A senior University of Maryland scientist yesterday denied falsifying experiment data in grant applications and articles or stealing a research assistant's ideas for a scientific paper.
Dr. Gerald M. Rosen, chairman of the pharmacy school's department of pharmacology and toxicology, testified in Baltimore County Circuit Court that he began working in the field of "trapping free radicals" at Duke University years before Dr. Carmen M. Arroyo came to work with him at Maryland.
Free radicals are fleeting compounds whose presence is recorded on a machine. They are thought to be important in the human disease process. Only a small group of scientists is engaged in such study. Dr. Arroyo claims Dr. Rosen stole her work for use in a paper without giving her proper credit.
Dr. Rosen produced documents of data he said resulted from the reported experiments and photographs showing the team that performed part of the work at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Rosen is suing Dr. Arroyo and her husband, Dr. Alasdair Carmichael, also a scientist, for $105,000 for defamation of character for spreading her allegations through the scientific community.
Dr. Arroyo, who worked in Dr. Rosen's lab, charged a pattern of scientific misconduct by her former boss. Instead of investigating her allegations "fairly," she charged there was a cover-up and attempts to muzzle her.
At stake is professional standing. The loser's reputation will be tarnished, particularly in obtaining the lucrative grants that fuel research. Maryland's Baltimore schools received $98 million in grants in the last fiscal year, said a university official.
Two University of Maryland investigation committees cleared Dr. Rosen as did a Veterans Administration committee. The university sent the case to the Office of Scientific Integrity of the National Institutes of Health as required by federal regulations.
Although the case was returned to the university more than a year ago for another review, the hearing was only scheduled for today. However, Dr. Arroyo successfully opposed Dr. Rosen's efforts to delay the trial until after the professional hearing.
Earlier yesterday, Dr. Lewis Rubin, professor of medicine and physiology at Maryland, testified that when the dispute arose between Dr. Rosen and Dr. Arroyo, he agreed to become her supervisor. First, however, he said he arranged to meet with Dr. Arroyo and Dean David A. Knapp, acting pharmacy school dean.
"It was a very bizarre meeting," Dr. Rubin testified.