Newly obtained records raise additional concerns about the research and oversight of Dr. Mani Pavuluri, a star pediatric psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago whose clinical trial studying the effects of the powerful drug lithium on children was shuttered for misconduct. A ProPublica Illinois investigation earlier this year revealed that the National Institute of Mental Health ordered the university to repay $3.1 million in grant money it had received to fund Pavuluri’s study. Parents of at least eight children who participated in Pavuluri’s trials contacted UIC after learning she had violated research rules, a larger number than the university previously disclosed. Among other findings, NIMH concluded Pavuluri tested lithium on children younger than 13 though she was told not to and failed to properly alert parents of the study’s risks. A university investigation concluded she falsified data to cover up the misconduct, according to documents. The ProPublica Illinois investigation found that UIC officials didn’t properly screen or monitor Pavuluri’s research — and then, after realizing she had broken rules, continued to promote her expertise to the public as she maintained an active medical practice for years. She resigned from UIC effective June 30. NIMH demanded the refund, a rare rebuke, after determining there had been “serious and continuing noncompliance” by Pavuluri as well as failures by the university’s institutional review board, or IRB, a faculty panel responsible for reviewing research involving human subjects.

Read full story...