Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘cell biology’ Category

JACS corrects, removes author from previously flagged paper

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JACSA paper at the center of a high-profile case of alleged misconduct in Hong Kong has earned a correction notice.

The correction replaces an expression of concern on the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) paper, which followed allegations of data manipulation. It provides some un-cropped images, and removes a co-author from the paper. However, it does not appear to address previous allegations of misconduct, nor a recent ruling from an investigation at Hong Kong University (HKU), which found that some of the data were “invalid.”

Here is the correction notice for “Molecular Imaging of Peroxynitrite with HKGreen-4 in Live Cells and Tissues:”

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Heart researcher faked 70+ experiments, 100+ images

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ori-logoA former researcher at the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago faked dozens of experiments and images over the course of six years, according to a new finding from the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Ricky Malhotra, who studied heart cells, admitted to committing misconduct at both institutions, the ORI said in its report of the case. The fakery involved three National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications, one NIH progress report, one paper, seven presentations, and one image file. Despite an investigation at the University of Michigan, where Malhotra was from 2005-2006, he continued this falsification at [University of Chicago], after the [University of Michigan] research misconduct investigation was completed,” according to the ORI. The agency found that he Read the rest of this entry »

Dev Cell paper retracted after author admits to doctoring data

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Developmental CellThe authors of a Developmental Cell paper have retracted it after the first author admitted to manipulating and falsifying data and reagents.

The problems came to light after the authors couldn’t reproduce the findings, about a mechanism underlying meiosis. When questioned about the matter, the first author of the paper, Saurav Malhotra, admitted to doctoring data and materials. 

Here’s the retraction notice to the paper, “The Anaphase-Promoting Complex/Cyclosome Is Essential for Entry into Meiotic M-Phase: 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 »

Former Pitt postdoc admits to faking data

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pittA former postdoc at the University of Pittsburgh has admitted to committing research misconduct in published papers and in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications.

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) said on Friday that Kenneth Walker, who was studying the development of the urinary tract,  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 »

JACS imaging paper “under editorial review” has been replicated, says author

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JACS The author of a paper “under editorial review” at the Journal of the American Chemical Society has told us the results the paper have been replicated, contrary to claims made by a former member of her lab.

What’s more, the author said she has submitted a correction to the paper, which is currently flagged with an expression of concern, to provide uncropped images.

We originally reported on the case in February from the perspective of Roger Wong, a former chemist at Hong Kong University who said he hasn’t been able to replicate the findings out of the lab of Dan Yang, a current chemistry professor at HKU (who is female, despite the fact that “Dan” is frequently used as a male name in English). We unfortunately failed to reach Yang in February because of an email glitch; once we contacted Yang, she told us she does not believe Wong’s side of the story:

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Singapore investigation leads to another retraction, correction for Harvard research fellow

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Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 8.12.49 AM

After an investigation found evidence of misconduct, a biologist has issued a third retraction.

Sudarsanareddy Lokireddy — now a research fellow at Harvard Medical School — “admitted falsification,” a Research Integrity Officer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore told us in December. According to The Scientist, another journal has also published a correction that the authors had requested earlier.

The newly retracted paper is “Myostatin is a novel tumoral factor that induces cancer cachexia,” published in Biochemical Journal and cited 40 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. Here’s the retraction note:

Sperm paper impaired by “corporate company” analysis

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2.coverWithout a certain protein, mouse sperm have motility disorders. That’s the conclusion of a paper that has itself been stopped — by errors in the data analysis, carried out by a third-party company.

The retraction note pins the analysis, which led to faulty data, on a “corporate company.” Aside from the companies that sell the kits used for substrates, assays, and detection, there’s only one company mentioned in the paper:

Generation of the mouse model was performed by the Cyagen Company (Guangzhou, China)

However, a representative of Cyagen says it does not offer the type of analysis described by the retraction note.

Here’s the full retraction note for the 2015 paper in Biology of Reproduction (which is paywalled — tsk, tsk):
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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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