Hepatitis expert out at Chicago university following misconduct finding

Gulam Waris

A researcher who is now up to six retractions has left his faculty position at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science following a finding of research misconduct, Retraction Watch has learned.

Gulam Waris, who studies hepatitis, has reused images across multiple papers, according to a retraction notice published this week in the Journal of General Virology:

The article ‘Activation of transcription factor Nrf2 by hepatitis C virus induces the cell-survival pathway’ which was published in the Journal of General Virology in March 2010 has been retracted. This follows formal findings of research misconduct from the Compliance Counsel at Rosalind Franklin University. The actin immunoblot shown in Fig. 6a was found to have been reused in the following publications to represent the loading control at different experimental conditions: Waris et al. (2005) J. Virol. 79, 1569–1580 [1], Waris and Siddiqui (2005) J. Virol. 79, 9725–9734 [2], Waris et al. (2007) J. Virol. 81, 8122–8130 [3], Nasimuzzaman et al. (2007) J. Virol. 81, 10249–10257 [4], Burdette et al. (2010) J. Gen. Virol. 91, 681–690 [5], Burdette et al. (2012) J. Gen. Virol. 93, 235–246 [6], and McRae et al. (2016) J. Biol. Chem. 291, 3254–3267 [7].

Gulam Waris does not agree that the actin immunoblot was reused in other publications.

Waris, who also denied reusing images when we contacted him in August following an expression of concern on the now retracted paper, is no longer working at Rosalind Franklin, according to Bret Moberg, the university’s compliance counsel. 

We asked Moberg to share the report of the investigation referred to by the retraction notice. He told by email that he “would like to do so in a general manner without commenting on the accuracy of the premises of that question.”

The University complies with applicable federal regulations regarding allegations of research misconduct, which are codified within 42 C.F.R. Part 93.  Those regulations include a confidentiality provision and, consistent with our understanding of those regulations, the University does not disclose research misconduct investigation reports except to those with a need to know or as otherwise allowed by law.  For example, when necessary, the University would take steps to notify a journal when that journal had published an article that was the subject of a specific finding of research misconduct, and that notification would take place in order to permit that journal to take action it deems appropriate.  Additionally, the University would take steps to notify the funding agency of research that was the subject of a specific finding of research misconduct so that the agency may take action on matters under its cognizance, as it deems appropriate.

Other universities, we note, have chosen to be more transparent

In August, Waris told us:

I did not duplicate the image and all these results are reproducible and reliable.

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2 thoughts on “Hepatitis expert out at Chicago university following misconduct finding”

  1. National Institute of Health (NIH)
    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
    Research Project (R01)
    Project: 1R01DK106244-01A1
    Application: 9104974
    Study Section: Hepatobiliary Pathophysiology Study Section (HBPP)
    Program Officer: Doo, Edward
    Project Start: 2016-05-15
    Project End: 2021-04-30
    Budget Start: 2016-05-15

    NIH 2016-19 R01 DK Hepatitus C virus-induced inflammasome and lipid metabolism
    Waris, Gulam / Rosalind Franklin University

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