The researchers copied from former Ph.D. student Bettina Meissburger’s doctoral thesis in a 2013 paper in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. The retraction note for “Adipose stromal-vascular fraction-derived paracrine factors regulate adipogenesis” provides the name of Meissburger’s thesis:
The Editor-in-Chief retracts this article as per the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines on plagiarism. After a thorough investigation this article was found to contain substantial sections that were taken from a Ph.D. thesis (Molecular Mechanisms of Adipogenesis in Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome) without proper attribution and acknowledgment.
The paper was cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
We reached out to Naranjan Dhalla, Editor-in-Chief of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. The corresponding author on the paper, Chunlin Li, is associated with the Chinese PLA General Hospital. We’ve reached out to Li, but have yet to receive a response.
We were unable to find contact information for Bettina Meissburger. According to her LinkedIn profile, she worked on her thesis for a little over three years (between 2007 and 2010). She received her Ph.D. at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. She is currently a Quality Control Manager at the DKFZ German Cancer Research Center.
Geraldine Pearson, one of the vice-chairs for COPE, sent us a quote from the organization’s website, and noted she couldn’t speak about an individual case:
‘COPE does not investigate individual cases but encourages editors to ensure that cases are investigated by the appropriate authorities (usually a research institution or employer).’ As a leader in COPE I would not speak about any individual case without discussing it first with fellow COPE members.”
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