Former Emory, Georgetown postdoc falsified cancer research data: ORI

A former postdoc at Emory and Georgetown Universities falsified data in manuscripts and a grant application to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, according to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mahandranauth Chetram committed misconduct while at Georgetown, the ORI said in a finding released today

by falsifying Western blot images and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) data included in an unfunded grant application, R01 CA193344-01A1, and in a manuscript submitted to Cancer Cell.

The Georgetown investigation wrapped up while Chetram was completing a second postdoc at Emory, which then investigated. At Emory, according to the ORI, he

falsified RT-PCR data on Excel spreadsheets in the research record and in a figure generated from the false data included in a manuscript submitted to and withdrawn from Scientific Reports.

That manuscript, “Imipramine Blue Sensitively and Selectively Targets FLT3-ITD Positive Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells,” appears to have been published, but without Chetram’s name. Kevin Bunting, the last author of the paper, told Retraction Watch that Chetram agreed to be removed from the submission.

Bunting said Chetram had contributed just one panel of one figure, and that the panel was removed. The change, he said, “was vetted thoroughly.”

Chetram, who won an award for a poster he presented at Georgetown in 2013, was terminated from Emory early this summer. He agreed to a ban on funding from the U.S. Federal government for three years starting last month, and to not serve on any Public Health Service committees, including NIH peer review committees, for the same amount of time.

The notice is signed by Kathy Partin, who temporarily stepped down as head of the ORI last week.

Update, 1645 UTC, 11/27/17: Georgetown research integrity officer Sheila Zimmet tells Retraction Watch:

The data irregularities were identified internally and brought to the attention of university officials. Due to confidentiality requirements, I cannot be more specific.

The university Research Integrity Committee conducted its proceedings pursuant to the University Code of Procedure for Alleged Misconduct in Research, with appropriate notice to ORI and the NIH Office of Extramural Research.

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3 thoughts on “Former Emory, Georgetown postdoc falsified cancer research data: ORI”

  1. “Chetram, who won an award for a poster he presented at Georgetown in 2013, was terminated from Emory early this summer. He agreed to a ban on funding from the U.S. Federal government for three years starting last month, and to not serve on any Public Health Service committees, including NIH peer review committees, for the same amount of time.”

    How can someone like this continue acting a scientist?

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