ORI investigating work from Caltech lab as PNAS paper is retracted
Here’s the notice, which ran this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS):
Retraction for “Selective cell death mediated by small conditional RNAs,” by Suvir Venkataraman, Robert M. Dirks, Christine T. Ueda, and Niles A. Pierce, which appeared in issue 39, September 28, 2010, of Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (107:16777–16782; first published September 7, 2010; 10.1073/pnas.1006377107).
The undersigned authors wish to note the following: “Anomalous experimental results observed by multiple members of the Pierce lab during follow-on studies raised concerns of possible research misconduct. An investigation committee of faculty at the California Institute of Technology indicated in its final report on this matter that the preponderance of the evidence and the reasons detailed in the report established that the first author falsified and misrepresented data published in this paper. An investigation at the United States Office of Research Integrity is ongoing. The undersigned authors hereby retract this paper and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to other investigators.”
Robert M. Dirks
Christine T. Ueda
Niles A. Pierce
Venkataraman, who did not sign the notice, is no longer at Caltech. He’s not named among the alumni of the Pierce lab, but is in group photos there. He is listed as scientific and executive manager of the Harley Street Fertility Clinic in London.
Caltech tells us:
Later lab results did not replicate the published data.
We asked if the investigative report would be released, and Caltech responded by saying that they were cooperating with ORI’s investigation.
According to the paper:
This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (R01 CA140759), the Pardee Foundation, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Molecular Programming Project (CCF 0832824), the Caltech Center for Biological Circuit Design, the Beckman Institute at Caltech, the Caltech Innovation Initiative, and a Caltech grubstake fund.
The authors disclose that they hold a patent on the method used in the study. It’s not clear which of the first several on this page is the one connected to the work.
The paper has been cited 34 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.