Lead author Samuel Lee, who works at the New Mexico Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System and the University of New Mexico (UNM), requested Eukaryotic Cell retract two papers after identifying multiple instances of fabricated or falsified data. He requested the retraction of a review article based on those papers as well.
In addition, the research is subject to an investigation, Ellie Ghatineh, a production editor at the journal, told us:
[The American Society for Microbiology, which publishes the journal] was originally contacted by the corresponding author, Samuel Lee, who reported data falsification in two Eukaryotic Cell papers. It is our understanding that a formal joint investigation, between university and government offices, is ongoing. Pertinent information was published in the retraction notice.
We couldn’t confirm that these investigations are taking place, however; Lee said he was unable to comment at this time.
A press officer for the VA told us:
[New Mexico VA Healthcare System] takes any allegations regarding our research program very seriously.
Due to VHA policy, we cannot comment on whether or not a research investigation is ongoing.
Both Eukaryotic Cell papers say first author Alba Chavez-Dozal and second author Stella M. Bernardo, also listed at New Mexico VA Healthcare System, contributed equally to the work. The VA spokesperson told us that Chavez-Dozal no longer works there. A spokesperson for UNM confirmed that Bernardo has an appointment there, and works at the VA. Bernardo declined to comment on record; Chavez-Dozal did not respond to an email to an institutional address.
The Eukaryotic Cell papers are now accompanied by very detailed retraction notices — both of which say Chavez-Dozal “could not be reached when asked to agree to the retraction.”
The authors and the journal hereby retract this article. After publication, several of the authors found that this article contained multiple images with fabricated or falsified data in violation of ASM’s ethical standards. In Fig. 9A, the bovine serum albumin degradation gel is identical to that published in Fig. 6A of another article by A. A. Chavez-Dozal et al. (Eukaryot Cell 14:1228–1239, 2015). The original data images are labeled as strain tetR-SEC15 images. Thus, lanes 4 and 5 of Fig. 9A are incorrectly attributed to strain tetR-SEC6. In Fig. 9B, it is stated that a lipase assay was performed after 24 h of doxycycline (DOX) inhibition. However, review of original graphs in lab data files indicate that this experiment was performed at 5 h of DOX inhibition. Furthermore, our lab has not been able to replicate this particular lipase assay successfully from a technical standpoint at the date of submission of this retraction. In Fig. 6, some rows of spotted cells are duplicates of the exact same images. In Fig. 4A, cells attributed to strains THE1-CIp10 and THE1-CIp10+DOX have been taken from raw images labeled tetR-SEC15. The source files also have different dates of creation and are not from a single experiment. Finally, the cell death assays (Fig. 1) were repeated. The article reports that tetR-SEC6 cells remain viable until after 27 h of treatment with DOX, with 100% cell death occurring by 72 h. In contrast, upon repeating the assay, we found that approximately 5/6 of cells are inviable after 24 h of DOX treatment, with the last 1/6 of cells remaining viable even after 72 h of DOX treatment. Again in contrast to the reported finding that cell death begins after 24 h, we have found that cell death begins after only 6 to 7 h of treatment with DOX. These findings undermine many of the conclusions of the published article. Since the integrity of the data and conclusions as presented are compromised, this publication is retracted in its entirety. We apologize to the readers of Eukaryotic Cell and regret any inconvenience this causes.
The paper was published last December, and has been cited four times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.
The authors and the journal hereby retract this article. After publication, several of the authors found that this article contained fabricated or falsified data in violation of ASM’s ethical standards. It has been determined that Fig. 1A is a fabricated Southern blot created using physical manipulation. Thus, the reported strain was not confirmed as claimed. The experiments depicted in Fig. 2, Fig. 4, and Fig. 6B were repeated for confirmation. We were unable to successfully replicate the results of these experiments. Replication of the cell death and adhesion assays gave contradictory results. The lipase assay could not be successfully completed using the methods described in this paper. We were not able to find the source data files for the majority of the microscopy images shown in Fig. 7 to 9. The source data files that were recovered showed evidence of falsification. For example, images presented in the article as belonging to a certain treatment were from source data files belonging to completely different treatments or mutant strains. Lastly, images were not taken from a single experiment, as presented in the article text. In Table 3, the data reported for strain tetR-SEC6, published in another article by A. A. Chavez-Dozal et al. (Eukaryot Cell 14:684– 697, 2015), have been retracted. Since the integrity of the data and conclusions presented in this article are compromised, this publication is retracted in its entirety. We apologize to the readers of Eukaryotic Cell and regret any inconvenience this causes
The paper, also published in December, has been cited twice. All four authors on the paper are listed at New Mexico VA Healthcare System.
The two Eukaryotic Cell papers form the basis for a review paper published in May in Current Genetics. Here’s the retraction notice for that paper:
The authors and the journal hereby retract this article “The exocyst in Candida albicans polarized secretion and filamentation” published in Volume 62, Issue 2, pages 343–346, DOI10.1007/s00294-015-0553-3. The authors have stated that the manuscript contains fictitious data. Two articles also published by the authors (Chavez-Dozal et al. 2015a, b), which mainly formed the basis for this review article, have meanwhile been retracted, because they contained several images with fabricated or falsified data.
Retraction Note Chavez-Dozal 2015a: http://ec.asm.org/content/14/12/i.full
Retraction Note Chavez-Dozal 2015: http://ec.asm.org/content/14/12/ii.long
Since this violates Current Genetics’ ethical standards, it has been decided to retract this article.
AA Chavez-Dozal did not respond when asked to agree to the retraction.
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