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Accusations and Certifications

Jeff Leach, a microbiome researcher, has been accused by several women of sexual assault and the scrutiny brought by those allegations has also raised questions about his academic qualifications, Science reports.

According to Science, Katy Schwartz, who worked at a Texas lodge Leach ran, filed a police report alleging Leach sexually assaulted her. Three other women also filed affidavits alleging assault following a lawsuit brought by Leach against Schwartz for defamation, it adds, noting that Leach and his lawyer say the claims are unfounded and all contact was consensual.

Leach is known for studying the microbiome of the hunter-gatherer Hadza group in Tanzania, reporting in Science in 2017 that their microbiomes varied seasonality, and was also involved in founding the American Gut Project and the Human Food Project. 

But Science says other researchers are distancing themselves from him and that questions have arisen about his academic credentials. It notes while Leach has previously been described as an anthropologist and has listed on papers affiliations with a number of institutions, he does not have a PhD and is no longer associated with many of those schools. Leach tells Science, though, that he is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at the University of York.