A rising star in the field of infectious disease has resigned from the University of Dundee in Scotland after the university upheld the findings of an investigation concluding that he committed misconduct.
Earlier this year, Robert Ryan was suspended amidst the investigation, which focused on data doctoring in several publications. We’ve now been forwarded an internal email from Julian Blow, dean of the School of Life Sciences, which alerts staff that Ryan has resigned, and the institution has upheld its finding of misconduct, despite Ryan’s appeal.
Blow’s email to staff, dated November 9, states:
The University has recently undertaken an investigation into an allegation of research misconduct. This investigation confirmed that Dr Ryan seriously breached normal scientific practice in several scientific publications before and after he joined the University, including misrepresentation of clinical data and the duplication and misrepresentation of images in 12 different publications. An appeal has been heard, which upheld a decision of serious research misconduct.
Dr Ryan has now resigned his position and is no longer employed by the University.
No other members of staff at the University were implicated in the allegations.
Ryan’s work focused on infections that can be deadly for patients with lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
In 2013, Ryan received the prestigious Society for General Microbiology’s Fleming Prize; in 2014, he was awarded the Lister Prize fellowship, totaling 200,000 pounds over five years. That same year, he received the RSE Patrick Neill Medal.
Six of Ryan’s papers have been cited at least 100 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.
We’ve found two corrections for Ryan’s papers, and several others have been questioned on PubPeer, such as “Cyclic di-GMP signalling in the virulence and environmental adaptation of Xanthomonas campestris” published in Molecular Microbiology in 2006 and cited 91 times. Commenters have raised allegations about other papers, such as a 2012 PLOS ONE paper, and a 2010 paper in PNAS.
Like Retraction Watch? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post, or subscribe to our daily digest. Click here to review our Comments Policy. For a sneak peek at what we’re working on, click here.