Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘company of biologists’ Category

Biologist with five-year funding ban earns 7th and 8th retractions

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Biology OpenA biologist in New Jersey has retracted two more papers, bringing his total to eight retractions, following a finding by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

The analysis of the work of John Pastorino, previously a cell biologist at Rowan University, in Glassboro, concluded that he had doctored more than 40 images, resulting in a five-year funding ban.

The report flagged eight published papers (and an unpublished one), six of which had already received expressions of concern (EOCs). Nataly Shulga was a co-author on all eight papers. With these two new retractions in Biology Open and Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Bioenergetics, all of the flagged papers have now been retracted.

Here’s the retraction notice for the Biology Open paper, issued July 15:

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Grad student who confessed to falsifying data barred from government funding

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ori-logoNearly five months after a graduate student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine spontaneously confessed to cooking data, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) said today that she has agreed to exclude herself from receiving government funding for three years.

According to the ORI, Meredyth Forbes: Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey university biologist earns funding ban for doctoring more than 40 images

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John Pastorino

John Pastorino

A researcher has agreed to a five-year ban on Federal U.S. funding for research after the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) determined that he had falsified or fabricated more than 40 images in nine papers.

The findings, released by the ORI today, are another chapter in a case involving John Pastorino, a cell biologist at Rowan University. In February, we reported that two journals had issued expressions of concern (EOCs) for six of his papers.

Pastorino, according to the ORI,  Read the rest of this entry »

Einstein grad student admits cooking data, settles with Office of Research Integrity

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Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 1.05.49 PMOne Friday in January, graduate student Meredyth Forbes was reviewing material for her dissertation with her mentor when she decided to make a confession.

She “burst out with a statement that some of the data was fabricated,” said Edward Burns, research integrity officer at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where Forbes worked. It was, Burns told Retraction Watch: Read the rest of this entry »

Journals flag 6 papers, request investigation of New Jersey university biologists

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Two journals have published six expressions of concern for a pair of biologists at Rowan University, and are asking the university to undertake an investigation.

We contacted the editors of the two journals — Journal of Cell Science and Biology Open — who both said they decided to flag the papers after a reader raised concerns about potential re-use of blot images. The six papers are co-authored by John G. Pastorino, a molecular biologist at Rowan University in New Jersey and Nataly Shulga, whose LinkedIn identifies her as a research specialist at the same institution. According to the nearly identical notes, the journals (which share a publisher) undertook a review of the original data, but “felt unable to resolve this matter.”

The expressions of concern — five from the  Journal of Cell Science and one from Biology Open — include pretty much the same text. Here’s the note that appeared in JCS:

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Author with three retractions objects to mega-correction following investigation

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DevelopmentWe’ve uncovered a “mega-correction for a 2010 paper in Development, posted as the result of an investigation into the first author which has already led to three retractions.

Last year, the Utrecht University investigation into Pankaj Dhonukshe found “manipulation in some form” in four papers, and concluded that he committed a “violation of academic integrity.” The investigation also led to the retraction of a 2012 Cell paper and two papers in Nature that were co-authored by Dhonukshe. 

Development began investigating the corrected paper after being contacted by one of the authors and alerted to the results of the university’s investigation. The notice includes a statement from Dhonukshe objecting to the correction. Read the rest of this entry »

Third retraction for GWU biologist as university seeks to dismiss his $8 million lawsuit

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Rakesh Kumar, via George Washington University

Rakesh Kumar, via George Washington University

Cancer biologist Rakesh Kumar has chalked up another retraction, this time for “identical,” “duplicated,” and “replicated” figures and images.

It comes on the heels of a flurry of motions in Kumar’s $8 million lawsuit against his employer, George Washington University, for breach of contract and emotional distress because it removed him as department chair last year and placed his research on hold. Kumar remains employed by the university.

The retracted paper, published in Development in 2004, “Metastasis-associated protein 1 deregulation causes inappropriate mammary gland development and tumorigenesis,” analyzed the role of a protein, MTA1, in mammary gland development and cancer. It was published while Kumar was at M.D. Anderson in Houston, and has been cited 81 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

By our count, Kumar now has three retractions and five corrections. Numerous anonymous comments on Kumar’s papers have been posted on PubPeer, many of them critiquing images. Here’s the complete notice from Development: Read the rest of this entry »