The Office of Research Integrity report found that Maria C.P. Geraedts manipulated bar graphs in the papers to “produce the desired result.” Both have been retracted. Geraedts left academia in 2014, and is now a science writer.
We reported on one retraction in July, “Gustatory stimuli representing different perceptual qualities elicit distinct patterns of neuropeptide secretion from taste buds,” published in The Journal of Neuroscience.
The other, “Transformation of postingestive glucose responses after deletion of sweet taste receptor subunits or gastric bypass surgery,” published in 2012 in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism, was retracted in September. Here’s the note, which cites the university’s investigation:
An investigation at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, based on allegations by the corresponding author, has determined that data fabrication and manipulation had occurred in this study, specifically in relation to results described in Figures 2 and 4 and summarized in Figure 8. Additionally, efforts by members of the Munger laboratory not involved in this study to replicate key aspects of these experiments, as well as those described in Figures 3 and 7, were unsuccessful. The authors have thus lost confidence in the results presented in Figures 2, 3, 4, and 7 and summarized in Figure 8. Therefore, this article is being retracted by the American Physiological Society at the request of all the authors.
In July, the last author on both papers, Steven Munger — at Maryland at the time of the research, and now at the University of Florida — sent us a statement about the retraction in the Journal of Neuroscience:
An investigation at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (based on allegations by the corresponding author, Dr. Munger) has determined that data fabrication and manipulation have occurred in this study. Additionally, efforts by members of the Munger laboratory not involved in this study to validate key aspects of these experiments were unsuccessful. Therefore, I no longer have confidence in the results presented in this study, or the conclusions drawn from them, and have requested that the paper be retracted to correct the scientific record.
Now, the ORI report has more details on exactly what went wrong with the papers. Here’s what they found for the AJP paper, which has been cited 36 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge:
ORI found that Respondent falsified and/or fabricated bar graphs in AJP 2012, by changing ELISA-based measurements to produce the desired result for secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) from intestinal explants from various mouse strains in:
- Figure 2 for GLP-1 release from duodenum (2A & D), jejunum (2B & E), and ileum (2C & F)
- Figure 3 for GLP-1 release from colon (3A & C) and rectum (3D)
- Figure 4 for GLP-1 release from ileum (4A) and colon (4C) in the presence or absence of an ATP-sensitive K+ channel inhibitor
And for the Journal of Neuroscience paper, which has 7 citations:
ORI found that Respondent falsified and/or fabricated bar graphs in Figure 1, JN 2013 by changing ELISA-based measurements to produce the desired result for the secretion of peptides found in taste buds (GLP-1, glucagon, or neuropeptide Y) from mouse lingual epithelium exposed to various concentrations of stimuli (glucose, sucralose, MSG, polycose). These bar graphs also were included as Figure 7 in grant application R01 DC010110-06.
Geraedts’s LinkedIn page offers an explanation as to why she left academia:
But over time, I found myself getting frustrated with experiments. I much preferred talking and writing about science to the public.
We reached out to Geraedts and Munger, and will update this post with anything else we learn.
Update 11/7/15 1:18 p.m. eastern: The ORI has issued a correction to its original notice, which reads:
1. On page 66546, second column, in FR Doc. 2015-27587, last paragraph, line 13, after “otherwise working with PHS,” add “Respondent neither admits nor denies ORI’s findings of research misconduct; the settlement is not an admission of liability on the part of the Respondent” so that the corrected section of the last paragraph in the second column reads:
“Respondent stated that she is not currently involved in U.S. Public Health Service (PHS)-supported research and has no intention of applying for or engaging in PHS-supported research or otherwise working with PHS. Respondent neither admits nor denies ORI’s findings of research misconduct; the settlement is not an admission of liability on the part of the Respondent.”
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