Former NYU researcher falsified data in 3 papers, 7 grants: ORI

A former researcher at New York University falsified and/or fabricated data in multiple papers and grant applications, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

Bhagavathi Narayanan has already retracted three papers, the result of missing original data. Among the three papers flagged by the ORI, only one remains intact: A 2011 paper in Anticancer Research.

According to the ORI:

…Respondent fabricated and/or falsified Western blot data for protein expression levels in cancer tissues and/or cells in fifty-eight (58) blot panels included in twenty-two (22) figures reported in three (3) papers and seven (7) grant applications submitted to NIH. In the absence of valid Western blot images, the quantitative data presented in associated bar graphs and statistical analyses also are false.

Specifically, Respondent trimmed and/or copied Western blot images from unrelated sources, manipulated them to obscure their origin, and reused and relabeled them to represent different experimental results…

Narayanan has agreed to not apply for grants for three years, as well as to retract the remaining intact paper, “Modulation of PGE2-induced EP4 Expression on Snail Signaling and the Impact on Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition: Significance of EP4 Antagonism” in Anticancer Research. The 2011 paper has been cited seven times — none since April 2016, the year her other papers were retracted, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

When Narayanan lost one of the affected papers — a 2003 paper in Clinical Cancer Research — she claimed she had lost the raw data when her previous affiliation, the Institute for Cancer Prevention in New York went broke (thanks partly to lavish salaries and offices, according to the New York Post).

Soon after, Narayanan lost a second paper, which is not included as part of the ORI’s notice. In February 2016, she told us that the criticism of their work had deeply affected her and her co-authors:

We are living in hell.

By the end of 2016, Narayanan retracted a third paper, which is included as part of the ORI’s notice.

In 2016, a spokesperson for NYU School of Medicine told us Narayanan and frequent co-author Narayanan K. Narayanan had not been on the faculty since November 2015.  

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