Two years after student loses PhD, ORI concludes he committed misconduct

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) announced today that a former graduate student committed research misconduct — nearly two years after his institution stripped him of his degree.

The ORI concluded that Shiladitya Sen committed misconduct in a PNAS paper (retracted six months ago), his PhD thesis, a poster presentation, and two grant applications to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sen has agreed not to seek federal funding for three years.

A spokesperson for The Ohio State University (OSU), where Sen was based, told us its investigation wrapped up in Spring 2016, and Sen’s PhD was revoked that June. It’s not clear why it took two years for the ORI to issue its own finding; the ORI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to ORI’s notice, Sen:

knowingly and intentionally falsified and/or fabricated gene sequencing and high throughput thermal scanning (HTTS) data for sequence-stability relationship of Rop protein variants in nineteen (19) figures, ten (10) tables, and related text included in a poster presentation, his Ph.D. thesis, and two (2) NIH grant applications.

When we reported on the PNAS retraction last year, an OSU spokesperson told us Sen’s co-authors had requested another retraction of a 2013 paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). That paper — which is not included in the ORI’s notice — was retracted January 29, 2018.

Sen’s LinkedIn page still lists him as a PhD candidate at OSU. The OSU spokesperson confirmed that Sen is no longer affiliated with the institution.

This is the ORI’s seventh finding of misconduct for 2018 — which is as many findings as it released in all of 2017.

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