Ex-Mount Sinai postdoc who falsified 50+ images earns 5-year funding ban

ori-logoA former postdoctoral researcher at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York has received a five-year funding ban after an investigation concluded that they had falsified data underlying more than 50 images.

According to a report released today by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), Zhiyu Li falsified

histopathological data reported in fifty-seven (57) images in two (2) published papers, one (1) submitted manuscript, two (2) poster presentations, and seven (7) of Respondent’s supervisor’s grant applications and fabricating the corresponding nineteen (19) summary bar graphs that were based on those false images.

The case seems to mark the conclusion of a longstanding case involving the lab of Savio Woo, a leading U.S. gene therapy scientist. Starting in 2010, we previously reported on six retractions from the lab, all due to the actions of two postdocs — Li Chen and Zhiyu Li — both of who were dismissed from their positions at Mount Sinai.

In April 2014, a different ORI report concluded that Li Chen

intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly fabricated and falsified data reported in four (4) publications, one (1) submitted manuscript, and four (4) grant applications…

And the ORI findings released today say that Zhiyu Li

intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly engaged in research misconduct…

The two published papers that Zhiyu Li falsified data in were both retracted in 2010. A Genetically Enhanced Anaerobic Bacterium for Oncopathic Therapy of Pancreatic Cancer,” which was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2008, has been cited 14 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. At least five of those citations came after the paper was retracted.

And “The Oncopathic Potency of Clostridium perfringens is Independent of its α-Toxin Gene” has been cited three times since being published in Human Gene Therapy in 2009, all by retraction notices.

According to the ORI, the unpublished paper, which Zhiyu Li submitted to Cancer Research, was also withdrawn.

Beginning July 3, Zhiyu Li is not eligible for any NIH grants for five years, the ORI report notes. For the same time period, Li can’t serve on any NIH committees, including peer review committees.

Like Retraction Watch? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post, or subscribe to our new daily digest. Click here to review our Comments Policy. For a sneak peek at what we’re working on, click here.

One thought on “Ex-Mount Sinai postdoc who falsified 50+ images earns 5-year funding ban”

  1. Savio Woo paper without Zhiyu Li

    Cancer Gene Ther. 2009 Mar;16(3):266-78. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2008.74. Epub 2008 Oct 10.
    Enhanced oncolytic potency of vesicular stomatitis virus through vector-mediated inhibition of NK and NKT cells.
    Altomonte J1, Wu L, Meseck M, Chen L, Ebert O, Garcia-Sastre A, Fallon J, Mandeli J, Woo SL.
    Author information.
    1Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.


    Pubpeer comments. https://pubpeer.com/publications/18846115

    Images in Cancer Gene Ther. 2009 Mar;16(3):266-78 had appeared in Mol Ther. 2008 Jan;16(1):146-53

    For reference Mol Ther 16,146.
    Mol Ther. 2008 Jan;16(1):146-53. Epub 2007 Dec 11.
    Exponential enhancement of oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus potency by vector-mediated suppression of inflammatory responses in vivo.
    Altomonte J1, Wu L, Chen L, Meseck M, Ebert O, García-Sastre A, Fallon J, Woo SL.
    Author information
    1Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.