updated 11/6/2006 11:26:43 AM ET 2006-11-06T16:26:43

Disgraced South Korean stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk, who was fired from one of the country's top universities after his team falsified landmark papers, is suing to get his old job back, his lawyer said on Monday.

Hwang, who was sacked by Seoul National University in March and is on trial in a criminal fraud case related to his work, said in a court filing he was unfairly dismissed due to distorted evidence, his lawyer, Lee Geon-haeng, said by telephone.

An investigation panel at the university said in a report in January that Hwang's team knowingly fabricated key data in two groundbreaking papers on embryonic stem cells that have since been retracted by the journal Science, which published them.

Hwang, once celebrated as a national hero, was indicted in May on charges of fraud and embezzlement after prosecutors said he was the mastermind of a scheme to make it look like his team had produced stem cells from cloned human embryos.

Prosecutors have charged Hwang with committing fraud to secure funds and misusing $2.97 million in state funds and private donations, as well as violating bioethics laws in procuring human eggs for research.

Hwang, who has apologised for fraud in his team's work, has denied any wrongdoing and said he was duped by junior researchers into believing the landmark results.

Hwang's work had raised hopes because it seemed to fulfil a promise of embryonic stem cell studies where tissue could be grown to repair damaged bodies and cure illnesses such as Parkinson's disease and severe spinal cord injuries.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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