World-renowned Northwestern University researcher sues, claiming he’s being pushed out

Dr. Teepu Siddique claims one administrator publicly declared he had been put ‘out to pasture.’ A Northwestern spokesman declines to comment, citing the pending litigation.

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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

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A world-renowned Lou Gehrig’s disease expert and Northwestern University researcher is suing his employer, claiming he’s being pushed out of his job.

“The research that we’re doing potentially has the ability to bring lots and lots of focus on Northwestern, but also to change fundamentally how this disease is approached and how it can be treated,” Dr. Teepu Siddique, a neurologist at the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said in an interview Wednesday. “That is one reason I have persevered in spite of this continuous psychological trauma — as well as diminishing resources for no reason at all.”

Siddique, 71, said he’s not entirely sure what’s behind the mistreatment he claims.

His lawyer, who filed suit this week in Cook County Circuit Court, said it’s about money.

“In its simplest form, it’s a desire for Northwestern to put the pursuit of profits . . . ahead of research and science,” attorney Steven Rosenberg said. “The bottom line is king, and to the extent that they perceive your research doesn’t meet the bottom line, you start getting squeezed out.”

Dr. Teepu Siddique

Dr. Teepu Siddique

Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Siddique is claiming, among other things, a breach of his contract with Northwestern.

A Northwestern spokesman declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Siddique has earned many accolades since his arrival in 1991, and his work has brought “millions of dollars in gifts and endowments” to the school of medicine, according to the lawsuit.

In 1993, Siddique, a neurologist, made national headlines after a study that he helped direct identified a gene that makes some families particularly susceptible to ALS, the neuromuscular condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. At the time, Siddique told Newsweek, “We haven’t slain Goliath. But we certainly feel like a David who’s been introduced to the slingshot.”

But since 2013 Siddique has “incurred the unjustified animosity of powerful administrators” at the hospital, according to the lawsuit, including having his research funds redirected to other projects and cutting his staff and budget.

In 2016, according to the suit, one administrator announced at a large faculty and staff meeting that Siddique was among a handful of staff who had been put “out to pasture.”

Asked why an administrator would publicly make such a statement, Siddique said: “People in power make mistakes, and sometimes they make huge mistakes.”

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