Shigeaki Kato, an endocrinology researcher at the University of Tokyo who retracted a paper late last month, has resigned amidst an investigation into whether he committed misconduct, Japanese media outlets are reporting.
According to the reports, the university has been investigating Shigeaki Kato and his group, affiliated with the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, for scientific misconduct. The investigation was prompted by an outside whistleblower’s allegations in January about 24 of Kato’s papers. The whistleblower claimed that the papers manipulated and reused data improperly, and created a YouTube video to spread the word, as ScienceInsider reported earlier this year.
One of the 24 papers, which appeared in Cell in 2003, was retracted on March 29, as we reported then. The group also retracted two papers last year for duplication, and corrected a Nature paper because “[s]everal lanes of the [chromatin immunoprecipitation, or ChIP] analyses…were inadvertently duplicated or erroneously created during figure assembly.”
In the midst of the ongoing investigation, Kato resigned on March 31 for “personal reasons.” Despite his departure, the university says the investigation continues, and that it will consider disciplinary actions if Kato is found guilty of misconduct.