For nearly two decades, the University of Illinois at Chicago has touted child psychiatrist Mani Pavuluri as one of its stars: She founded a renowned clinic to treat children with bipolar disorder and secured millions of dollars in coveted federal funding to help unlock the mysteries of the disease.
Parents from around the country brought their children to see her. She helped boost the university as a leader in the field of child psychiatry.
But as Pavuluri’s reputation grew, she put some of these particularly vulnerable children at serious risk in one of her clinical trials. She violated research rules by testing the powerful drug lithium on children younger than 13 although she was told not to, failed to properly alert parents of the study’s risks and falsified data to cover up the misconduct, records show.
In December, the university quietly paid a severe penalty for Pavuluri’s misconduct and its own lax oversight, after the National Institute of Mental Health demanded weeks earlier that the public institution — which has struggled with declining state funding — repay all $3.1 million it had received for Pavuluri’s study…