A prominent cancer researcher has become entangled in a high-profile corruption case in New York state. Media outlets are reporting that Robert Taub of Columbia University is the “Doctor-1” described in a criminal complaint that accuses Democratic state Representative Sheldon Silver, the powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly, of arranging bribes and kickbacks that netted Silver millions of dollars.
Doctor-1 is cooperating with federal investigators, according to the complaint. In exchange for his cooperation, he will not be charged with any crime.
The complaint, some of which is based on information supplied by Doctor-1, alleges that Silver steered to Taub some $500,000 from a state health care research fund that Silver controlled. In exchange, Taub referred patients suffering from asbestos-related disease to Silver’s law firm, investigators allege. Some of the funds were used to establish a university research center on mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, the complaint states; Taub helped found Columbia University’s Mesothelioma Center, according to several online biographies. Taub is the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family professor of clinical medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Silver also helped arrange for a job for a relative of Taub’s, the complaint alleges.
Taub’s biography notes he has authored more than 130 research papers; a Google Scholar search using his name and “mesothelioma” returns 172 papers. He has served as a scientific adviser to a number of nonprofit organizations, according to online sources, and on the editorial boards of several journals.
As ScienceInsider went to press, Taub’s office and Columbia University had not responded to inquiries about the matter.