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Ancient DNA Lab Head Suspended During Workplace Culture Review

Alan Cooper, the head of an ancient DNA lab at an Australian university, has been suspended as the school investigates the workplace culture of the laboratory, Australia's ABC News reports.

Last month, ABC News reported that Adelaide University was conducting a probe of the workplace culture at the Australian Center for Ancient DNA. At that time, University of Otago's Nic Rawlence, who worked at ACAD for seven years, told ABC News said it was "not a good working environment" and described it as "cutthroat." He added that he developed health issues working at the lab.

"Everyone dreaded lab meetings. You were going to get picked on, yelled at, and shamed. 'None of you can write,' [Cooper] would say, in front of university higher-ups and outside visitors," Rawlence now tells Science. "If you were not picked on, you felt so sorry for whoever was. It was a textbook example of bullying." 

ABC News now reports that Cooper has been suspended as the review continues. "Following on from the information provided, the university has decided to take further action," an Adelaide spokesperson tells it. ABC News notes that Jeremy Austin is now leading the lab.