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Special Committee

This page provides information on the work of the Special Committee established by the Board of Trustees to examine reported concerns regarding research accuracy in certain scientific articles in which President Marc Tessier-Lavigne is a listed author. We will continue to update this page when there are important developments to share.


January 13, 2023

Update from the Special Committee of the Board of Trustees

To the Stanford Community, 

As we noted in our previous communication, the Special Committee of the Board of Trustees has retained former federal judge Mark Filip and the law firm Kirkland & Ellis to lead the review of questions relating to academic articles in which Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne is a listed author. 

Mr. Filip, as part of his review, has engaged a panel of leading scientific experts. The panel has agreed to conduct a thorough and impartial evaluation of the facts and scientific issues that it determines are relevant. Mr. Filip will incorporate the panel’s evaluation into his report to the Special Committee and ultimately the full Board of Trustees. 

The members of the scientific panel are (in alphabetical order):

  • Hollis Cline, Ph.D.
    Chair, Department of Neuroscience, Scripps Research Institute; Director, Dorris Neuroscience Center, Scripps Research Institute; Hahn Professor of Neuroscience, Scripps Research Institute; Member, National Academy of Sciences 
  • Kafui Dzirasa, M.D., Ph.D.
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and K. Ranga Rama Krishnan Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Neurobiology, and Neurosurgery, Duke University; Member, National Academy of Medicine 
  • Steven E. Hyman, M.D.
    Distinguished Service Professor and Harald McPike Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University; Provost Emeritus, Harvard University; Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Member, National Academy of Medicine 
  • Randy Schekman, Ph.D.
    Howard Hughes Institute Investigator and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Berkeley; 2013 Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine; Member, National Academy of Sciences; Member, National Academy of Medicine 
  • Shirley M. Tilghman, Ph.D.
    Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs Emerita, Princeton University; President Emerita, Princeton University; International Member, National Academy of Sciences; Member, National Academy of Medicine 

The scientific evaluation is currently underway, and the Special Committee thanks the Stanford community for its patience in allowing the scientific panel and Mr. Filip sufficient time to complete their work. When appropriate, we will share further relevant updates with the community through this web page and other channels. 

As a reminder, those who wish to share their perspectives with the Special Committee may do so using the following email address: board-special-committee@stanford.edu

Carol Lam
Chair of the Special Committee of the Board of Trustees, Stanford University 


December 7, 2022

Update from the Board Special Committee

To the Stanford community: 

Last week a Special Committee of the Board of Trustees was convened to oversee a review of issues relating to academic articles in which Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne is a listed author. 

As a community engaged in the creation of knowledge, Stanford University has a longstanding tradition of pursuing excellence in research. This tradition is grounded in ethical principles meant to promote intellectual exploration and rigor. Equally important are our institution’s commitments to healthy debate, discovery, and fair process – the same principles that will guide the Special Committee’s work.

We want our process to be as clear to all members of the community as our principles. For that reason, we are sharing updates in a few key areas of importance.

Responsibility for this review lies with the Board of Trustees.

Because the president of Stanford University reports to the Board of Trustees – which operates in service to the University – it is the Board that bears the fiduciary responsibility of overseeing a thorough and fair review of the questions that have arisen. In this circumstance, the Board is undertaking the review so that it will not be conducted by individuals who ultimately report to the president.

As we have previously shared, Trustee Carol Lam will chair the Special Committee. Joining her on the Committee are fellow Trustees Jerry Yang, James Coulter, and Jeffrey Stone. As the review moves forward, the Special Committee may add other members or advisors who can bring additional insights to the Committee’s work.  

The Special Committee is engaging outside experts to lead this review with rigor and impartiality.

The Special Committee has retained Mark Filip – a highly-respected former federal judge and former Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice – and his law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, to lead the review. To assess and evaluate the relevant scientific facts, Mr. Filip – in consultation with the Committee, as well as Stanford University faculty – will engage a panel of leading scientific experts who are highly regarded in the appropriate fields and independent from Stanford University. This expert panel will review the academic articles at issue.

The Special Committee will continue to engage with the Stanford community.

As volunteers in service of the University, we are committed to actively engaging with all members of the community and welcome ongoing feedback and input on our process. We have established this web page to host this and any future communications, as well as an email address for the Special Committee: board-special-committee@stanford.edu. We encourage members of the community to share their perspectives with the Committee via this email address. We will continue to update the community through our web page and other channels when there are important developments.

The review will be rigorous, thorough, and informed by established processes.

This process – and in particular the review by a panel of scientists – will be informed by established processes for such research-related evaluations. 

This will be a fair and rigorous review based on all the available facts. We will move expeditiously but thoroughly. We understand the community’s concerns and desire for answers, but a rigorous process will necessarily take some time. We appreciate the community’s understanding in this regard.

The results of the review – including the opinions of the expert scientific panel and the insights gathered from the Stanford community – will be received by the Special Committee and the full Board of Trustees for consideration. The Board will be responsible for communicating the Special Committee’s work to the broader Stanford community.

As always, the Stanford Board of Trustees is guided by the University’s values and commitment to excellence and fairness. Thank you for your patience as we conduct the thorough review that this situation merits, and we will provide further updates on our progress as appropriate.

Carol Lam
Chair of the Special Committee of the Board of Trustees, Stanford University

Jerry Yang
Chair of the Board of Trustees, Stanford University 


December 2, 2022

Statement from Jerry Yang, chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees has noted press reports regarding research accuracy in certain scientific articles in which President Marc Tessier-Lavigne is a listed author. As chair of the Board of Trustees, I am appointing a Special Committee of the Board to examine the facts underlying the allegations, to assess the significance of any findings, and to make recommendations to the full board. The special committee will be chaired by Trustee Carol Lam, who also serves as chair of the board’s Committee on Audit, Compliance, and Risk. I will also serve as a member of this committee, along with trustees Felix Baker, James Coulter, and Jeffrey Stone.

In initiating this review, I want to assure the Stanford community that appropriate attention and resources are being devoted to this matter. The special committee will conduct its work with all deliberate speed. The special committee will engage expert outside advisors to assist with the fact gathering and assessment.

I also want to note that since President Tessier-Lavigne’s appointment in 2016, he has effectively led this university with integrity and honor. I am confident he will continue to do so while we undertake this review.

I ask for the Stanford community’s patience as the board conducts the thorough review that this situation merits.

Jerry Yang
Chair of the Board of Trustees, Stanford University