A week after news that the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) would have a new interim director shortly comes news that the agency will also have a new director of its investigative division as of early next month.
Starting August 4, Alexander Runko will be the director of the ORI’s Division of Investigative Oversight (DIO). He is already working at the agency as an investigator.
According to the ORI:
Dr. Runko first worked at ORI as a Scientist-Investigator from 2010-2016, where he was involved in handling and assessing allegations and reports of inquiries and investigations of research misconduct that involve Public Health Service funding. In that role, he also trained and provided guidance to research institutions, Federal agencies and journal editors on forensic and analytical tools to examine and uncover the falsification and fabrication of scientific data.
One of the investigations Runko worked on at the ORI was that of the work of former Wayne State University researcher Christian Kreipke, a bruising case that led to years of court battles. Observers at the time noted that a judge took little of Runko’s testimony into account because officials had not done an adequate job of establishing his credentials as an expert in court.
Runko, whose twin Erik is also a scientist who has worked at the NIH and National Science Foundation, earned a PhD in biochemistry and molecular pharmacology from the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and completed a postdoc at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
The ORI continues:
Dr. Runko also worked at NINDS as a Health Program Specialist in the extramural research program, where he managed portfolios of grant proposals and awards on neurological diseases, and conducted administrative reviews, regulatory compliance checks and scientific analyses from a programmatic viewpoint.
More recently at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), NIH, Dr. Runko was the Extramural Genomic Program Administrator and Data Access Committee Chair, where he directed the management of genomic and phenotypic data submissions and the review of applications to access NIH and NHLBI databases. At NHLBI, Dr. Runko developed procedures to streamline and standardize the processing and reviews of data access requests and dataset registrations. Dr. Runko also managed and mitigated unauthorized data use/access incidents, and served as a liaison between stakeholders, NIH and the research community on genomic data sharing policies.
Update, 1600 UTC, 7/19/19: Runko tells Retraction Watch:
I am honored and excited about this opportunity as the DIO Director. I look forward to continue working with our very talented team of scientist-investigators, subject matter experts, and program staff, as well supporting the new ORI leadership.
Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up for an email every time there’s a new post (look for the “follow” button at the lower right part of your screen), or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.