Patrick Harran, the University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor charged with three felony counts in the 2009 death of Sheri Sangji from burns sustained in a lab fire, will stand trial, reports the Los Angeles Times. At a hearing held 26 April in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Lisa Lench rejected a motion by the defense to dismiss the charges.

The Sangji case, closely watched by the academic science community across the nation, is the first criminal prosecution concerning academic lab safety in the history of the United States. Harran faces up to 4.5 years in prison, if convicted, the Times article notes. The judge ordered a May 9 arraignment. Stay tuned.

Beryl Lieff Benderly writes from Washington, D.C.