Northwestern University Neurology Chair Dimitri Krainc, center, with then visiting Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Huda Zoghbi, left, and another researcher in a 2016 photo. Krainc is a named defendent in Teepu Siddique's lawsuit | news.feinberg.northwestern.edu
CHICAGO – A longtime Northwestern University researcher and renowned expert on Lou Gehrig's disease has sued the university, claiming he is being forced out of his position.
Teepu Siddique, a neurologist at NU's Feinberg School of Medicine, also claims in his 15-page lawsuit filed July 2 in Cook County Circuit Court that he has "incurred the unjustified animosity of powerful administrators."
Those administrators, NU Department of Neurology Chair and Center for Neurogenetics Director Dimitri Krainc and Medical Affairs Vice President and Feinberg School of Medicine Lewis Landsberg Dean Eric G. Neilson, are named as defendants along with the university. Siddique's lawsuit claims multiple counts of breach of contract and that Neilson and Krainc have interfered with his contract.
Teepu Siddique | news.feinberg.northwestern.edu
Siddique, founder of NU's Neuromuscular Disorders Program and the Neurogenetics Laboratory, has led the Les Turner ALS Research Laboratory since 1991, according to information on the Les Turner website. Siddique is a professor of neurology and cell and molecular biology, as well as a physician-neuroscientist with expertise in neurology, molecular genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and animal modeling of human neurodegenerative disease.
Siddique's lawsuit describes him as "a physician-scientist, internationally recognized as an expert in neuromuscular disease and a pioneering world-renowned neurogeneticist who has discovered multiple causative genes for the inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
"Recently, his group also discovered a gene for Parkinson's disease," the lawsuit said. "ALS is a fatal disorder without a cure that kills its victims within three to five years. It is to understand and cure this disease that Dr. Siddique has dedicated over 38 years of his life."
Siddique's research has since 1985 been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health, according to the lawsuit.
Siddique claims that since Krainc's arrival at Northwestern in 2013 "and largely by his instigation," that defendants in the case "have engaged in a concerted effort to strip (Siddique) of his ability to carry out the work for which he was hired and which has elevated defendants to the forefront of ALS research and neurogenetics."
Siddique claims his research funds have been cut and redirected to other projects, his staff and budget have been reduced and donors have been discouraged from funding his research. He also claims defendants are responsible for "promulgating the false narrative that Krainc – not (Siddique) – was responsible for the development and success of the neurogenetic program at NU Feinberg."
Siddique is asking for a jury trial and damages of more than $30,000 in each of the six counts listed in his lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed by Steven J. Rosenberg, an attorney at Golan Christie Taglia LLP, in Chicago.