Singapore university revokes second researcher’s PhD in misconduct fallout

Last year, the fallout from a misconduct investigation at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore resulted in the university revoking the PhD of a Harvard research fellow, and a senior researcher losing his job. In July 2016, NTU told us another researcher who could not be named at the time had also come forward and confessed to making up data.

Now, Retraction Watch has learned that Sabeera Bonala — the researcher who couldn’t be named due to ongoing disciplinary procedures last year — has also had her doctorate degree revoked by the NTU.

Tony Mayer, research integrity officer at the NTU, confirmed to Retraction Watch that her PhD, which she was awarded in 2013, has been revoked. Three papers that list Bonala as first author — two in The Journal of Biological Chemistry and one in Molecular Endocrinology — were pulled last year.

We couldn’t find current contact details for Bonala.

Those three papers also included Sudarsanareddy LokireddyRavi Kambadur and Mridula Sharma as co-authors. As Retraction Watch reported, Lokireddy, who we learned in August 2016 was no longer at Harvard, also lost his PhD from NTU after an investigation found him to be guilty of falsifying data. Kambadur was dismissed from his joint appointments at the NTU and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) after being found to be “wilfully negligent in the direction of the group.” Sharma, Kambadur’s wife, who was employed by the National University of Singapore (NUS), also isn’t based there anymore, a university spokesperson previously told us.

Mayer told Retraction Watch:

This has been a lengthy and complex investigation involving not only NTU but also A*STAR and NUS whose cooperation in the inquiry was essential and we are grateful to both institutions for their help.

He added:

It demonstrates NTU’s (and Singapore’s) commitment to the highest standards of research best practice and also shows that neither Singapore nor NTU will not tolerate any departures from this norm. PhDs once awarded are only revoked in the most serious cases and this again demonstrates that NTU’s policy of zero tolerance was appropriate and necessary in this case.

Mayer declined to share the investigation report into Bonala’s case.

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3 thoughts on “Singapore university revokes second researcher’s PhD in misconduct fallout”

  1. I am pretty sure the double negative in Mayer’s statement is an accident, considering what they did!
    “…shows that neither Singapore nor NTU will not tolerate any departures from this norm…”


  2. So, Singapore has zero tolerance for research misconduct. Good! When will that happen here in good old USA? Over here, universities will sweep matters under, until the grant funds become exhausted (after all, who cares about bad profs, as long as they are bringing in the moola?). Then, the profs will get honorable discharges with full retirement benefits. Off they go, laughing all the way, giving high-fives to themselves.Sad!

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