Bharat Aggarwal, an influential MD Anderson researcher who has been accused in the blogosphere of manipulating images in a slew of published studies, acknowledged to Retraction Watch that the Houston institution is investigating the matter. Reached by Retraction Watch by phone at his office, Aggarwal said MD Anderson
has been looking into it and I think that they will tell everybody what it is all about. I think that somebody out there is putting this whole thing together and their mind is made up.
However, Aggarwal, chief of the center’s cytokine research section, denied that any retractions of his papers were forthcoming. He refused to comment on whether officials had confiscated his computer, as a commenter to this blog has claimed.
Allegations of misconduct by Aggarwal have surfaced recently on at least two blogs. One, devoted to the subject, lists 14 papers. Abnormal Science also been on the trail and has posted images for evaluation.
Aggarwal’s papers are highly cited. One, published in Science when he was still at Genentech in 1985, has been cited more than 1,700 times. according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Another, about the potential anti-cancer effects of curcumin, has been cited 700 times.
He has also published on resveratrol, the component in red wine that some researchers claim has anti-aging and other healthy properties. One of his papers on the subject has been cited 370 times. He also edited a book on the topic that included a contribution from Dipak Das, the UConn researcher found to have committed 145 counts of scientific misconduct.
Aggarwal’s bio is worth a look:
Dr. Aggarwal has published more than 600 papers in peer-reviewed international journals (including Science, Nature, Cancer Cell, PNAS, Journal of Exp. Medicine, JBC, Cancer Research, Journal of Immunology), invited reviews and book chapters. He has been listed as one of the most highly cited scientist by ISI since 2001; and has been included in ISI Highly Cited among most highly cited authors in Immunology category. He has also been listed as top 25 researchers in apoptosis area in the World. His papers exhibit high-citation index (over 1000 for some).
Dr. Aggarwal is inventor/coinventor on over 33 patents.
Dr. Aggarwal has received numerous awards including World Congress Science Prize from Oxygen Club of California 2010, Excellance in Research Award of McCormick Research Institute from the American Association of Nutrition, 2008, Outstanding Scientist Award from the American Association of Indian Scientists in Cancer Research, 2006, Ranbaxy Award for Outstanding Scientist of the year, 2004.
Needless to say, we’ll be following this case closely.
Please see our follow-up posts. Also, while we appreciate the free flow of ideas, we have had to unapprove several very abusive comments. Please refrain from ad hominem attacks, as they undermine this community’s attempts to improve our understanding of the scientific process.