Third retraction for Karel Bezouška, of lab break-in fame

bichaw_v052i049.inddWe’ve found a third retraction for Karel Bezouška, the Czech scientist, who, as we reported this summer, broke into a lab in an attempt to tamper with experiments trying to replicate his own falsified data.

The article, “Molecular Characterization of Binding of Calcium and Carbohydrates by an Early Activation Antigen of Lymphocytes CD69,” had appeared in 2003 in Biochemistry. and has been cited 29 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction notice:

The authors retract this article as it was found that experiments describing binding of natural killer cell receptors to carbohydrate ligands could not be repeated. Authors who were reached support the retraction of this paper. Evidence of scientific misconduct on the part of Karel Bezouška has been found by the joint Ethical Committee established by the Institute of Microbiology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Faculty of Science at the Charles University in Prague. The authors apologize to all affected parties.

According to a January 2013 statement, an ethics committee at Charles University (Google translation of a January 2013 press release from Czech) determined that Bezouška:

…most likely committed the Scientific Misconduct or “dangerous and irresponsible deviations from accepted practice how to conduct research.” This Scientific Misconduct occurred repeatedly. It’s a shame, because prof. Bezouška was considered a brilliant biochemist, one of the founders of proteomics in the Czech Republic, an excellent speaker and a devoted worker. Publication activity prof. Bezouška was high – more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed international journals. No doubt there was contained a significant amount of high-quality experimental work, unfortunately in some cases contained with high probability and non-recurrent and unprintable data.

Bezouška broke into a lab refrigerator so he could tamper with samples being used to try to replicate the experiments during the investigation:

One of the students carried out verification tests, which revealed that the experimental material stored in the fridge was handled without the knowledge of laboratory personnel. After this finding was in the room once installed camera system to track events before the refrigerator. Cameras revealed that on the night of the 19th to 20.3. twice broke into the room and 21.3 do it again broke prof. Bezouška and manipulated the experimental material in the fridge. The ethics committee after hearing all witnesses, including hearing prof. Bezouška, concluded that prof. Bezouška manipulated the samples with the highest likelihood of recurrence of artificially prepared the positive results that should confirm the binding of carbohydrates to protein NKR-P1. Positive results reported prof. Bezouška regarding custody of carbohydrates to protein NKR-P1 has repeatedly failed to replicate or reproduce more independent laboratories.

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