Scandalized Scientist Kills Himself

Yoshiki Sasai, 52, was found hanging from a stairway handrail in the Japanese science center he supervised on Tuesday. The lab director of the Riken Center for Developmental Biology took his own life, leaving two apparent suicide notes by his secretary’s desk and three by his body. Sasai oversaw the research of Haruko Obokata, 30, who produced two scandal-ridden papers on stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells. One of Sasai’s suicide notes said “be sure to reproduce STAP cells.” He was hospitalized after the papers were retracted from scientific journals due to concerns about their veracity. Sasai said he was “deeply ashamed.”