliation to occur for years.”

Meadows is seeking $1 million in punitive and compensatory damages and has demanded a trial by jury. Meanwhile, the university has declined to make any comments on the pending litigation.

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