The report flagged eight published papers (and an unpublished one), six of which had already received expressions of concern (EOCs). Nataly Shulga was a co-author on all eight papers. With these two new retractions in Biology Open and Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Bioenergetics, all of the flagged papers have now been retracted.
Here’s the retraction notice for the Biology Open paper, issued July 15:
This Research Article has been retracted at the request of the corresponding author, John G. Pastorino.
This notice updates and replaces a recent Expression of Concern, published on 21 January 2016 (see Supplementary information).
Biology Open was alerted to potential blot duplication and reuse in this article. These concerns were relayed to Dr Pastorino, the corresponding author, who responded with an explanation and original data. Following review of these data, we felt unable to resolve this matter at a distance, so contacted the authors’ institution (Rowan University) and requested that they investigate further.
Following their assessment, Rowan University required that Dr Pastorino retract this paper. Dr Pastorino also entered a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement with The Office of Research Integrity (ORI); the agreement can be found here:http://ori.hhs.gov/content/case-summary-pastorino-john-g.
ORI found that Dr Pastorino intentionally falsified and/or fabricated data, and specifically, that he “…duplicated images, or trimmed and/or manipulated blot images from unrelated sources to obscure their origin, and relabelled them to represent different experimental results in:
• Figures 3A and 6B in Biol. Open 2015” (doi: 10.1242/bio.014712).
The PDF of the retracted article is available as Supplementary information.
The 2015 Biology Open paper, “Fructose sensitizes pancreatic beta cells to TNFα-induced necroptosis,” is yet to be indexed by Thomson Reuters Web of Science.
And here’s the retraction notice in BBA Energetics:
This article has been retracted at the request of the corresponding author as part of his agreement with the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. https://ori.hhs.gov/content/case-summary-pastorino-john-g
It was found in an investigation performed by ORI that the Western blot presented in Fig. 2A was falsified or fabricated. On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author takes full responsibility and apologizes to the readers of BBA Bioenergetics for submitting and publishing the erroneous article and any inconvenience caused.
The paper, “Sirtuin-4 modulates sensitivity to induction of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore,” has so far been cited 11 times.
According to the ORI findings, Pastorino
falsified and/or fabricated Western blot data for mitochondrial function related to cell/tissue injury, in fifty-eight (58) blot panels included in forty-two (42) figures in eight (8) publications, one (1) unpublished manuscript, and one (1) grant application. In the absence of valid Western blot images, the Respondent fabricated and/or falsified quantitative data in associated bar graphs, statistical analyses presented in figure legends, and related text.
Starting April 27, Pastorino also agreed to exclude himself from peer review committees for five years.
In May, Rowan informed us that Pastorino was no longer an employee at the School of Osteopathic Medicine, noting that the institution asked him to retract all papers flagged by the ORI.
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