LOS ANGELES – A Japanese woman and Chinese man accused of stealing genetic information from a Harvard Medical School lab where they both worked as researchers are married, an attorney told Kyodo News on Tuesday.
Jeffrey Denner, a lawyer representing 30-year-old Zhu Jiangyu, confirmed his client is married to 32-year-old Kayoko Kinbara.
The couple met at the lab in question, where they both worked on the development of drugs to control organ rejection and studied genes that regulate enzymes in the heart, brain and immune systems.
The lab is in the school’s cell biology department.
After quitting their jobs at the lab, they moved to Texas, where they began working at the University of Texas Health Science Center. They allegedly transported information and materials to the center from the Harvard lab.
After working in Texas until summer 2000, Zhu later landed a job as a research associate in the biology department at the University of California, San Diego, where he was hired to work from January 2001 through January 2003.
A UCSD official said the pair married last fall and that their parents came in from China and Japan to visit.
Prior to his arrest, Zhu worked under Jean Wang, a professor of biology. Wang said she was saddened by Zhu’s arrest and that he had disclosed to her the circumstances surrounding the dispute at Harvard during an interview in November 2000.
“Before offering Dr. Zhu a position, I spoke with his former supervisor. Because of these discussions, I was under the impression that the legal dispute between Dr. Zhu and Harvard University had been resolved,” Wang said.
“I offered Dr. Zhu a position because I believe in a second chance, especially for young people.”
University officials are currently conducting an administrative review even though Zhu’s research at UCSD was not related to Harvard data.
In addition, officials said that Zhu was closely supervised by Wang and seemed to collaborate well with his peers in the lab.
The couple are scheduled to appear next in court on July 3 and could be extradited to Massachusetts, where they face charges of conspiracy, theft of trade secrets and transportation of stolen property. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000.
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