Mea culpa.
Trey Sunderland testifies at a Senate hearing earlier this year.

Christine McCarty/The Committee on Energy and Commerce

NIH Researcher Pleads Guilty to Conflict of Interest

National Institute of Mental Health scientist Trey Sunderland pled guilty today to violating conflict-of-interest rules when he accepted nearly $300,000 for drug company consulting services--without getting required approval from his superiors or disclosing the income to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (ScienceNOW, 5 December)

According to a plea agreement with the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Sunderland will be put on probation for 2 years and assigned 400 hours of community service at his formal sentencing on 22 December. He also has to forfeit the $300,000, plus a fine not to exceed $100,000. He was spared the 1-year prison sentence allowed by law.

Sunderland, who specializes in finding biomarkers for predicting Alzheimer's disease, was among a number of NIH scientists who were investigated following reports that they had undisclosed corporate relationships. He was the only one to be charged with a felony.