02/22/2013 15:09 EST | Updated 04/24/2013 05:12 EDT

University of Alberta researcher faces sex charges

A University of Alberta breast cancer researcher is facing charges of sexual assault and sexual contact with a minor, while his wife is charged with unlawful confinement of a child.

Zhixiang Wang is charged with offences which police say took place between November 2009 and May 31, 2010.

His wife, Xinmei Chen, is charged with an offence police say occurred between May 31, 2010 and Jan 29, 2013.

The victim named in both cases is a girl under the age of 16.

Both Wang and Chen were charged late last week. They are scheduled to appear in court on March 13.

Wang, 50, originally from China where he studied biology and zoology, has been researching medical genetics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton after coming from the University of Toronto in 1999.

Last year he was awarded a research grant from Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Chen, 49, is also a researcher at the university and is described on the university's website as a technician who worked in Wang's lab.

The University of Alberta would only say both Wang and Chen are on leave.