Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘cell biology’ Category

Harvard biofilm paper in Cell breaks down after challenged findings can’t be repeated

with 4 comments

CELL_161_4.inddResearchers at Harvard have retracted a Cell paper on biofilm disassembly after they repeated the experiment—following contradictory results from another team—and the new results “can no longer support” the original conclusions.

The 2012 paper, “A Self-Produced Trigger for Biofilm Disassembly that Targets Exopolysaccharide,” describes a factor called norspermidine, produced by the bacteria Bacillus subtilis, that appeared to break down biofilms. The researchers used it to prevent biofilm formation of B. subtilis, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. The paper was cited 72 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Two years after it was published, a team from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the University of Dundee in the UK contradicted the findings in another Cell publication, “Norspermidine Is Not a Self-Produced Trigger for Biofilm Disassembly.” This time, the authors concluded that norspermidine is not present in B. subtilis biofilms, and actually promotes, rather than breaks down, biofilms. They wrote: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Megan Scudellari

May 14th, 2015 at 3:15 pm

“[W]e can learn from these bad actors:” Trail of retractions follows former Vanderbilt researcher’s fraud

with 9 comments

JPhysiol_ak15Authors have retracted three papers from the Journal of Physiology because they contained “falsified or fabricated data.”

The papers, which address calcium signaling in heart muscle cells, are among the six pegged for retraction after an Office of Research Integrity (ORI) investigation into one of the authors, Igor Dzhura, formerly of Vanderbilt University. The ORI found that Dzhura had committed an enormous amount of fraud, involving dozens of faked images and more.

Dzhura was fired from a job at Novartis in November after the company discovered that his application had included the fraudulent work.

The three retracted Journal of Physiology papers and their citation figures, courtesy of Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, are: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alla Katsnelson

May 14th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Author from China blames translation company for plagiarism in retracted vascular paper

with 2 comments

apjcpDo we need a “throwing vendors under the bus” category here at Retraction Watch?

Earlier this year, we reported on the retraction of a paper because of sloppy work by an outside lab. Now, we have the story of a retraction for “negligence” by a translator. Specifically, the author says the passages shared between the retracted 2015 vascular paper and another paper in EMBO Journal are a result of “negligence on the part of the translation company that I trusted to make my manuscript ready for submission.”

Here’s more from the notice in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, written by Yong Jiang, of Laboratory Medical College, Jilin Medical College, China: Read the rest of this entry »

Biology team with two retractions now correcting references to nixed papers

without comments

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 5.59.20 PMA team of biologists that retracted two papers after being “unable to replicate some of the results obtained by the first author of the paper” has now issued a correction to fix references to the two sunk publications.

The corrected paper is a review in the Journal of Virology — known there as a Gem — which discusses how viruses use the membranes of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to replicate.

The two retractions were not signed by their first author, Riccardo Bernasconi, who won the STSBC-Roche Diagnostics award for one of the papers in 2012. The correction carries all three authors’ names, including Bernasconi’s (as second author).

Here’s more from the correction for “How Viruses Hijack the ERAD Tuning Machinery”: Read the rest of this entry »

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

with 6 comments

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 »

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

with 21 comments

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

Cell biologists in South Korea retract two papers

with 3 comments

jbcA group of researchers at two universities in South Korea have retracted two cell biology papers featuring retinoic acid.

The most recent retraction appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Although, in typical JBC fashion, the reason for it is anyone’s guess.

Here’s the unhelpful notice for “ASXL1 represses retinoic acid receptor-mediated transcription through associating with HP1 and LSD1:” Read the rest of this entry »

Second cell bio retraction from UPitt investigation of tweaked images

without comments

Journal of Cellular Physiology: Volume 229, Number 10, October 2Two researchers, Tong Wu and Chang Han, have lost a second paper as the result of a University of Pittsburgh investigation into image manipulations.

The first retraction, in Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, went live in February. The researchers, currently based at Tulane University, were originally tapped by pseudonymous tipster Juuichi Jigen, who created a website in 2012 to chronicle the allegations.

The blog lists six papers by the pair with supposedly questionable figures. According to Jigen, this latest retraction, in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, contains a figure (2A) that appears to reuse data from another paper, and another figure (3) where the data appear to be manipulated.

Read the rest of this entry »

Are retractions more frequent in stem cell research?

with 10 comments

sci eng ethicsThere are a number of fields that seem to punch above their weight on Retraction Watch: Anesthesiology, home to the world record holder (and runner-up), and psychology, home to Diederik Stapel and others. But the red-hot field of stem cell research is another that makes frequent appearances, last year’s STAP controversy being particularly prominent.

There’s an interesting (but unfortunately paywalled) recent paper in Science and Engineering Ethics, “The Acid Test for Biological Science: STAP Cells, Trust, and Replication,” by Cheryl Lancaster, a small part of which tries to answer that question.

Lancaster applies the same methods Fang, Steen, and Casadevall used to broadly measure the causes of retractions in all life science and biomedicine to the specific field of stem cell research: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 26th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Figure dupe sinks cell bio paper

with 3 comments

cellular biohemTulane researchers Tong Wu and Chang Han, who have been anonymously accused of figure duplication in the past, have now finally lost a paper for that reason.

The frequent plagiarism tipster Juuichi Jigen (a pseudonym) set up a blog in 2012 alleging that the pair inappropriately reused images in six other papers, though none of those have been retracted. The recent notice, issued at the end of January by the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, states that the figure duplication was confirmed by the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Research Integrity. Han, the first author, was at UPitt when the paper was published in 2008, though she moved to join Wu at Tulane in 2009.

Here’s the notice for “Regulation of Wnt/ß-Catenin Pathway by cPLA2α and PPARδ“: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

February 9th, 2015 at 11:30 am