Dentistry student loses travel grant for duplicating his own work

iadrThe International Association for Dental Research has retracted a student travel award after discovering that the recipient had previously published the work he used to secure the grant, including in an abstract he presented at the same conference last year.

The self-plagiarism was uncovered by an anonymous group of students at the Hong Kong University dentistry school, where the student is a PhD student. The unnamed students sent both the IADR and HKU faculty members a color-coded chart showing identical phrases between the 2014 abstract, a 2013 paper published in the Journal of Periodontal Research called “Human umbilical vein endothelial cells synergize osteo/odontogenic differentiation of periodontal ligament stem cells in 3D cell sheets,” and another abstract the authors presented at the 2013 IADR conference.

The paper and both abstracts were written by P.K.C.P. Panduwawala, who lost the travel grant, along with HKU’s former dean of dentistry L.P. Samaranayake; HKU’s associate dean for research L.J. Jin; and C.F. Zhang, part of HKU’s tissue engineering group.

The IADR’s page now lists the winners with a note at the bottom:

A sixth award was given, but later rescinded due to a failure to comply with the IADR Abstract Rules and Guidelines regarding previously published abstracts.

We’ve contacted HKU, as well as the authors, and will update with anything we learn.

9 thoughts on “Dentistry student loses travel grant for duplicating his own work”

  1. I think the PhD students supervisors should accept part of the blame. Usually supervisors who are also co-authors go through abstracts before they are sent out for conferences. So didn’t these senior academics know that the student was submitting the same previously published work? By the way, L.P.Samaranayake is the current Head of the University of Queensland, School of Dentistry. He also hold the title of Professor of Oral Microbiomics and Infection.

  2. In their paper on “Human umbilical vein endothelial cells synergize osteo/odontogenic differentiation of periodontal ligament stem cells in 3D cell sheets” these researchers talk about “rudimentary vascular network initiation”.

    However, I cannot see clear evidence of such vessel formation in the figures depicted in the article. Can any of the readers please examine these figures more closely and let us know what they think?

    1. Sapatpon, a good query. May I suggest that you gather your queries, and enter the paper at PubPeer using the article’s DOI. There you can post a comment publically, using your identity, or anonymously. Then, invite the authors to offer comment in response to the PubPeer entry.

  3. I searched online about the authors and found some interesting stuff. Lakshman Samaranayake was the recipient of IADR DISTINGUISHED SCIENTIST AWARD in 2010. Lijian Jin is the current President of the Southeast Asian Division of the IADR. So will the IADR withdraw these awards and administrative responsibilities from Samaranayake and Jin?

  4. Could someone clarify the nature of the infraction for me?
    So this student published a paper and then presented the same abstract to two conferences?
    Or was it that he submitted the same abstract to the same conference two years in a row?

    1. The student submit the same abstract 2 times during consecutive years to the same conference. After the 1st submission for the 2013 IADR meeting in Seattle, he published it in the journal of clinical periodontology. Then he submitted this abstract again for the 2014 IADR meeting in South Africa. IADR abstract rules clearly mentions that previously presented or already published research cannot be resubmitted.

  5. I am a staff member from HKU faculty of dentistry. There was another email from the same group of PhD students. These are some of the valid points raised in that email.
    Please check Table No. 2 in the article: Chamila Prageeth Pandula PK, Samaranayake LP, Jin LJ, Zhang C. Periodontal ligament stem cells: an update and perspectives. J Investig Clin Dent. 2014 May;5(2):81-90 ( ). The editor in chief of this journal is also Prof. Samaranayake.
    Now, compare the above to Table No. 1 in the following 2009 article in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR) published by the IADR.
    Huang GT, Gronthos S, Shi S. Mesenchymal stem cells derived from dental tissues vs. those from other sources: their biology and role in regenerative medicine. J Dent Res. 2009 Sep;88(9):792-806. (

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