Report: Hwang, Colleagues Suspended by University

Seoul National University decided Thursday to suspend disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk and six other professors on his team from teaching and conducting research for their involvement in fabricated stem cell research, according to a news report.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said the researchers would retain their professor positions until the university's disciplinary committee decides on final punitive actions over the falsified work published in the international journal Science.

Officials at the university couldn't immediately confirm the report.

The committee will meet again Feb. 21 to question the professors, Yonhap said.

The university concluded last month that Hwang fabricated both the 2004 and 2005 papers that purported to show his team created stem cells from the world's first cloned human embryos. The journal has since retracted both papers.

Hwang publicly apologized for faking data, but claimed he was deceived by fellow researchers. He said some of the cloned embryonic stem cells at his lab had been maliciously switched and called for prosecutors to investigate.

Hwang was earlier stripped of his chair professor title at the university and had offered to resign, but had so far retained the title of professor of veterinary medicine.

Earlier this week, South Korea's state audit board said Hwang was suspected of misusing government funds.

Prosecutors are also conducting their own investigation into the scandal.