Associate VP for research at Georgia State is up to 10 retractions

Ming-Hui Zou

The associate vice president for research at Georgia State University and founding director of the university’s Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine has had his tenth paper retracted.

Like the nine previous retractions for Ming-Hui Zou, the work underlying the newly retracted paper in PLOS ONE was performed while Zou was at Oklahoma State University.

The extensive retraction notice for “Activation of the AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) by Nitrated Lipids in Endothelial Cells” refers to problems in six of the paper’s figures, including unexpected similarities and likely splicing. It concludes:

The authors have indicated that the underlying data for Figs 3 and 4 are unavailable. Cropped panels and replicate experiment data for Figs 1, 5, 6 and 7 have been provided, but these do not resolve the image concerns outlined.

In light of the concerns affecting multiple figure panels that question the integrity of these data, the PLOS ONE Editors retract this article.

PS and M-HZ agreed with the retraction. YW did not agree with the retraction. YD either did not respond directly or could not be reached.

The paper has been cited seven times since it was published in 2012, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

Zou, who earned more than $400,000 at Georgia State in 2018, according to public records, told us in January that he disagreed with the previous eight retractions.

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29 thoughts on “Associate VP for research at Georgia State is up to 10 retractions”

    1. Those databases are untrustworthy
      s a former department head there, I saw people’s actual salaries. They did not match these datsbasenumbers, and I have never had clear guidance on how the numbers are assembled.

  1. What is it with Georgia these days? First, a researcher at Georgia Tech is being prosecuted for lying about her spending on research grants, and now a researcher at Georgia State has notched his tenth retraction. What’s next, University of Georgia?

  2. “What’s next, University of Georgia?”

    Emory University is in Atlanta, Georgia.

    2020 retraction for:
    miR-21-mediated Radioresistance Occurs via Promoting Repair of DNA Double Strand Breaks
    Baocheng Hu 1, Xiang Wang 1, Shuofeng Hu 2, Xiaomin Ying 2, Ping Wang 1, Xiangming Zhang 1, Jian Wang 1, Hongyan Wang 1, Ya Wang 3
    Affiliations collapse
    Affiliations
    1From the Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322 and.
    2the Beijing Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing 100850, China.
    3From the Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.

    2020 retraction.
    https://www.jbc.org/content/295/18/6250.long
    This article has been withdrawn by Shuofeng Hu, Xiaomin Ying, Xiangming Zhang, and Ya Wang. Baocheng Hu, Xiang Wang, Ping Wang, Jian Wang, and Hongyan Wang could not be reached. In Fig. 1C, the DAPI and merged images for the no IR control were switched. The DNA-PKcs and actin immunoblots on the left appear to have been spliced. In Fig. 4C, the DNA-PKcs immunoblot appears to have been spliced. In Fig. 4D, lanes 1 and 5; lanes 2, 6, and 8; and lanes 3 and 7 of the DNA-PKcs immunoblot are the same. In the p-DNA-PKcs immunoblot, lanes 1 and 8, lanes 2 and 6, and lanes 3 and 7 are the same. In the CRY2 immunoblot, lanes 5 and 7 are the same. In the CDC25A immunoblot, lanes 3 and 8 are the same. In the GSK3B immunoblot, lanes 1 and 5 and lanes 3 and 7 are the same. Also in the GSK3B immunoblot, the upper GSK3B bands in lanes 6 and 8 are the same. Lanes 4 and 8 of the cyclin D1 immunoblot are the same. In Fig. 5A, the CDC25A immunoblot appears to have been spliced. Also in Fig. 5A, lanes 2–4 and lanes 6–8 of the CDC25A immunoblot are the same. Lanes 4–6 and 7–9 of the actin immunoblot are the same. In Fig. 5C, lane 1 of the CDC25A immunoblot was reused in lane 5, and lanes 3 and 4 were reused in lanes 7 and 8. In the GSK3B immunoblot, lanes 2–4 and lanes 6–8 are the same. Lane 1 of the cyclin D1 immunoblot was reused in lane 5, and lanes 3 and 4 were reused in lanes 7 and 8. Lanes 2–4 of the actin immunoblot were reused in lanes 6–8.

  3. “What’s next, University of Georgia?”

    Emory University is in Atlanta, Georgia.

    2020 retraction for:
    J Biol Chem . 2014 Oct 31;289(44):30635-44. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.604959. Epub 2014 Sep 10.
    Distinct Roles of Ape1 Protein, an Enzyme Involved in DNA Repair, in High or Low Linear Energy Transfer Ionizing Radiation-Induced Cell Killing
    Hongyan Wang 1, Xiang Wang 1, Guangnan Chen 1, Xiangming Zhang 1, Xiaobing Tang 1, Dongkyoo Park 1, Francis A Cucinotta 2, David S Yu 1, Xingming Deng 1, William S Dynan 1, Paul W Doetsch 1, Ya Wang 3
    Affiliations collapse
    Affiliations
    1From the Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322 and.
    2the Department of Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154.
    3From the Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.

    2020 retraction.
    https://www.jbc.org/content/295/18/6249.long
    This article has been withdrawn by Guangnan Chen, Dongkyoo Park, Francis A. Cucinotta, David S. Yu, Xingming Deng, William S. Dynan, Paul W. Doetsch, and Ya Wang. Hongyan Wang, Xiang Wang, Xiangming Zhang, and Xiaobing Tang could not be reached. The last two lanes of the actin immunoblot in Fig. 1A were reused in the last two lanes of the actin immunoblot in Fig. 1C. In Fig. 2A, the γ-H2AX and the merge with DAPI images for no IR treatment do not match. In Fig. 3A, lanes 3 and 4 of the γ-H2AX immunoblot were reused in lanes 7 and 8, and lanes 5 and 6 of the H2A immunoblot were reused in lanes 7 and 8. In Fig. 3B, lanes 5 and 6 of the H2A immunoblot were reused in lanes 7 and 8. In Fig. 3C, lanes 5 and 6 of the γ-H2AX immunoblot were reused in lanes 7 and 8. Additionally, lanes 1 and 2 of the H2A immunoblot were reused in lanes 3 and 4. In Fig. 3D, lanes 1 and 2 of the Mre11 immunoblot from lysates were reused in lanes 4 and 5. In the γ-H2AX immunoblot, lane 3 was reused in lane 7, and lane 4 was reused in lanes 6 and 8. Also in the H2A immunoblot, lanes 1 and 2 were reused in lanes 3 and 4. In Fig. 4B, lanes 2 and 6 of the Mre11 immunoblot from Ogg1−/− cells are the same. In the Ape1 immunoblot in Fig. 5C, lanes 3 and 5 are the same and lanes 6–8 are the same. Also, in the actin immunoblot, lanes 2 and 4 are the same.

  4. According to eRA commons, the multi-millionaire Eminent Scientist and Vice President for Research still holds SEVEN NIH grants. NIH, you are shouting INTEGRITY MATTERS! WELL, DOES IT OR NOT?!!!!

    1. Why do you expect the NIH officials to be any different from those at the Department of Motor Vehicles?

      1. Good point. According to ORI ONLY 6 people were guilty of misconduct in 2019. Seriously?!!! Anyone in science with half a brain knows the problem is far wider and much deeper than that. While the cops are asleep the robbers do away with billions of taxpayer $$$.

        1. Budget imbalances are one way of looking the ORI’s limited scope.

          cpdd.org/presidents-fiscal-2019-nih-budget/

          ” Total Fiscal 2019 Program level for NIH is $34.767 billion”

          https://compliancecosmos.org/fy-2021-budget-seeks-10-hike-ori-lays-out-new-initiatives-past-activities

          “ORI’s budget has been flat at $8.558 million since 2013, when it was decreased from $9.027 million. If granted, ORI would see an increase of $856,000 for a total of $9.414 million for FY 2021.”

          1. Any city or state that spends a measly 0.025% of its budget on law enforcement is sure to become a mecca for crooks.

  5. What seems to work is when the NIH detects fraud in the grant application. As previous cases suggest, then the NIH informs the school’s ORI, and they (the ORI) are, I guess, forced to have an investigation of the researcher.

    If that were to happen, the investigators would ask for original raw data for the the data that is published. In one case that I know of, when this happened, the investigator’s got very little of this, and fired the faculty and closed the labs.

    I’m doubtful that GA State will do anything on its own. The NIH would need some kind of stipulation that in addition to obvious fraud in grants, clear manipulation of published data is grounds for informing the schools ORI.

    There is a system that works, but schools don’t want to use it on someone that brings millions of dollars in grant money.

    1. It is clear that the very schools that are entrusted to do a fair and thorough investigation in such cases are conflicted, especially when it comes to speaking truth to their cash cows. The ORI doesn’t have the manpower or resources and often meekly accepts the schools’ decisions (many times schools do not even initiate an investigation and ORI is fine with that). I remember a quote from an NIH official about how “surprised” schools were to learn, and how much pushback the NIH got from school administrators, that their faculty were secretly employed by Chinese government entities for years, and misleading them and the taxpayers. Remember, it took FBI intervention to put the fear of God in the hearts of these school administrators.

      1. Indeed. GA State is probably does not have a lot of grant money coming in (compared to its neighbor’s, GA Tech and Emory), so they need this guy for overhead. Buildings need to be repaired, etc.

  6. One retraction for every NIH R01 grant he currently holds. Shameful. Utterly shameful!!! And I am not referring to him. I am referring to the NIH whose silence is deafening, and whose inaction enables and encourages this behavior.

  7. 11th retraction for Ming-Hui Zou.

    J Mol Endocrinol
    . 2021 Feb;66(2):Z1. doi: 10.1530/JME-14-0213r.
    RETRACTION: Hypochlorous acid via peroxynitrite activates protein kinase Cθ and insulin resistance in adipocytes
    Jun Zhou 1, Qilong Wang, Ye Ding, Ming-Hui Zou 1
    Affiliations collapse
    Affiliation
    1Section of Molecular Medicine, BSEB 306A, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.
    PMID: 33492241 DOI: 10.1530/JME-14-0213r

    2021 retraction notice.
    https://jme.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/jme/66/2/JME-14-0213r.xml

    “This article has been retracted at the request of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC), with the knowledge and consent of the authors.

    The request for this retraction was received on 7 December 2020.

    The retraction follows the conclusion of an OUHSC investigation that ‘determined that the first author, Dr Jun Zhou, carried out knowing and intentional falsification of multiple Western blot figures’ and that ‘significant falsification of data in multiple figures invalidate the scientific findings and conclusions of this article’.

    The editors of the Journal of Molecular Endocrinology were first made aware of concerns about the article in June 2019. After correspondence with the authors failed to resolve the concern, the editors asked OUHSC to investigate in July 2019. At that time, OUHSC initiated a confidential investigation that concluded in November 2020 resulting in this retraction request.

    This retraction notice was published 25 January 2021.”

  8. 12th retraction for Ming-Hui Zou. 2021 retraction Diabetes . 2014 Dec;63(12):4172-85. doi: 10.2337/db14-0026. Epub 2014 Jul 14. Institutional investigation.

    Diabetes . 2014 Dec;63(12):4172-85. doi: 10.2337/db14-0026. Epub 2014 Jul 14.
    Myeloperoxidase deletion prevents high-fat diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance
    Qilong Wang 1, Zhonglin Xie 1, Wencheng Zhang 1, Jun Zhou 1, Yue Wu 1, Miao Zhang 1, Huaiping Zhu 1, Ming-Hui Zou 2
    Affiliations
    Affiliations
    1
    Section of Molecular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK.
    2
    Section of Molecular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK ming-hui-zou@ouhsc.edu.
    PMID: 25024373 PMCID: PMC4238009 DOI: 10.2337/db14-0026 2021 retraction.

    Statement of Retraction Statement of Retraction. Qilong Wang, Zhonglin Xie, Wencheng Zhang, Jun Zhou, Yue Wu, Miao Zhang, Huaiping Zhu, and Ming-Hui Zou. Myeloperoxidase Deletion Prevents High-Fat Diet–Induced Obesity and Insulin Resistance. Diabetes 2014;63:4172–4185. DOI: 10.2337/db14-0026. PMID: 25024373. PMCID: PMC4238009 American Diabetes Association https://doi.org/10.2337/db21-rt08c At the request of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC), the above-cited article has been retracted. An OUHSC investigation into the integrity of the data presented in the article concluded that multiple Western blot figures were falsified. The falsifications are described below. • Lanes 2 and 4 of the Fig. 7G P-Akt (S473) Western blot are duplicate bands shown with different treatment labels. • Lanes 3, 6, and 7 of the Fig. 7H P85 Western blot are duplicate bands shown with different treatment labels. • The Fig. 7H IRS-1 Western blot is reused and shown with different treatment labels in lanes 1–7 of Fig. 4B IRS1 in the following publication: Zhou J, Wang Q, Ding Y, Zou M-H. Hypochlorous acid via peroxynitrite activates protein kinase Cu and insulin resistance in adipocytes. J Mol Endocrinol 2015;54:25–37. DOI: 10.1530/JME-14-0213. PMID: 25381390. PMCID: PMC4261204 • The first four lanes of Fig. 7H IRS-1 are also reused in lanes 1–4 of Fig. 2A IRS1 in the above-cited publication. • Lanes 1 and 4 of Fig. 7G P-IRb are duplicates. • Lanes 1, 3, 5, and 7 of Fig. 7I 3-NT are duplicates. The American Diabetes Association’s (ADA’s) Panel on Ethical Scientific Programs concurs with the OUHSC investigative report and has reviewed and approved this statement of retraction. More information about ADA’s retraction policies and procedures can be found at https://diabetesjournals.org/content/journal-policies

  9. Has Ming-Hui Zou thought of resigning?

    http://retractionwatch.com/2021/06/11/kentucky-professor-resigns-ahead-of-vote-that-could-have-stripped-him-of-tenure/

    Xiangli Shi, a former endowed professor at at the University of Kentucky has resigned.

    Mig-Hui Zou has 12 retractions, yet Xianglin Shi only has 8 retractions.
    http://retractiondatabase.org/RetractionSearch.aspx#?auth%3dShi%252c%2bXianglin

    Retractions aren’t everything, but a factor to be taken into consideration though. 12 retractions are quite a lot.

  10. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpendo.00202.2013_RET

    Retraction of “Suppression of the mTORC1/STAT3/Notch1 pathway by activated AMPK prevents hepatic insulin resistance induced by excess amino acids” (Li et al 2014).

    “The American Physiological Society is issuing a retraction of this article at the request of the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center’s Research Integrity Office due to image duplication in Figs. 1 and 2 that significantly affect the results and conclusions reported in the manuscript.”

  11. Whoops, there goes another one.

    “Retraction of: Ablation of Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase α1 in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Promotes Diet-Induced Atherosclerotic Calcification In Vivo”

    The editors received a request from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center to retract the above referenced article due to data irregularities and image reuse in Figure 3 that affect the results and conclusions reported in the manuscript. Specifically, the following irregularities were found:

    In Figure 3D, the top left panel immunohistochemistry image labeled “ApoE–/– with “Runx2” staining was reused in Figure 4A, bottom left panel immunohistochemistry image labeled “ApoE–/–/AMPKα1f/f” with “Runx2” staining.

    The editors are retracting this article in agreement with the University of Oklahoma.

    The authors do not agree to the retraction.

  12. Is Dr. Zou still the faculty member of GSU? Does the University investigate this serious misconduct? He has so far almost 20 papers retracted from scientific journals, NIH should involve and do the job! He has received millions dollars from US tax payers money to do scientific research, now we have seen a result, what a shame to him!

  13. As of May 2024, Ming-Hui Zou has 23 retractions and 10 expressions of concern. I don’t think GSU pays him enough for the fame he brings the school.

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