Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘obokata’ Category

STAP stem cell researcher Obokata loses another paper

with 4 comments

Nature protocols

The first author of two high-profile Nature retractions about a technique to easily create stem cells has lost another paper in Nature Protocols.

Haruko Obokata, once “a lab director’s dream,” according to The New Yorker, also had her PhD revoked from Waseda University last fall.

After learning of concerns that two figures are “very similar” and “some of the error bars look unevenly positioned,” the rest of the authors were unable to locate the raw data, according to the note. The journal could not reach Obokata for comment before publishing the retraction.

Reproducible subcutaneous transplantation of cell sheets into recipient mice” has been cited 21 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. It was published in June 2011, soon after Obokata earned her PhD. 

Here’s the note:

Read the rest of this entry »

“Potentially groundbreaking,” “highly provocative:” Nature STAP stem cell peer reviews published

with 36 comments

nature 73014A day after we published the cover letter and peer review reports about the STAP stem cell paper rejected by Science, Science‘s news section has published the same material for the version rejected by Nature.

From Science‘s news story about the document: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 11th, 2014 at 9:57 am

Posted in obokata

“Truly extraordinary,” “simply not credible,” “suspiciously sharp:” A STAP stem cell peer review report revealed

with 26 comments

science 62714Retraction Watch readers are of course familiar with the STAP stem cell saga, which was punctuated by tragedy last month when one of the authors of the two now-retracted papers in Nature committed suicide.

In June, Science‘s news section reported:

Sources in the scientific community confirm that early versions of the STAP work were rejected by Science, Cell, and Nature.

Parts of those reviews reviews have surfaced, notably in a RIKEN report. Science‘s news section reported:

For the Cell submission, there were concerns about methodology and the lack of supporting evidence for the extraordinary claims, says [stem cell scientist Hans] Schöler, who reviewed the paper and, as is standard practice at Cell, saw the comments of other reviewers for the journal. At Science, according to the 8 May RIKEN investigative committee’s report, one reviewer spotted the problem with lanes being improperly spliced into gel images. “This figure has been reconstructed,” the RIKEN report quotes from the feedback provided by a Science reviewer. The committee writes that the “lane 3” mentioned by the Science reviewer is probably the lane 3 shown in Figure 1i in the Nature article. The investigative committee report says [co-author Haruko] Obokata told the committee that she did not carefully consider the comments of the Science reviewer.

The entire reports, however, have not been made available. Retraction Watch has obtained the full text of the editor’s cover letter and reviews of the rejected Science paper. The reviews are full of significant questions and doubts about the work, as would be expected in a rejection. We present them here, to fill in some of the gaps and help readers consider how the research eventually made it through peer review: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 10th, 2014 at 8:30 am

Harvard stem cell scientist Vacanti taking leave in wake of STAP retractions

with 2 comments


Charles Vacanti, via BWH

Charles Vacanti, a Harvard anesthesiologist and stem cell pioneer whose name appeared on both retracted STAP stem cell papers, is giving up his post as chair of anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and taking a year-long sabbatical.

According to the Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog, which as become a must-read for anyone interested in the STAP saga, Vacanti — the corresponding author, with Haruko Obokata, on one of the Nature articles, and a co-author on the other — told colleagues in an email: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

August 12th, 2014 at 4:44 pm

STAP stem cell co-author commits suicide: Reports

with 33 comments

Yoshiki Sasai, via RIKEN

Yoshiki Sasai, via RIKEN

In a stunning and tragic development, a co-author of the now-retracted Nature papers claiming to have found an easy way to create stem cells has committed suicide, according to news reports in Japan.

According to the Japan Times, RIKEN deputy director Yoshiki Sasai has died: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 4th, 2014 at 11:10 pm

STAP stem cell papers officially retracted as Nature argues peer review couldn’t have detected fatal problems

with 12 comments

nature 714A significant chapter of the nearly six-month saga of the STAP stem cell controversy has come to an end, with Nature running retraction notices for the two papers involved. The journal has also published an editorial about the case that’s worth a read.

The retractions for “Bidirectional developmental potential in reprogrammed cells with acquired pluripotency” and “Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency” both read: Read the rest of this entry »

Obokata agrees to retract both STAP stem cell papers: Report

with 8 comments

nature 4 9 14Last month we wrote that Haruko Obokata, the Japanese stem cell researcher whose work is under a cloud of suspicion, had agreed to call for the retraction of one of two disputed Nature papers about her findings. Now Reuters is reporting that Obokata will ask for the second article to be pulled, as well (one of the articles was a research letter).

According to the Reuters account: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

June 4th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Posted in obokata

Obokata agrees to retract one of two STAP stem cell papers in Nature: Reports

with 18 comments

nature 2-27-14The Kyodo News service has reported that Haruko Obokata has agreed to retract one of the two Nature papers on an easy method of making stem cells.

According to the report: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

May 28th, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Waseda University checking dissertations for plagiarism in wake of STAP stem cell misconduct finding

with 15 comments

wasedaWaseda University in Japan says it will be vetting every doctoral dissertation it awards its graduate-level students in Advanced Science & Engineering* for signs of plagiarism, according to a report in the Japan News, a site of the Yomiuri Shimbun. The paper reports that:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

April 8th, 2014 at 11:30 am

Authors of controversial STAP stem cell study author correct 2011 paper

with 2 comments

tissue engineering aThere have been a number of developments in the unraveling of two Nature studies out of the RIKEN Institute in Japan and Harvard purporting to show an easy way to create stem cells. There was an interim report of RIKEN’s investigation last Friday, and more details emerged this week.

And today, the Japan Times reported that last week, a correction of a 2011 paper by many of the same authors appeared in Tissue Engineering Part A. Here’s the correction notice, dated March 13: Read the rest of this entry »