Psychiatrist who received $3 million for research put kids at risk

April 26, 2018

Mani Pavuluri, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, strayed from the approved guidelines and abandoned safety precautions written into the study protocol. Pavuluri said she received minimal guidance and training from the university, though she has received $7.5 million in National Institutes of Health grants while at the University.

For nearly two decades, the University of Illinois at Chicago has touted child psychiatrist Mani Pavuluri as one of its stars, and she secured millions of dollars in coveted federal funding.

But as Pavuluri’s reputation grew, she put some of these children at serious risk in one of her clinical trials. She violated research rules by testing the powerful drug lithium on children younger than 13 even though she was told not to, failed to properly alert parents of the study’s risks and falsified data to cover up the misconduct.

In issuing the rare rebuke, federal officials concluded that Pavuluri’s “serious and continuing noncompliance” with rules to protect human subjects violated the terms of the grant. National Institute of Mental Health said she had “increased risk to the study subjects” and made any outcomes scientifically meaningless.

Pavuluri’s research is also under investigation by two offices in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: the inspector general’s office, which examines waste, fraud and abuse in government programs, and the Office of Research Integrity.

SOURCE: Jodi S.Cohen,"$3 million research breakdown at UIC, where a star psychiatrist put kids at risk", Chicago Sun-Times, 26 Apr 2018,


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