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Yoshiki Sasai Dies

Yoshiki Sasai, a stem cell researcher at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology, has died, the Associated Press reports. He was 52. Reuters reports a police spokesperson as saying that it has been confirmed as a suicide.

Sasai was one of the co-authors on the recently retracted Nature papers that purported to show how to easily generate embryonic-like stem cells. While he found not to be involved in the misconduct surrounding those papers, he had been criticized for not better overseeing the preparation of the manuscripts, the Nature News Blog says. The AP notes that Sasai had said that he was "deeply ashamed" about the issues with the papers.

Riken spokesman Satoru Kagaya tells Reuters that Sasai had been hospitalized in March for stress.

Over the course of his career, Sasai was known for his ability to get embryonic stem cells to differentiate into other cell types and for recapitulating the development of the eye in vitro using embryonic stem cells, the Nature News Blog adds.

"The world scientific community has lost an irreplaceable scientist," says Riken president Ryoji Noyori in a statement.