Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘cell biology’ Category

Former professor shoots dean who fired him for misconduct

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MountSinai_IcahnSchool_LogoA former assistant professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York fired a shotgun yesterday at two men– including the school’s dean, who had fired him six years ago.

The New York Times reports that Hengjun Chao was taken into custody on charges of attempted murder, after his shots hit Mount Sinai dean Dennis Charney and another man outside of a suburban New York deli. Both men were treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Chao was fired from Mount Sinai in 2010 after an investigating committee found that he Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 30th, 2016 at 9:36 am

Authors retract study with contaminated cell lines

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MBoCAuthors of a molecular biology paper have pulled it after realizing that their cell lines were contaminated.

According to the notice in Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC), the contamination occurred by “unknown means” in the senior authors’ laboratory, who told us the mistake was a difficult one to catch. He added that they discovered the problem after other researchers published conflicting results.

He also noted that the contaminated cell lines were not used for experiments in any other papers.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued on August 1: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal flags two papers by prominent diabetes researcher, more questioned on PubPeer

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DiabetesDiabetes has issued two expressions of concern (EOCs) for papers co-authored by leading diabetes researcher Kathrin Maedler, adding to her previous count of one retraction and three corrections.

Both papers were questioned on PubPeer, alongside several others co-authored by Maedler, who is based at the University of Bremen in Germany. As we previously reported, PubPeer comments have led to one retraction for Maedler in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), and corrections in various other journals.

One of those corrections has now earned an EOC from Diabetes, which also extends to the original paper. Here are the notices, which asks the University of Bremen to investigate further:  Read the rest of this entry »

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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Five more retractions for biologist with funding ban brings total to six

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Journal of Cell ScienceAn erstwhile cell biologist has retracted five papers published in the Journal of Cell Science (JCS), all of which had been flagged in a recent investigation by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

The investigation found John Pastorino, previously a cell biologist at Rowan University in New Jersey, guilty of doctoring more than 40 images, resulting in a five-year funding ban.

The probe identified eight papers co-authored by Pastorino, six of which had already received expressions of concern (EOC) — including all of the newly retracted JCS papers. Nataly Shulga is a co-author on all eight papers.

Last week, we reported on the first of the expected retractions of the flagged papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Here are the retraction notices, which are the same for all five JCS papers: Read the rest of this entry »

1st retraction for biologist who doctored 40+ images, received funding ban

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JBC CoverThe Journal of Biological Chemistry has retracted a paper that was one of eight flagged in a recent investigation by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). The investigation — which concluded that a biologist had falsified or fabricated more than 40 images — resulted in a five-year funding ban. 

In May, the ORI announced that John Pastorino, an erstwhile cell biologist at Rowan University in New Jersey, falsified and/or fabricated eight of his published papers (and one unpublished one). Nataly Shulga is a co-author on all eight papers. Six of those eight papers had already received expressions of concern (EOC).

The first retraction to result from the investigation is one of the two published papers that had not been tagged by an EOC. Here’s the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Figures questioned online were manipulated, says Malaysia investigation

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The image that excited twitter: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper

The image that set Twitter abuzz: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper, in which every cell in each stage of cell death appeared to be an exact copy.

Many figures in four papers by a research team in Malaysia contain duplication or manipulation, a university committee has found, calling for multiple retractions.

We learned about issues with three of the papers, including one in Scientific Reports, earlier this week when they were the talk of Twitter. As journals issued expressions of concern, and an expert wondered how the papers passed peer review at all, the first author, a researcher at the University of Malaya (UM), denied allegations of duplication.

UM was alerted to allegations of misconduct in the Scientific Reports paper last Saturday, and according to a statement published today:

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Images that raised eyebrows flagged by another journal; Malaysian gov’t investigates

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Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 9.17.15 AMMultiple investigations have been launched into allegations of blatant duplications by a research group in Malaysia.

Last week, users alleged on Twitter that three papers by the same team included pictures of cells that were copied and pasted. First author Nima Samie, affiliated with University of Malaya in Malaysia, denied the accusations — but both the Malaysian government and now two journals sees cause for further investigation.

Frontiers in Pharmacology published an expression of concern this morning:

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Misidentified cell line fells cancer paper

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Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 2.52.06 PMResearchers have retracted a paper about a new molecular target for cancer after realizing they had mistaken the identity of their cell line.

It’s all too easy to mix up cell lines, so we see plenty of retractions for that reason — and, according to an expert in the area, many more cases lurk uncorrected in the literature.

The retraction notice for “Knockdown of tumor protein D52-like 2 induces cell growth inhibition and apoptosis in oral squamous cell carcinoma” in Cell Biology International explains the authors’ perspective on this case:

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Author denies accusations of blatant duplication

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NPGTwitter is abuzz today over allegations that a recent paper in Scientific Reports contains a blatant example of duplication.

According to the allegations, a group of researchers in Malaysia have used the same four images to represent some 30 cells at different stages of cell death. One researcher has even suggested the allegedly doctored images appear in three different papers.

Is this a manipulated image? See for yourself:

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