Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘image manipulation’ Category

Cancer team loses two papers for image manipulation

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bba_2A team spread across multiple institutions in China and McGill University in Canada has retracted two cancer papers over “inaccurate and inappropriately processed Western Blots.”

Some of the figures were also reused between the two articles, both in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta General Subjects.

The articles both tested the cancer-fighting properties of a derivative of the active compound present in Boswellia serrata gum resin.

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Teflon toxicity paper fails to stick

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toxicological sciencesAn advanced online paper on prenatal toxicity of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), an industrial chemical used to make waterproof coatings and Teflon, is being retracted due to “some minor errors.”

High blood levels of PFOA have been tied to kidney disease in humans, as well as several cancers in animal models. The majority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific advisory board deemed PFOA “likely to be carcinogenic in humans” in 2006, though a decade later the EPA has yet to make a decision on regulations. The retracted paper found that exposing pregnant mice to PFOA altered hormone pathways in mammary glands.

According to the notice in Toxicological Sciences, there was a duplicated image in one of the figures, as well as “some minor errors.” Here’s figure 5B: Read the rest of this entry »

Nature retracts epigenetics paper by author who lost two Science papers last year

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cover_natureFrank Sauer, formerly of the University of California, Riverside, has had a 2002 letter on epigenetics retracted from Nature due to “inappropriate image manipulation.”

Sauer had two papers retracted from Science last year following a university investigation. Here’s the Nature notice for “Histone methylation by the Drosophila epigenetic transcriptional regulator Ash1:” Read the rest of this entry »

Gynecologic cancer researcher earns eighth retraction

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Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 5.50.31 PMNoriyuki Takai, a gynecologic cancer researcher in Japan, has notched one more retraction — bringing the total to eight — due to figures that were “processed inappropriately” and did “not accurately report the original data.”

According to the notice, Takai alone put the figures together in the 2006 Oncology paper, which tested a histone deacetylase inhibitor on endometrial and ovarian cancer cell lines. The team is part of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Oita University in Japan.

Takai lost four papers in 2013 in Cancer Letters, and three papers in 2012 in Gynecologic Oncology, also due to issues with figures.

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JCI retracts paper by stem cell biologist Jacob Hanna, citing “figure irregularities”

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jciapril2015The Journal of Clinical Investigation has retracted a 2004 paper by Jacob Hanna, a highly cited stem cell researcher in Israel whose work has been dogged by questions about its validity.

Questions about the work, and other articles on which Hanna was an author, were raised on PubPeer last November. This is his first retraction.

The retraction stems from “a number of figure irregularities;” the authors say they were “inadvertently introduced,” and subsequent work has supported their data and conclusions. However, due to the “number of serious mistakes,” the JCI editorial board chose to retract the article. Hanna and corresponding author Ofer Mandelboim at The Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology — part of Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, where Hanna used to work — say they have accepted the decision.

Hanna, currently at the Weizmann Institute of Science, studies ways to reprogram cells to become more versatile stem cells. He also spent time as a postdoc at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge and Mount Sinai, in New York City.

Six of Hanna’s papers have been cited more than 500 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The most-cited, with more than 1,000 citations, was a 2008 Nature paper.

The retracted article, “Novel APC-like properties of human NK cells directly regulate T cell activation,” has been cited 121 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The retracted paper examined the early steps of an immune response involving natural killer (NK) cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). From the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »

Wayne State neuroscientist fudged images in five papers

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Teresita L. Briones

Teresita L. Briones

Teresita Briones, a former nursing professor at Wayne State University in Detroit who studied neuroscience, manipulated images in five papers, according to the Office of Research Integrity.

Briones, who focused on neuroplasticity: Read the rest of this entry »

Former Columbia postdoc faked Alzheimer’s research in Cell and Nature

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cover_natureRyousuke Fujita, a former Columbia University postdoc who admitted to having faked the findings of a 2011 Cell paper in a retraction notice last year, also faked the results of a 2013 Nature paper, according to a new report from the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Fujita’s work, in conjunction with Asa Abeliovich, was widely hailed as a significant step forward, a way to turn skin cells into brain cells. But the story began falling apart when the Cell retraction said that he “acknowledged inappropriately manipulating image panels and data points, as well as misrepresenting the number of repeats performed.”

The ORI’s findings in the case also involve a 2013 Nature paper, “Integrative genomics identifies APOE ε4 effectors in Alzheimer’s disease,” and a paper never published. Fujita, according to the ORI: Read the rest of this entry »

Retraction to appear for beleaguered plant researcher Olivier Voinnet

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet, a researcher at ETH in Zurich who has corrected a number of his papers following critiques on PubPeer dating from late last year, is retracting a 2004 paper in The Plant Cell, according to the journal’s publisher.

Voinnet, the winner of the 2013 Rössler Prize, is a high-profile scientist, and scrutiny of his work has only grown since the initial revelations. In an unusual move, the journal and its publisher, the American Society of Plant Biologists, put out a press release about the situation today. Here’s the statement: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 6th, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Cancer researcher under investigation in Italy notches eighth retraction

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ejcancerAlfredo Fusco, the researcher in Italy who is under criminal investigation and has had seven papers retracted, has lost yet another study.

The investigation, which came to light in late 2013, had focused on eight papers thought to demonstrate evidence of image manipulation.

The latest paper, in the European Journal of Cancer, studied mice with a genetic alteration associated with lipomas (benign fatty growths) in humans.

Here’s part of the notice for “Expression of a truncated Hmga1b gene induces gigantism, lipomatosis and B-cell lymphomas in mice”: Read the rest of this entry »

Other shoe drops for MIT cancer researcher Robert Weinberg as Cell retraction appears

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cell cloningRobert Weinberg, a prominent cancer scientist whose papers often notch hundreds or thousands of citations, has lost a fourth paper, this time a 2009 publication in Cell.

Journal Genes and Development pulled two of Weinberg’s papers in March, stating that they had retracted the 2009 study because data from several experiments was used in figures that seemed to represent only one. The Genes and Development papers were sunk because the “same analytical methodology was used.”

At the time, the Cell retraction was unavailable, though a spokesperson informed us it was forthcoming. The paper has been cited 482 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Now that the notice has landed, here’s why the paper is being retracted: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

April 3rd, 2015 at 11:35 am