Former Nationwide Children’s Hospital researcher sentenced for stealing, selling research

Local News

Yu Zhou

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A former Dublin, Ohio man was sentenced to 33 months in prison for conspiring to steal and sell research to treat pediatric medical conditions.

Yu Zhou, 51, plead guilty in December to stealing scientific trad secrets related to exosomes and exosome isolation from Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Research Institute to his own person financial gain, according to the office of acting United States Attorney Vipal J. Patel for the Southern District of Ohio.

According to court documents, Zhou and his wife, Li Chen, 48, worked in separate medical research laboratories at the Research Institute for 10 years, Zhou from 2007 until 2017.

While employed at the institute, the two conducted research into exosomes, which play a role in identifying and treating a range of medical conditions, including a condition found in premature babies and other pediatric medical conditions.

According to court documents, the couple pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal at least five trade secrets related to the research. They then conspired to sell one of the trade secrets by creating and selling “isolation kits” by setting up a company in China.

In addition to the prison sentence, Zhou was ordered to forfeit approximately $1.45 million and pay restitution of $2.6 million.

The couple was arrested in California in July 2019.

Chen was sentenced to 30 months in prison in February.

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