We don’t know what exactly the internal investigation into Susana González’s work found; El Pais relied on anonymous sources, and the CNIC confirmed only that they dismissed her on February 29th. There are allegations against her work on PubPeer, but we don’t know what role those played in the investigation.
(We had the story translated; here’s a PDF of the article in English.)
González denies that she committed misconduct, the paper reports:
…González “categorically” denies having falsified any results during her career and talks of a “complete injustice”. According to her version of events, the dismissal was for “purely work-related” reasons, of which she has not provided any details.
González also defended her publishing record:
“They have never retracted any of my articles”, González says in her defense. She admits to “possible errors”, but never fraud. The PubPeer website includes more accusations of falsified results with regard to other research projects led by the molecular biologist. “My reputation should not be questioned on the basis of anonymous complaints. And that goes for the whole scientific community”, González insists.
According to El Pais, she’s keeping a $2 million Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council– which is awarded to talented scientists to develop their labs — and a post at the National Research Council in Spain.
El Pais explains the significance of her work:
González has published her papers in some of the world’s leading scientific journals, including Cell Stem Cell and Nature Communications. In 2014, the European Research Council awarded her a Consolidator Grant, reserved for the elite of European science and worth two million euros. This followed her success in getting mice with life-threatening heart failure to make a remarkable recovery. Her experiments opened the door to the rejuvenation of the heart in old or ailing people.
Comments on PubPeer suggest re-used blots in the Cell Stem Cell paper and the Nature Communications paper, among others, as well as increased contrast in images in a Nature paper, on which she is a first author.
When González’s was published in 2012, Nature Communications issued a press release on “Ectopic expression of the histone methyltransferase Ezh2 in haematopoietic stem cells causes myeloproliferative disease,” which reads in part:
Increased expression of the protein methyltransferase Ezh2 turns hematopoietic stem cells into leukemic stem cells, causing the development of bone marrow related myeloproliferative disease. These findings, reported in a paper published in Nature Communications this week, may aid the development of new drugs to treat cancers of the blood.
Lawyers are now handling the case of her dismissal, El Pais reports.
We’ve seen other cases of lawyers handling the fallout from misconduct investigations: There’s the chemist who’s suing the University of Texas after they revoked her PhD, and the Toronto researchers who asked the court to quash a misconduct finding. And then there’s cancer researcher, Fazlul Sarkar, who sued PubPeer itself. He alleges that he lost a job offer from the University of Mississippi because of negative comments on some of his papers.
We were unable to find current contact information for González.
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