Neuroscience paper retracted after HHMI investigation finds scientist copied images without permission

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) asked a journal to retract a paper once it became clear that some of the images in it were actually from a different HHMI lab.

Here’s the notice, from the Journal of Comparative Neurology:

Retraction: The following article from Journal of Comparative Neurology 519: 661–689, 2011 “Lineage-based analysis of the development of the central complex of the drosophila brain” by W. Pereanu, A. Younossi-Hartenstein, J. Lovick, S. Spindler, and V. Hartenstein, published online on January 18, 2011 in Wiley Online Library (, has been retracted at the request of Howard Hughes Medical Institute after an investigation into data and figures supplied by Dr. Pereanu for the article.

HHMI tells Retraction Watch:

HHMI requested retraction of this paper after following its institutional policy and procedures on scientific misconduct, available at  This process involved a thorough investigation into the data provided for the paper by Dr. Wayne Pereanu, a former employee of HHMI at its Janelia Farm Research Campus.  The investigation, which was conducted over an eight-month period, found that the images of adult fly brains provided by Dr. Pereanu and published in the article had been copied by Dr. Pereanu from Dr. Tzumin Lee, a group leader at Janelia Farm Research Campus, without Dr. Lee’s permission.  With this retraction, HHMI considers the matter closed.

HHMI said they did not expect any other corrections or retractions. The study has been cited 10 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We tried reaching Pereanu, who is now working at MindSpec Inc., whose mission is “to advance research on neurodevelopmental conditions,” for comment, along with Hartenstein, and will update with anything we hear back.

Update, 4 p.m. Eastern, 12/1/12: Hartenstein tells us that he is not retracting or correcting any other papers.

5 thoughts on “Neuroscience paper retracted after HHMI investigation finds scientist copied images without permission”

  1. Very unhappy to announce here that the superb work done by the ABnormal Science Blog has been wiped out from online access this very week. No traces of the informative posts in there, either in cache memory or in other sources, can be found anywhere. The posts are thus lost.

    I urge readers and whistleblowers who have kept cache/backup copies of that blog that disponibilize them as a .pdf document and divulge here. Let us not let the good work by Dr Zwirmer fade into oblivious for the delight of his enemies and enemies of good science practice.

    1. Perhaps he should have used a paid account, instead of a free one? The account had been unused for a long time, that ‘s why it was wiped, and the rules are pretty clear. What am I missing?

    1. FANTASTIC!! NOW — Really important!! Please do you have a way/software of backing up all contents? It will be removed really fast, I am sure! All contents must be backed up and made into a comprehensive .pdf file for sharing!

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