Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Retraction nine appears for Alirio Melendez

with 4 comments

alirio_melendezAn immunologist found by a former employer to have committed misconduct in more than 20 papers has had another paper retracted.

Here’s the notice for “Refining siRNA in vivo transfection: Silencing SPHK1 reveals its key role in C5a-induced inflammation in vivo,” by Alirio Melendez and colleagues in The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief.

Data presented in this paper have been manipulated digitally. Figures shown in this article have been replicated in other papers depicting different experimental conditions. The other papers are:

Puneet P, Yap CT, Wong L, Lam Y, Koh DR, Moochhala S, Pfeilschifter J, Huwiler A, Melendez AJ. SphK1 regulates proinflammatory responses associated with endotoxin and polymicrobial sepsis. Science 2010;328:1290–4.

The study has been cited 18 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The Science paper to which the notice refers has already been subject to an Expression of Concern and a correction.

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 18th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

  • Paul K March 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    The figures in these articles were a very nice catch.
    Hint: Compare the microscopy images in both papers. The fact some images were cropped and reused in the ‘companion article’ make the duplication more difficult to find, but it’s there!


  • ferniglab March 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    The re-use of images by serial offenders such as Melendez is quite amazing. Normally one has sufficient images for 100s of figures. It begs a simple question: did they only do one experiment and take a few pictures? It would be fascinating to know the state of the raw data.

    • bank March 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      ferniglab: I agree with you. It is amazing to me how many of these unethical practices are caught by examining western blots and so forth, given that it is very easy to make a sham western blot using different samples. It makes me consider that the number of actual sham blots is very much higher than the number who are caught.

    • fernando pessoa March 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      No experiements is also a possibility. Maybe they found the images under the fridge in the corridor. All sorts of things slip behind, or under the fridges.

  • Post a comment

    Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.