Harvard prof's conviction over China ties should be wake-up call to US scientists, universities

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Dr. Charles Lieber, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, was recently convicted on multiple counts, including lying about receiving payments from the Chinese government’s “A Thousand Talents Project.” His conviction should serve as a wake-up call to U.S. scientists, universities and research institutes. 

Lieber specializes in nanoscience, which studies tiny things. Nanotechnology is the application of nano­science and can revolutionize a diverse range of fields, from health care to manufacturing. Lieber’s work was credited with helping develop “bio-nanoelectronic sensors capable of detecting diseases down to the level of a single infectious virus particle.” Lieber won numerous awards, and he and his collaborators own more than 35 patents. 

Charles Lieber is released from John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston on Jan. 30, 2020. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

As one of the nation’s top scientists, Lieber received more than $15 million in grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense (DOD). Part of these grants’ requirements is the disclosure of significant conflicts of interest, including financial support from foreign entities. Yet Lieber failed to disclose his position as “Strategic Scientist at Wuhan

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