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Meet the SRSI Advisory Board

Last week, SUNY Trustees resolved to get answers from UB regarding its controversial Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI). The institute has come under fire since its inception, and has produced one widely debunked study that relied on incorrect math, and initially claimed peer-reviewed status for the work—a claim it quickly had to retract. The report was authored by known gas-industry shills.

Meanwhile last week, the results of a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request shed further light on the shady operation. 

Today, let’s look at the SRSI Interim Founding Advisory Board. Functions of the board include the following:

1. Develop and review SRSI bylaws

2. Review policy on ethics and financial conflicts of interest

3. Review the SRSI Prospectus

4. Help determine the procedures for developing funding opportunities and unbiased research

5. Advise the directors in any matters of concern

6. If the Dean should request, review and evaluation of SRSI significant developments

Sounds like a good idea, right? Problem is, the board wasn’t constituted until June and July, months after SRSI was rolled out to the public and subsequently lambasted nationwide for its comical research. The group’s first meeting was only two weeks ago, on September 4. The second meeting is supposed to take place at 4pm today (9/18).

So, let’s look at this post-hoc board UB has assembled to oversee its wild child of an institute. Five of the eight members are from UB.

Paschalis Alexandridis — UB Distinguished Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Acting Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; University at Buffalo. OK, whatever.

Peter F. Biehl — According to his Anthropology Department bio, his research interests include “Neolithic and Copper Age Europe and Near East; Archaeological Method and Theory; Cognitive Archaeology and the Social Meaning of Visual Imagery and Representation; Archaeology of Cult and Religion; Multimedia in Archaeology; Museum Management; Cultural Heritage.” Question: What’s he doing here?

Ernest Sternberg — Professor & Department Chair, Department Urban and Regional Planning; University at Buffalo. Since 2001, his research has been increasingly focused on “the ethics of complex decision making to avert disasters, whether from terrorism or natural or technological hazards…His most recent interest is the study of new radical ideologies affecting perceptions of public affairs.” Question: What’s he doing here? Unless we remember that the gas industry refers to anti-frackers as “insurgents.

Marcus Bursik — UB Geology Professor Bursik’s name appears in the FOILed emails concerning SRSI. Among other things, he co-authored research with Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Bruce Pitman. Pitman is at the center of the controversy surrounding SRSI, and frequently finds himself in the hot seat when the institute is lambasted by the press.

Michael Joy — an alumnus and Partner at Reed Smith LLP in Pittsburgh. From the link: “A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School with certificates of concentration in Environmental Law and in Real Property law, Dr. Joy simultaneously earned a Ph.D. in geology from the same institution. His dissertation research focused on developing structural geological models for the deposition of the Trenton and Black River Group carbonates and Utica Shale along the Taconic Foredeep, Appalachian Basin, from mid-central New York through central Pennsylvania and ultimately south through the Appalachian Basin to Virginia and Tennessee. He currently holds an adjunct faculty position in the SUNY at Buffalo Geology Department. He is a strong advocate of natural gas development and has participated in hundreds of presentations, educational town halls, legislative hearings and been involved in lobbying activity on the natural gas opportunities associated with the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.” Joy was also a featured speaker at UB’s Marcellus lecture series, speaking on the topic of Land Leasing and Property Rights. It was during that lecture series that the idea of SRSI was born.

Bruce Applebaum— From his company bio at Mosaic Resources—a company that provides “Trusted Oil & Gas Technical Analysis for the Investor & Financial Industry”: “Dr. Appelbaum has over forty years experience in the oil and gas industry and is dedicated to helping clients make the right investment opportunities through knowledgeable and trusted technical analysis. Bruce has enjoyed a successful career in the industry, including work with majors such as Chevron/Texaco and serving on the Board of Directors of CQS Rig Finance Fund and Input Output Inc.

In addition, he is a Distinguished Trustee of the American Geosciences Institute Foundation, and has been an advisor to the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University and the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. He is a Trustee Associate of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and a Certified Petroleum Geologist. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Counsel at he State University of New York at Buffalo.” Mosaic Resources provides “Trusted analysis of oil, gas, and shale plays for the investor and financial industry,” according to its website.

James Ellis — Ellis received his PhD in Geology from UB in 1982. His company, Ellis GeoSpatial, lists Houston’s GSI Environmental as a customer. GSI Environmental released this report, written by GSI and Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation, entitled “Methane in Pennsylvania Water Wells Unrelated to Marcellus Shale Fracturing,” which was published in the trade publication Oil & Gas Industry Journal. The research is devoted to combating conclusions of a Duke University study that found well water in northeast Pennsylvania had been contaminated by fracking. Not so, says Cabot Oil and Gas authors Albert S. Wylie, Jr., and Tom Wagner.

Notice that if you try to download the PDF of the article from this website, you’ll find it’s protected by a password. I had luck downloading it, then opening it in “preview.” But, I couldn’t save it or print it. This report, which is so difficult for the public to access, is shown for what it is at this link.

Steve Dubovsky — Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at UB, Dr. Dubovsky’s research interests include “Calcium Metabolism in Affective Disorders; Psychopharmacology; Psychosomatic Medicine; Medical Education. Clinical specialties: mood disorders, psychosis, interactions between medical and psychiatric disorders, psychopharmacology, difficult diagnoses, complex clinical entities.” On the face of it, you ask: What does this have to do with a fracking institute?

Here’s an interview with Dubovsky from peer-reviewed journal Primary Psychiatry. (Note the disclosure that Dubovsky receives research support from Eisai, Pfizer, and Sumitomo Pharma.) Click here for this more complete list of his funders. Or, if you don’t feel like clicking the link, here’s a brief overview of the other pharmaceutical companies that have paid for his research, going back to 2000:

GRANTS

January 2012 to January 2014
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized withdrawal study of lurasidone for the maintenance treatment of subjects with schizophrenia (D1050238). Sunovion
Steven Dubovsky
$200,000
January 2011 to January 2013
A 6-month, open-label,multicenter, flexible-dose extension study to the B2061032 study to evaluate the safety, tolerability &efficacy of desvenlafaxine succinate sustained-release (dvs sr) tablets in the treatment of children & adolescent patient. Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$200,000
January 2011 to January 2013
A Fifteen-Month, Prospective, Randomized, Active-Controlled, Open-Label, Flexible-Dose Study of Paliperidone Palmitate Compared with Oral Antipsychotic Treatment in Delaying Time to Treatment Failure in Adults with Schizophrenia Who Have Been Incarcerate
Janssen
Steven Dubovsky
$74,000
January 2011 to January 2013
A fifteen-month, prospective, randomized, active-controlled, open-label, flexible-dose study of paliperidone palmitate compared with oral antipsychotic treatment in delaying time to treatment failure in adults with schizophrenia. Ortho McNeil Janssen
Ortho McNeil Janssen
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2011 to January 2014
A long-term, multicenter, open-label study to evaluate the safety and tolerability of flexible-dose oral aripiprazole (OPC-14597) as maintenance treatment in adolescent patients with schizophrenia or child and adolescent patients with bipolar I disorder,
Otsuka
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2011 to January 2012
A Long-Term, Open-Label, Multicenter Study of LY2140023 Compared to Atypical Antipsychotic Standard of Care in Patients with DSM-IV-TR Schizophrenia. Lilly
Steven Dubovsky
$645,000
January 2011 to January 2014
A long-term, Phase 3, multicenter, open-label trial to evaluate the safety and tolerability of oral OPC-34712 as maintenance treatment in adults with schizophrenia. Otsuka
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2011 to January 2015
A multicenter, open-label study to assess hospitalization rates in adult subjects with schizophrenia treated prospectively for 6 months with aripiprazole IM depot compared with 6-month retrospective treatment with oral antipsychotic in a naturalistic com
Otsuka
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2011 to January 2013
A Multicenter, Open-label Study to Assess Hospitalization Rates in Adult Subjects with Schizophrenia Treated Prospectively for 6 Months with Aripiprazole IM Depot compared with 6-month Retrospective Treatment with Oral Antipsychotics in a Naturalistic Co
Otskuka
Steven Dubovsky
$200,000
January 2011 to January 2012
A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Parallel Group, Placebo-controlled, Phase III, Long-Term Safety and Tolerability Study of TC-5214 (S-mecamylamine) as an Adjunct to an Antidepressant in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder Who Exhibit an Inade
Astra Zeneca
Steven Dubovsky
$75,000
January 2011 to January 2012
A phase 3, long-term, open-label, flexible dose, extension study evaluating the safety and tolerability of LuAA21004 (15 and 20mg) in subjects with major depressive disorder. Takeda
Steven Dubovsky
$175,000
January 2011 to January 2013
A Phase 3, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 3 doses of LY2140023 monohydrate in the acute treatment of patients with DSM-IV-TR schizophrenia. Lilly
Lilly
Steven Dubovsky
$174,000
January 2011 to January 2012
A Phase III, multi-center, randomized, 12 week, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled study to evaluate efficacy and safety of R04917838 in patients with sup-optimally controlled symptoms of schizophrenia. Genotech
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2010 to January 2013
A long-term, multicenter, open-label study to evaluate the safety and tolerability of flexible-dose oral aripiprazole (OPC-14597) as maintenance treatment in adolescent patients with schizophrenia (31-09-267). Otsuka:
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2010 to January 2011
A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel Group, Placebo-Controlled, Phase III, Efficacy and Safety Study of 3 Fixed Dose Groups of TC-5214 (S-mecamylamine) as an Adjunct to an Antidepressant in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder Who Exhibit
Astra Zeneca
Steven Dubovsky
$100,000
January 2010 to January 2012
A Randomized Phase 2A, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of the Efficacy and Safety of CP-601,927 Augmentation of Antidepressant Therapy in Major Depression (A3331017). Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2010 to January 2011
Four week, double-blind, placebo controlled phase III trial evaluating the efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of flexible doses of oral ziprasidone in children and adolescents with bipolar I disorder. Pfizer
Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$75,000
January 2010 to January 2012
International, multicenter, study of a twenty-eight week, open-label, titrated oral lixivaptan administration in patients with chronic hyponatremia: Extension to studies CK-LX3401, 3405, and 3430 (CK-LX3431). Cardiokine
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2010 to January 2012
Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Lixivaptan Capsules in Subjects with Euvolemic Hyponatremia (CK-LX3405). Cardiokine
Steven Dubovsky
$75,000
January 2010 to January 2013
Open-label, multicenter, rollover, long-term study of aripiprazole intramuscular depot in patients with schizophrenia (31-10-270). Otsuka:
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2010 to January 2011
Randomized phase 2A, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the efficacy and safety of CP-601,927 augmentation of antidepressant therapy in major depression. Pfizer
Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$100,000
January 2009 to January 2010
Antidepressant impact of lurasidone in bipolar depression.
Sumitomo Pharma
Steven Dubovsky
$250,000
January 2009 to January 2010
Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety and tolerability of oral lixivaptan capsules in subjects with euvolemic hyponatremia.
Cardiokine
Steven Dubovsky
$75,000
January 2009 to January 2011
Phase 3, multi-center, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety and tolerability of dimebon (PF-01913539) for up to 26-weeks in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2008 to December 2009
A 12-week, multicenter, open label study to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of donepezil hydrochloride (E2020) in subjects with mild to severe Alzheimer’s disease residing in an assisted living facility. Esai
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2008 to January 2010
A 52-week, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety, efficacy and tolerability of an intramuscular depot formulation of aripiprazole as maintenance treatment in patients with schizophrenia Otsuka
Steven Dubovsky
$125,000
January 2008 to December 2008
A multicenter, double-blind, flexible-dose, 6-month trial comparing the efficacy and safety of asenapine and olanzapine in stable subjects with persistent negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$100,000
January 2008 to December 2009
Comparison of divalproex plus olanzapine or placebo in mild to moderate mania. Lilly
Steven Dubovsky
$83,920
January 2008 to December 2008
Phase III, randomized, 6-month, double blind trial in subjects with bipolar disorder to evaluate the continued safety and maintenance of effect of ziprasidone plus a mood stabilizer. Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$120,000
January 2008 to December 2010
Phase III, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial to study the safety and efficacy of 3 doses of lurasidone in acutely psychotic patients with schizophrenia. Sumitomo Pharma
Steven Dubovsky
$250,000
January 2008 to January 2012
Rapid Pediatric Psychiatry Consultation Project. Tower Foundation
Steven Dubovsky
$400,000
January 2007 to December 2008
A 52-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center, parallel-group study of the long-term efficacy, tolerability and safety of agomelatine 25 and 50 mg in the prevention of relapse of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) following open-labe
Steven Dubovsky
$200,000
January 2007 to January 2009
A randomized, parallel group, multiple dose six-week study to evaluate safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of asenapine in elderly patients. Merck
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2007 to December 2008
A randomized, parallel group, multiple dose, 6-week study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of asenapine in elderly subjects with psychosis. Pfizer: $50,000; 2007-2008
Steven Dubovsky
$100,000
January 2007 to December 2008
A three-week double-blind, multicenter, placebo controlled study evaluating the safety and efficacy of add-on ziprasidone to lithium or divalproex in mania. Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$60,000
January 2006 to December 2007
A Multicenter, Double-Blind, Flexible-Dose, 6-Month Trial Comparing the Efficacy and Safety of Asenapine with Olanzapine in Stable Subjects with Predominant, Persistent Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia. Pfizer:
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2006 to December 2007
A Phase 3, Randomized, 6-Month, Double Blind Trial in Subjects with Bipolar I Disorder to Evaluate the Continued Safety and Maintenance of Effect of Ziprasidone Plus Mood Stabilizer (vs. Placebo Plus a Mood Stabilizer) Following a Minimum of 4 Months Res
Steven Dubovsky
$250,000
January 2006 to December 2007
A Randomized, Parallel-Group, Multiple Dose, 6-Week Study to Evaluate Safety, Tolerability, and Pharmacokinetics of Asenapine in Elderly Subjects with Psychosis. Janssen:
Steven Dubovsky
$200,000
January 2006 to December 2008
Efficacy of psychiatric consultation to pediatricians treating mental disorders. Tower Foundation:
Steven Dubovsky
$100,000
January 2006 to December 2007
Ziprasidone for adolescent mania. Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$210,000
January 2005 to January 2005
Bipolar Disorder in Primary Care
Marcelle Mostert; Dubovsky, S
January 2005 to December 2005
Does levetiracetam lower platelet intracellular calcium ion concentration in bipolar mood disorder? UCB Pharma
Steven Dubovsky
$50,000
January 2005 to December 2006
Extended release memantine in moderate-severe Alzheimer‘s disease. Forest
Steven Dubovsky
$200,000
January 2005 to December 2006
Open-label, flexible-dose, long-term safety and efficacy study of bifeprunox in the treatment of schizophrenia. Solvay
Steven Dubovsky
$100,000
January 2005 to December 2005
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled and risperidone-referenced parallel group efficacy and safety study of two fixed doses of bifeprunox in the treatment of schizophrenia. Solvay
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2004 to December 2005
Aripiprazole in refractory depression. BMS
Steven Dubovsky
$100,000
January 2004 to December 2004
Paloperidone for schizophrenia. Johnson and Johnson.
Steven Dubovsky
$250,000
January 2004 to December 2004
Prediction of Psychiatric Diagnosis with Brain Imaging Using SPECT. Brain Matters
Steven Dubovsky
$50,000
January 2003 to December 2004
Escitalopram for geriatric depression. Forest
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2003 to December 2003
Escitalopram for pediatric depression. Forest:
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2003 to December 2004
Levatiracetam effect on intracellular calcium signaling in bipolar disorder. Pharma
Steven Dubovsky
$50,000
January 2003 to December 2004
Neuramaxane in Alzheimer‘s disease. Forest
Steven Dubovsky
$250,000
January 2003 to December 2004
Neuramaxane plus donepezil in Alzheimer‘s disease. Forest
Steven Dubovsky
$250,000
January 2002 to December 2003
Evaluation of patients with bipolar disorder. Sutherland Foundation
Steven Dubovsky
$49,000
January 2002 to December 2003
Memantine plus donepezil in Alzheimer‘s disease. Forest
Steven Dubovsky
$250,000
January 2002 to December 2003
MK-1 antagonist for major depression. Merck
Steven Dubovsky
$293,000
January 2002 to December 2004
Telemedicine consultation in primary care. Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$30,000
January 2001 to December 2002
Ariprazole for psychosis in demented nursing home patients. Bristol Myers Squibb
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2001 to December 2002
Galantamine in Alzheimer’s disease. Janssen
Steven Dubovsky
$100,000
January 2001 to December 2002
Galantamine in Lewy body disease. Janssen
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2001 to December 2003
Memantine in Alzheimer‘s disease. Forest
Steven Dubovsky
$200,000
January 2001 to December 2005
NIDA Clinical Trials Network (Paula Riggs, P.I.):
Steven Dubovsky
January 2001 to December 2002
Valproic acid for agitation in demented nursing home patients. Abbott Laboratories
Steven Dubovsky
$100,000
January 2000 to December 2001
5HT1D antagonist in panic disorder. Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2000 to December 2001
CP-448 (5HT1D antagonist) in major depressive disorder. Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 2000 to December 2001
Outpatient trial of sertraline in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder. Pfizer
Steven Dubovsky
$97,000
January 1999 to December 2000
Extended study of pregabalin for social phobia. Parke-Davis
Steven Dubovsky
$279,000
January 1999 to December 2000
Fluvoxamine in social phobia. Solvay
Steven Dubovsky
$79,000
January 1999 to December 2000
Injectible olanzapine versus placebo in the treatment of acute mania. Eli Lilly
Steven Dubovsky
$160,000
January 1999 to December 2000
L-deprenyl patch for depression. Somerset
Steven Dubovsky
$109,000
January 1999 to December 2000
Olanzapine versus risperidone in the treatment of agitation and psychosis in demented patients. Lilly
Steven Dubovsky
$150,000
January 1999 to December 2000
Somatostatin analogue in Alzheimer‘s disease. Fugisawa
Steven Dubovsky
$250,000

Dubovsky seems well suited to explain how the taking millions of dollars in corporate money to fund research at a public research university is just how the game is played—whether it’s from big pharmaceutical companies or big oil and gas.

If this is the best lineup UB can come up with to assure the public that SRSI is not a Frackademic Shamstitute designed to produce pro-industry reports, they may have either stopped trying, or they just don’t know anybody associated with environmental, community, governmental or public health interests. 

Will the SUNY Trustees come to the obvious conclusion that no amount of lipstick will dress up this pig? Or will they be swayed by the predictably reassuring hype, distracting details, and absurd claims of “academic freedom” that the UB administration is likely to produce in defense of SRSI—as they have time and again—up to this point?