70 papers by Alirio Melendez under investigation: report

Alirio Melendez

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is reviewing about 70 papers by Alirio Melendez, a once-promising researcher whom, as we’ve reported, has been forced to retract a paper in Nature Immunology and has another paper in Science subject to an Expression of Concern.

The Straits Times, which reported the NUS investigation this weekend, says Melendez’ former team is cooperating:

In Singapore, the eight researchers involved include scientists, academics, research fellows and students from NUS and DSO National Laboratories. DSO and the personnel involved are assisting the university in its investigation.

The story continues:

NUS was alerted to the possible fraud through an anonymous tip- off. While it usually disregards anonymous accusations, the evidence was compelling enough for it to start an inquiry.

A high-level panel – which includes professors experienced in looking at fraud cases – is coordinating the effort, as well as working with the overseas universities involved.

Dr Melendez could not be reached for comment. The University of Liverpool, his current employer, said he has been suspended without prejudice, pending the outcome of the inquiry.

‘We take accusations of research misconduct extremely seriously, and as such have investigated this at a senior level in line with university policy, as have the other institutions involved,’ said a spokesman.

We’ll update with anything we learn.

In the meantime, you can read the collection of links that Retraction Watch readers have left on our previous posts about Melendez.

Update, 1:10 p.m. Eastern, October 12, 2011: Melendez spoke with Nature’s Richard van Noorden. He repeated the claim he made to Retraction Watch last month about being on medical leave, and said there were errors that weren’t his fault:

Melendez told Nature that he was currently unwell and on sick leave, and that he was conducting his own investigation into other papers which he agreed did contain “questionable data”, but which, he asserted, were not his fault. “It has been a living nightmare. With the current leaks and smears I have to say something to defend myself,” he said. “I know that such problems are more common than we realise and I’m not condoning them,” he said. “I’m glad they were picked up.”

46 thoughts on “70 papers by Alirio Melendez under investigation: report”

  1. That’s what the NUS would say. It is a typical press release.

    Surely it is what others, not the NUS, thinks that matters? So far we do not know what many others think. I imagine it will take sometime. If other cases come to to light, or the NUS is not transparent about the present Melendez case, people might form a more negative opinion. If the NUS can demonstrate transparency people may form a more positive opinion of the NUS.

    It is ironic that:

    “Last July, NTU also organised and hosted the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, which resulted in a document called the “Singapore Statement”, which sets out basic principles that can be used as a standard for research integrity throughout the world”,

    although there is no evidence that scientific misconduct is limited by geography.

      1. It is Singapore. Didn’t the people from NUS attend the conference?

        10 years ago I met the theatre critic of of a Singaporean newspaper at a well-known theatre festival.
        He told me that he couldn’t wait to get back to his native country. He found the political atmosphere stiffling, and felt sorry for his Singaporean colleagues who had to tow the party line. I also heard that it is a slave farm for junior scientists.

        At Harvard less than 10 years ago Singaporean colleagues told me that quite a bright fellow at Harvard spoke out against the regime and lost his fellowship.

        Those are only opinions I heard. Perhaps it was never like that, perhaps I misheard.

        Even if these things be true they may not be the cause of scientific misconduct.

    1. It’s pretty appalling to attempt to tar an entire nation’s scientists because of this one guy. As a researcher currently in Singapore, I can assure you that the expectations of research integrity here are no different than elsewhere. And your implication that the political climate somehow pressures scientists into misconduct is preposterous. Furthermore, “slave farms” for junior scientists are certainly pervasive in research labs all over the US, where I trained.

      1. Dear SG scientist,

        I agree with much of what you write.

        I was not trying to “tar an entire nation’s scientists” (You filled in the dots, not me), but rather to start a debate.

        “expectations of research integrity are no different than elsewhere” is likely true.
        There are problems in other places.

        I more than agree with you statement that ““slave farms” for junior scientists are certainly pervasive in research labs all over the US, where I trained”. Since I mentioned Singapore it would only be fair to say that several people have opined that the Salk Institute in California, and Cold Spring Habor, New York State, are “slave farms” too, both are in the U.S..

        You do mention “the political climate”. It is there. I am not trying to be negative about Singapore. In many countries in the west which are not one party states there is nevertheless “political” interference by managerialism. This does not look political on the surface, but is pervasive. People in long-term, well-paid jobs living off people on short term contracts. The managers will tend to act as a class. Criticism of one is taken as criticsmby all the other managers.

        By the way, I am not in the U.S..

      2. i have worked in Singapore too. Though good atmosphere to work on, but the politics of funds granted and awards given and recognition made – top down approach…no transparent review procedures in place. If you are working with some one, you will not realise. If you are a PI you know what I mean, unless you work in a Biopolis institute where you don’t need to worry about funding. What expectations you are talking about publications or patents? KPIs?

  2. The corresponding author of some of the earlier of the 70 Melendez papers that are apparently being questioned, Janet M Allen, is now the Scientific Director of one of the UK’s major research funding agencies, BBSRC, and director of something else called “food security”. For example this one:

    http://www.cell.com/current-biology/retrieve/pii/S0960982201002603

    Information about Dr Allen is here:

    http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/blog/index.php/2009/12/welcome-to-the-food-security-website/

    And here

    http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/blog/index.php/2009/12/welcome-to-the-food-security-website/

      1. The big question which needs to be asked is: was professor Janet Allen FRSE part of the scientific fraud from the beginning?

        My comments are brief, but there is a pattern. I bet JM Allen couldn’t believe her luck on publishing so much on the same thing. I also bet she did not question it.

        I hope that you get the thread that the little primary data you get to see is of poor quality, i.e. smudged, yet the graphs are so neat. If something is so smudged how can you measure it so accurately? Also if you are good at one technique you are generally good at other techniques. Clumsy is as clumsy does.

        See, there are not that many other authors, and on publications 1 to 4 JM Allen is the senior author. It is up to her to prove they are correct, not for me to prove they are incorrect. Reverse burden of proof in science.

        You should ask her some questions to pin her down.

        1.

        FcgammaRI activation of phospholipase Cgamma1 and protein kinase C in dibutyryl cAMP-differentiated U937 cells is dependent solely on the tyrosine-kinase activated form of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase.
        Melendez AJ, Harnett MM, Allen JM.
        Immunology. 1999 Sep;98(1):1-8.
        PMID: 10469227
        The figures in Immunology. 1999 September; 98(1): 1–8 look made up.

        Mostly we have graphs that have a hand-drawn quality about them.
        The error bars are unusually consistent.

        2.

        Differentiation-dependent switch in protein kinase C isoenzyme activation by FcgammaRI, the human high-affinity receptor for immunoglobulin G.
        Melendez AJ, Harnett MM, Allen JM.
        Immunology. 1999 Mar;96(3):457-64.
        PMID: 10233728
        The same criticisms for
        Immunology. 1999 March; 96(3): 457–464.

        The blots really are of poor quality.

        Don’t they understand that the error bars naturally show some wide variation?
        Don’t they understand that the error bars should tend to get larger as the values get larger?

        3.

        FcgammaRI coupling to phospholipase D initiates sphingosine kinase-mediated calcium mobilization and vesicular trafficking.
        Melendez A, Floto RA, Gillooly DJ, Harnett MM, Allen JM.
        J Biol Chem. 1998 Apr 17;273(16):9393-402.
        PMID:9545263

        The blots really are of poor quality.

        The error bars in the graphs are unusually consistent in most figures.

        Don’t they understand that the error bars naturally show some wide variation?

        4.

        Functional coupling of FcgammaRI to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (reduced form) oxidative burst and immune complex trafficking requires the activation of phospholipase D1.
        Melendez AJ, Bruetschy L, Floto RA, Harnett MM, Allen JM.
        Blood. 2001 Dec 1;98(12):3421-8.
        PMID:11719383
        In figure 2B the error bars are too consistent.

        Figure 4 is too neat. Note the use of the phrase “typical of 3 separate experiments”.
        That means we have to believe them. Why?

        Figure 5 as for figure 4.

        5.

        Exp Parasitol. 2011 Sep 8. [Epub ahead of print]
        Receptor usage by the Acanthocheilonema viteae-derived immunomodulator, ES-62.
        Harnett W, Goodridge HS, Allen JM, Harnett M.
        Source
        Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G4 0RE, UK.
        PMID: 21925176
        What did JM Allen do to be on this 2011 paper? She has been a full-time manager in Swindon since 2008.

        Please see:

        http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/archive/2008/080714-pr-directors.aspx

      2. The BBSRC, a branch the the U.K. civil service, i.e. government, criticises a press report by the Times Higher Education:

        http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/policy/2011/111110-n-janet-allen-resignation.aspx

        “Statement on media coverage of Janet Allen’s resignation from BBSRC
        10 November 2011

        BBSRC would like to make clear that it informed the Times Higher Education prior to its story of 10 November 2011, that the circumstances of Janet Allen’s resignation as Director of Research are categorically in no way related to allegations being made against Alirio Melendez. Janet has left BBSRC for personal reasons. It is invidious to suggest that this should bring into question her integrity.

        During Janet Allen’s time as Director of Research for BBSRC her achievements were many and covered every aspect of the Council’s Strategic Plan – Basic Bioscience Underpinning Health, Bioenergy and Industrial Biotechnology, Exploiting New Ways of Working and Global Food Security.”

        The Times Higher Education report

        http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=418084&c=1

        My comment particularly about this section of the bBSRC’s statement on media coverage:

        “BBSRC would like to make clear that it informed the Times Higher Education prior to its story of 10 November 2011, that the circumstances of Janet Allen’s resignation as Director of Research are categorically in no way related to allegations being made against Alirio Melendez. Janet has left BBSRC for personal reasons. It is invidious to suggest that this should bring into question her integrity.”

        Just because the BBSRC “informed the Times Higher Education prior to its story of the 10 November 2001”

        :-

        1. does not mean that the Times Higher Education has to believe the BBSRC.

        and

        2. The questions surrounding the 12 papers co-authored by AJ Melendez and JM Allen still need to be answered.

        If the BBSRC reads it own press release is simply says “Statement “, there is nothing about veracity, just authority.

        It looks like the U.K. is no better than Singapore at government meddling, and that is if you can believe what people write on Retraction Watch.

        Are U.S. government -funded organisations so combatative against the press? What does the U.S. Constitution have to say on this matter?

        End of my comments.

      3. I have some concerns about this paper. Which can be summed up as “dodgyblots”, no offense meant to avatar dodgyblot:

        Alirio J. Melendez,*† David J. Gillooly,*† Margaret M. Harnett,‡ and Janet M. Allen*§
        Aggregation of the human high affinity immunoglobulin G receptor (FcγRI) activates both tyrosine kinase and G protein-coupled phosphoinositide 3-kinase isoforms
        Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 March 3; 95(5): 2169–2174.

        The blots really are of poor quality. Take look at the figures with your own eyes.
        They are supposed to be representative blots.

        The error bars in the graphs are unusually consistent.

        Don’t they understand that the error bars naturally show some wide variation?
        Don’t they know that the error bars tend to get larger as the average value increases?

        It is extremely odd that the graphs look so neat yet the blots are quite poor.

        My apologies for being blunt.
        Also my analysis is short because that is what I can see in the figures.
        There is little primary data, but instead graphs. It is about the data.

  3. browsed through the earlier posting and noted NUS honours their researchers every year both at faculty level and university level. Two of them are already with Dr. Melendez’s papers (Nature Immunology and Science) and couple more are co-authors (Blood, Nature Medicine and Journal of Neurochemistry?) including the Deputy President of NUS in other articles. Two out of many may not be that significant, however, there seems to be a trend, scientifically speaking… – a quick check on NUS award winners may yield interesting and exciting results….food for thought though.

    Ivan/Adam, how you are legally bound? Can someone drag you both to court? Are you protected? You will be surprised if you receive a red carpet invitation from NUS for the next research integrity conference – I presume they might organise one soon as the channelnewsasia reported that other singapore university has organised one recently!! Phew….Now I am tying the knot – I heard that Science editor-in-cheif Prof Bruce Alberts) was in NUS, Singapore very recently (probably late June) – after the investigations on Dr. Melendez started (Straits Times report – probe initiated in March 2011)…any thoughts on this? Just curious…

    Both of you, please be careful and take care. I wish truth prevails and saves millions of dollars!!

  4. I actually don’t think truth will prevail, and I think that the scientific (publishing) system in itself is set-up for a major failure (e.g. there really is not enough penalty for misconduct – cf articles by Fehr’s group on what happens when you take away punishments). I don’t know if there is anything better, but I for sure want nothing of it anymore. This blog in itself is also a testament to the inherent problems I guess.

  5. SG is indeed a slave farm for researchers. Salaries are appallingly low except for the managers, and the yearly increments are laughable. A junior programmer makes much more than a senior scientist with 10 years experience.

  6. this is getting interested. Private investigators? in some of the papers he is the first author – 2005 Nature Medicine, JBC 2002 …who is going to be investigated in those papers…This is challenging for any university to investigate…

  7. Wow….that was great!!! What was he doing in another continent?

    1. Cutting the Elctronmicrographs of U937 cells from his co-authored paper (Gillooly DJ, Melendez AJ et al.,Biochem J, 1999) and prepared a nice Electron microgaphic figures (Fig 4a) of human macrophages taken from Sepsis Patients for the Nature Immunology Paper (already retracted)…

    Figure 1 Endocytosis of FccRI–IgG complexes results in the transient appearance of large cytoplasmic vacuoles in U937 cells (Biochem J, 1999)- You can download this paper from PubMed Central.

    Figure 4 ES-62 induces autophagosome formation. (a) Electron microscopy of human macrophages treated with vehicle (Veh) or ES-62 (time, above images). Red arrows indicate double membraned vacuole structures (Nature Immunology, 2011) – You can still see the images in the Nature Immunology Website in case you do not have the paper…

    2.Performing Unpaired Student’s t-tests for all the Kaplan Meier (KM) Survival Graphs of Mice instead of using appropriate statistical tests???? (Retracted Nature Immunology Paper, 2011)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaplan%E2%80%93Meier_estimator

    A. Now the Millon $ Question….Had the experiments been performed in animals & samples obtained from normal individuals and sepsis patients???

    B.The Universities/Journals/Grant Bodies may have to verify this info in the first place or the retraction watch may ask the concerened animal and clinical facilities (if feasible) where the animals & samples were obtained and processed for both Nature Immunology and Science Papers…

    Just the Tip of the Iceberg!!!

  8. So does the quote in The Times Higher Education Supplement mean that Melendez agrees that data in unspecified publications were duplicated or “manipulated” but that he is suggesting that an unamed person (or persons) were responsible and that this happened over a period of ~13 years at at least three different institutions?

    Melendez’s work is in the broad area of phospholipid metabolism (papers about PLD, S1P etc). The father of this field Eugene Kennedy died a couple of weeks ago. This is a quote from his introduction to an Annual Reviews Edition devoted to work in this area.

    “The anonymity that is the fate of nearly every scientist as the work of one generation blends almost without a trace into that of the next is a small price to pay for its unending progress, the great long march of human reason. ….To feel that one has contributed to this splendid enterprise, on however small a scale, is reward enough for labor at the end of the day.”

    Alternatively, apparently you can just make stuff up..

    1. i just read Dr. Melendez’s response to several journals and media personnel. Is he allowed to clinical practice in Venezuela? Does he have license to do that? If you go through two of his papers, one in Science and another one in Nature Immunology, the studies involved patient materials from two different hospitals in Venezuela. Who did this work? Who followed up the patients? No acknowledgements were given in both the articles? What about IRB issues? No authors listed from Venezuela? Who did all those investigations? Probably, it is better to send an erratum to journals with names of authors from Venezuela!!

      I am not criticising the journal functioning. But how did both reputed journals miss this point? These studies involved human patient materials and follow-up investigations. No reviewers questioned this, surprisingly.

      Adam/Ivan: this is a serious issue. All concerned should respond to this matter. I feel that reviewers/editors (handling the papers) of these papers should be investigated as well. What do you think?

  9. Honestly speaking, the system of award for publicaitons or patents should be abolished. This reward system mainly encourages people to compete for larger share of bonus and promotions in a short period of time. I suggest that reward must be given to the researchers at a later date of publication (may be after 1 or 2 years of publications). I am from SG too, I can assure you things are so different than in US or Europe. The pressure is so high that drive everyone nuts.

  10. Agree with SG new. That is why I left Singapore. Honesty and hard work do not have any value or recognition. I heard that the deputy president (research) has just been named as outstanding researcher award again at the school of medicine. He is the one conducting the investigation on this… It is alright if right ones are recognised but it is not the case – the one who has a ‘stardom’ (hope you know what i mean) will proceed – fast track promotion, awards and grants etc..I can name a few scientists/faculty members who can be in trouble because of misconduct and unethical. I am waiting for the right time..one by one. Retraction watch has provided a great opportunity to disclose all these loopholes. Wait and see…Hope it is not too late.

  11. As a continuation to the NUS theme I believe that the paper challenging professor Yoshiaki Ito’s work on Runx3 being a tumour suppressor gene is EMBO Mol Med. 2011 Oct;3(10):593-604.

    What I notice is:

    “It was previously reported that Runx3 is strongly expressed in embryonic and adult gastrointestinal tract (GIT) epithelium (Ep) and that its loss causes gastric cancer. More than 280 publications have based their research on these findings and concluded that Runx3 is indeed a tumour suppressor (TS). In stark contrast, using various measures, we found that Runx3 expression is undetectable in GIT Ep.

    The lack of evidence for Runx3 expression in normal GIT Ep creates a serious challenge to the published data and undermines the notion that Runx3 is a TS involved in cancer pathogenesis.”

    What will happen to the 280 papers based on the idea that Runx3 is expressed in the gut epithelium, when professor Groner has provided strong evidence (several methods) that Runx3 is undetectable in the gut epithelium? If Runx3 is not there it cannot do its supposed job. Science is about correcting the record, that’s how it goes forward. How many of these 280 papers should be retracted? If the premise turns out to be incorrect how can the papers make sense?

    Here is the abstract for the paper:

    EMBO Mol Med. 2011 Oct;3(10):593-604. doi: 10.1002/emmm.201100168. Epub 2011 Aug 8.
    Absence of Runx3 expression in normal gastrointestinal epithelium calls into question its tumour suppressor function.
    Levanon D, Bernstein Y, Negreanu V, Bone KR, Pozner A, Eilam R, Lotem J, Brenner O, Groner Y.
    Source

    Department of Molecular Genetics, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.
    Abstract

    The Runx3 transcription factor regulates cell fate decisions during embryonic development and in adults. It was previously reported that Runx3 is strongly expressed in embryonic and adult gastrointestinal tract (GIT) epithelium (Ep) and that its loss causes gastric cancer. More than 280 publications have based their research on these findings and concluded that Runx3 is indeed a tumour suppressor (TS). In stark contrast, using various measures, we found that Runx3 expression is undetectable in GIT Ep. Employing a variety of biochemical and genetic techniques, including analysis of Runx3-GFP and R26LacZ/Runx3(Cre) or R26tdTomato/Runx3(Cre) reporter strains, we readily detected Runx3 in GIT-embedded leukocytes, dorsal root ganglia, skeletal elements and hair follicles. However, none of these approaches revealed detectable Runx3 levels in GIT Ep. Moreover, our analysis of the original Runx3(LacZ/LacZ) mice used in the previously reported study failed to reproduce the GIT expression of Runx3. The lack of evidence for Runx3 expression in normal GIT Ep creates a serious challenge to the published data and undermines the notion that Runx3 is a TS involved in cancer pathogenesis.

    Copyright © 2011 EMBO Molecular Medicine.

    PMID:
    21786422
    [PubMed – in process]

    1. Great paper by a group that has published one year BEFORE Li et al. 2002 in Cell (with Ito senior author), that Runx3 ist not expressed in gastrointestinal epithelium. Cudos to the group of Groner for insisting on that story for 9 years.

      The fact that the LacZ-Knock-in results differed from previously published work should have required special scrutiny on behalf of Ito, so he cannot completely blame his lab workers, he should have looked closely himself. Because what is most interesting about the Levanon et al paper is that they 1.) obtained the antibodies that Ito used to explain in an 2009 Oncogene paper that the dispute would originate from wrong antibodies used and found that they do not reproducibly detect Runx3 in cells undisputebly expressing it and 2.) they can also not reproduce the original Li et al. claim of strong GI epithelium LacZ staining by using the very same LacZ-knock-in mice used in that original study and provided by Ito himselfe.

      So this Li et al. cell paper of 2002 is a very clear candidate for a retraction, as the results are irreproducible, the irreproducible part of the paper was questionable even before due to previous reports and the irreproducible part makes for a big conclusion that falls completely apart if one acknowledges that the results are wrong.

      Very difficult to understand how these results came together in the cell paper unless one assumes some sort of misconduct…….a lot of people seem to have done a lot of research on the basis of Lee et al….

      Anyone active in the field who can give some more insight?

      1. little update on the Ito case.

        http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/11/national-university-of-singapore.html?ref=hp

        It took the NUS a little less than two months to conclude that there is nothing fishy in Ito’s 2002 Cell paper. They call it just a scientific dispute, just “Honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data”.

        No word that using Ito’s original LacZ Knock-in mice the expression of Runx3 in GI epithelia could not be replicated. I personally call that irreproducible results, not honest difference in interpretation of data. Where did the massive LacZ staining in the 2002 Cell paper come from?

  12. Fraud is not restricted to Singapore. Agreed. But a close look at the practices in Singapore will show that the Melendez matter is just the tip of the iceberg. Take a close look at the highly productive research groups not just in the biosciences but in other areas such as engineering and physical sciences. One will see a lot of self-plagiarism, using work of others without proper credit, “guest authorships” to administrators, etc. take a look at the “records” of deans, vice presidents and deputy presidents – who spend almost 15 to 18 hours per day in bureaucratic work – you will see “scientists” with 30 to 40 publications per year (with a graduate student population that barely write in English). All for KPIs and bonus bucks! Abnormal Science is absolutely right. NUS, if it wants to be a truly internationally renowned university, needs outside help.

  13. There is an extensive piece here about a new way (in 2009) to reduce the symptoms of analphylactic shock:

    http://www.healthjockey.com/2009/07/23/novel-way-to-reduce-the-symptoms-of-anaphylactic-shock-uncovered/

    The only problem is that one of the authors, professor Eddy Liew, quoted above, does not now believe most of it.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Foo Liew
    Date: Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 3:05 PM
    Subject: Re: estimate veracity requested: J Immunol. 2010 Mar 1;184(5):2620-6 and Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 16;106(24):9773-8
    To: clare francis

    Dear Ms Francis

    I am not sure who you are and therefore could not have replied for sure.

    The University of Glasgow has been investigating all the Melendez papers connected with the University. The two papers you referred to below have been investigated closely. Our interim report is that the JI paper is sound with minimum contribution from Melendez and his post doc, who did the experiment form his lab, provide the raw data which checked out with the published data. The PNAS has far more irregularities and a decision will be made soon as to whether to retract the paper or otherwise.

    The EJI papers you referred to have been investigated and this process continues.

    Thank you for your interest.

    Prof F Y Liew

    Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation
    University of Glasgow, G12 8TA, UK
    Tel: 00 44 141 330 8411
    Fax 0044 330 4297

    From: clare francis
    Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2011 13:16:32 +0100
    To: F Y Liew
    Subject: estimate veracity requested: J Immunol. 2010 Mar 1;184(5):2620-6 and Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 16;106(24):9773-8

    Dear professor FY Liew,

    What is your opinion about the scientific veracity of papers 1 and 2 below?

    1. IL-33 exacerbates autoantibody-induced arthritis.

    Xu D, Jiang HR, Li Y, Pushparaj PN, Kurowska-Stolarska M, Leung BP, Mu R, Tay HK, McKenzie AN, McInnes IB, Melendez AJ, Liew FY.
    J Immunol. 2010 Mar 1;184(5):2620-6. Epub 2010 Feb 5.
    PMID: 20139274

    2. The cytokine interleukin-33 mediates anaphylactic shock.
    Pushparaj PN, Tay HK, H’ng SC, Pitman N, Xu D, McKenzie A, Liew FY, Melendez AJ.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 16;106(24):9773-8. Epub 2009 Jun 8.
    PMID: 19506243

    Recently I reminded you to look into odd statistics in 2 Eur J Immunology papers of which you are the editor.

    How is that review coming on? When did you start the review? The e-mails were never answered. They did not bounce back, but it is possible the e-mail was not working. I did find the address from your publicaitons.

    Please find the original messages below.

    C.F.

    1. Well spotted John Smith JR January 27, 2012 at 12:42.

      “We take accusations of research misconduct extremely seriously” is code.

      By the way has anybody heard anything about the National University of Singapore investigation?
      It is now the end of January 2012. Still, there is Easter and Christmas.

  14. Figure 7A is indeed very fishy !!!

    It looks like the Phospho-ERK from C5a (line 2) and C5a+DMS (line 4) treated cells have been patched. The P-ERK of C5a (line 2) looks quite similar to the basal ERK from control (line 1) but improved by playing with the contrast.

  15. In fact, the top line 4 is likely coming from the bottom line 3.
    Note the same little black spot on the lower left.

    1. In reply to Alberto Contador July 17, 2012 at 9:29 am

      4 eyes are better than 2. I had noticed the littleblack spot on the left. Almost out of the picture,but not quite.

  16. Fascinating story. I studied at NUS in the 1990s and worked as an RA after graduation for a short period before commencing my medical education and training in Australia. I currently work (in Australia) in translational research and am a trained pathologist in laboratory medicine. For as long as I can remember there has always existed this incredible bias to ‘wine and dine’ foreign talent at the expense of locally trained graduates and post-docs in Singapore. I wouldn’t be surprised if this played a part in laying the groundwork for this level of possible scientific fraud.

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