The Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) - A Chinese national who earned a doctoral
degree from Brown University is wanted for allegedly stealing the herpes
virus, antibodies, antibody clones and files from a laboratory.
University police said Zhi Li, who is in the United States on a student
visa, stole the materials so he could get full credit for research on blood
clotting and prevent anyone else from recreating the work.
Li, 35, who lives in New York, is charged with breaking and entering,
larceny and computer-related crimes, The Providence Journal reported in
Li's mentor, Elaine Bearer, discovered the break-in June 25 and called
police. Bearer, Li and other students met with university police July 1,
Li allegedly made statements about the break-in.
He returned several items, but a warrant was issued for his arrest after
Bearer realized more items were missing.
Li was the lead author for a Brown research team that examined the
blood-clotting role of Arp2/3, a complex of seven proteins found in animal
and plant cells.
The research showed that the complex drives human blood platelets to
change shape and begin the process of clotting, according to a June 15
report in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology.
Understanding the process could lead to better treatments for abnormal
clotting, such as strokes, the report said.
Li based his doctoral thesis on the research.
He finished his studies last August and graduated this May, but never
returned his key to the lab, police said. On June 21, he allegedly slipped
into the biomedical building when someone walked out the door and used his
key to enter the lab.
He allegedly took the antibodies from a freezer, stole computer disks
lab notes and deleted data from a computer, according to a police