Stem cell paper falsification leads to firing; Nobelist also penalized

Shinya Yamanaka

Kyoto University has “punitively dismissed” a researcher found guilty of falsifying nearly all of the figures in a 2017 stem cell paper.  

According to an announcement Wednesday, the university fired the paper’s corresponding author, Kohei Yamamizu, after determining he had fabricated and falsified data in all but one figure in the 2017 Stem Cell Reports paper. The findings of the investigation, which were announced in January, found that Yamamizu, who worked at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), was the only person responsible for the manipulation.

But CiRA’s director, Shinya Yamanaka—who shared a Nobel Prize for his work in stem cell biology—has taken responsibility for the incident as well. In an official statement, Yamanaka said he felt “a strong responsibility for not having prevented research misconduct at our institute:”

As CiRA Director, I have received a penalty from the university for my poor supervision of research integrity. To express my remorse, I have decided to donate to the iPS Cell Research Fund voluntarily. I will do my best to regain the public trust to our institute by conducting preventive measures against research misconduct.

It’s unclear what the penalty is; the university did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

The journal retracted the article earlier this month. Here’s the notice for “In Vitro Modeling of Blood-Brain Barrier with Human iPSC-Derived Endothelial Cells, Pericytes, Neurons, and Astrocytes via Notch Signaling:”

This article has been retracted at the request of the institute and with the agreement of the authors.

An investigation by Kyoto University has identified fabrication and falsification in all the six main figures (Figures 1N, 2D, 3A, 4A, 4C, 5E, 6A, and 6C) and five out of six supplementary figures (Figures S2, S3A, S3B, S4A, S5D, S6A, S6B, S6C, and S6D) by the first and corresponding author, Kohei Yamamizu, in the above article. Multiple data that were used to make these figures are either missing in the original data set or have been manipulated.
As a result of these modifications, the manuscript does not support its main conclusion that the authors reconstituted the blood-brain barrier by using human iPS cells. All authors have agreed to retract the paper.

The paper has been cited 15 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

Hat tip: Lemon-Stoism, Author of world fluctuation watch

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