Memorial University of Newfoundland denies it did anything to harm the reputation of a nurse who tried to blow the whistle on former medical researcher Ranjit Chandra.

nl-harvey-marilyn-200602b

Marilyn Harvey claims Memorial University damaged her reputation by not investigating her complaint against Ranjit Chandra thoroughly. ((CBC))

Marilyn Harvey has filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming Memorial ignored her complaints about Chandra's questionable research methods and results.

Harvey worked for years with Chandra, who achieved international prominence for research on nutrition and allergies. Much of that acclaim, though, has crumbled with international scientists questioning Chandra's data and methods.

In 2005, the prestigious journal Nutrition retracted a Chandra article it had published in 2001. The article claimed that seniors who took a multivitamin that he developed showed dramatic improvement in brain function. Scientists who reviewed Chandra's evidence, though, said they could not yield the same results.

Harveyreported problems with Chandra's research in the early 1990s, such as that some of the cases included in Chandra's published research had never happened.

Harvey's suit claims that the university had the information it needed to prove her case, but chose not to.

St. John's lawyer Ches Crosbie, who filed a statement of claim for Harvey, told CBC News earlier this year that Harvey feels the university led the medical community to believe that her complaint against Chandra was unjustified.

Crosbie said the university's handling of the issue gave Harvey an undeserved reputation as a troublemaker.

The university has filed a statement of defence with Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's.

In a news release, the university noted that Harvey was employed by the Janeway children's hospital, had been on secondment to Chandra's office, and was never a direct university employee.

The university said it did conduct an investigation of Chandra's research, but based on what it knew at the time, "properly determined there was insufficient evidence to sustain the complaint against Dr. Chandra."

The university said it would withhold further comment while the matter is before the courts.

Earlier this year, Toronto-based researcher Paul Pencharz submitted an independent review of the Chandra matter, and advised the university to review Chandra's research further. He also recommended instituting whistle-blower protection, and advocating for a national research integrity agency.