Tessier-Lavigne’s postdoctoral advisor removed from Columbia position due to “serious violations”

March 7, 2018, 11:39 p.m.

President Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s postdoctoral advisor, Thomas Jessell, has been removed from his positions at Columbia University due to “serious violations of University policies and values governing the behavior of faculty members,” according to a statement released by Columbia’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs. The statement did not specify the nature of the behavior.

Jessell is a well-known neuroscientist and was a professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia. Tessier-Lavigne worked with Jessell during a research appointment at Columbia’s Center for Neurobiology and Behavior between 1987 and 1991.

The Jessell Lab, whose research focused on neural regulation of motor movements, was also dissolved upon Jessell’s termination, according to the Columbia Daily Spectator, the University’s student newspaper. As of Wednesday night, the Jessell Lab’s website was taken down.

Just five blocks north of Columbia’s main campus, Jessell also helped establish Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute (MBBI), a research facility described by the Spectator as “the academic centerpiece of [Columbia’s] Manhattanville campus that is meant to become one of the world’s top neuroscience centers.”

Jessell’s name and information was also taken down from the MBBI’s website as of Wednesday.

Jessell had not responded to The Daily’s request for comment as the time of publication.

In an email to The Daily, Stanford spokesperson Lisa Lapin said that Tessier-Lavigne learned of the dismissal on Wednesday night and did not have comment.

According to The New York Times, Columbia plans to provide assistance to Jessell’s approximately 25 former employees, including graduate and postdoctoral students, so that they can continue their careers despite the lab’s termination.



Contact Courtney Douglas at ccd4 ‘at’ stanford.edu and Claire Wang at clwang32 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Courtney Douglas worked for The Daily from 2016 to 2020, and served as editor-in-chief of Volume 254.

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