Findings of Scientific/Research Misconduct

A three-fer … these have been sitting in the Federal Register for a while (Jan 29 & Feb 10) but finally got noticed in the NIH Guide. Note that Dr. Afshar was cited for Research Misconduct, while Drs. Nguyen and Tanaka were cited for Scientific Misconduct. The different terms used reflect the timing of the misconduct (scientific if the misconduct occurred before June 2005, research if after June 2005) due to a change in regulatory definitions.

Notice is hereby given that ORI and the Assistant Secretary for Health have taken final action in the following case:

Based on the report of an investigation conducted by the NIH and additional analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review, the U.S. PHS found that Kazuhiro Tanaka, MD, PhD, former Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Biology Section, Craniofacial Developmental and Biology and Regeneration Branch, NIDCR, engaged in scientific misconduct in research supported by PHS funds from the NIDCR, NIH Intramural Program.

PHS found that Respondent engaged in scientific misconduct by falsifying data that were included in 3 published papers. Specifically, PHS found that Respondent:

Falsified the results for CRYBP1 or Sox9 binding to the Col2a1 DNA sequence in electrophoretic mobility shift assays in Figure 1D and Figure 7 in MCB 20:4428-4435, 2000. He used duplicate copies of bands or duplicate copies of parts of lanes to falsely represent results from reportedly different experimental conditions;

Falsified the results for NT2 binding to the Col11a2 DNA sequence in electrophoretic mobility shift assays in Figures 2D and 6B, and falsified the Western blot for NT2 mutant proteins in Figure 8B in MCB 22:4256-4267, 2002. He used duplicate copies of bands, parts of bands, or duplicate copies of parts of lanes to falsely represent results from reportedly different experimental conditions in Figures 2D and 6B; and falsely represented results for the Figure 8B Western blot by using duplicate copies of bands to represent NT2[Delta]1 (lane 2) and NT2[Delta]4 (lane 5) mutant proteins;

Falsified the Western blot for Sox9 protein expression in Figure 4B, JBC 275:12712-12718, 2000, by using duplicate copies of lanes 1 and 2 to represent the Sox9 expression in cell extracts from both Balb 3T3 and undifferentiated ATDC5 cells; and

Falsified the Northern blots in multiple panels of Figure 3, MCB 20:4428-4435, 2000. He used duplicate copies of bands for CRYBP1, for Type II collagen, for Type X collagen, and for GAPDH and 18S EtBr stained control bands to falsely represent results of RNA expression from these different genes in ATDC5 cells. He also used duplicate copies of bands to falsely represent the RNA expression in ATDC5 cells grown under different conditions for either collagen Type II in Figure 3, MCB 2000 or collagen [alpha]1(X) in Figure 5 in MCB 22:4256-4267, 2002. Similarly, duplicate copies of 18S EtBr stained control bands were used in both figures with reportedly different experimental conditions.

Notice is hereby given that ORI and the Assistant Secretary for Health have taken final action in the following case:

Based on a UCLA report and Respondent’s own admission, the U.S. PHS found that M. Nguyen, MD, former Associate Professor at UCLA, engaged in scientific misconduct in research supported by R01CA69433, P50AT00I51, and T32DK03688. Specifically, PHS found that Respondent engaged in scientific misconduct by:

1. Dr. Nguyen’s laboratory conducted a single experiment on the effect of Livistona extract on the growth of 10\6\ mouse fibrosarcoma (FSA) cells injected into C3H mice. The drug was administered in the drinking water of the treated mice and tumor sizes were measured twice weekly with calipers. Dr. Nguyen falsified and fabricated the results of this experiment in Figure 3 of Oncology Reports 8:1355-1357, 2001:

A. The data reported for the control group were from an experiment in nude mice implanted with human breast tumor implants, rather than with mouse fibrosarcoma cell implants, as Dr. Nguyen reported in the paper. The control data for FSA implanted C3H mice could not be located in the laboratory records.

2. Dr. Nguyen’s laboratory conducted a single experiment on the effect of Livistona extract on the growth of 10\8\ MDA-MD-231 cells injected into nude mice. The drug was administered in the drinking water of the treated mice and tumor sizes measured twice weekly with calipers. Dr. Nguyen falsified and fabricated the results of this experiment in Figure 9 of NIH grant application P50 AT00151-01, dated May 19, 1999, by:

A. Falsely stating in the associated text that there were ten mice per group and that the experiments were repeated once, while in fact, there were only five mice per group with no repetition of this experiment

B. Omitting data on the control curve for two of the measurement times (at 2 and 3.5 weeks) and falsely reporting the times at which three other measurements were taken.

3. Dr. Nguyen’s laboratory conducted a single experiment (1998-99) testing the anti-angiogenic effects of Livistona chinensis extract on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). HUVEC cells were counted from duplicate wells when exposed to extract and controls were counted from single wells:

A. Figure 8 of NIH grant application P50 AT00I51-01, dated 5/19/99, plots the data as a bar graph. However, the same data were reported in Figure 1 of Oncology Reports 8:1355-1357, 2001, by falsely expressing them as the rate of growth obtained by measuring the uptake of radioactive thymidine into cellular DNA and plotting the data as normalized to control values. UCLA concluded that Figure 1 was falsified by claiming the data were obtained by a state-of-the-art technique not actually employed by the Respondent to obtain the data for that figure (Admission). This falsification did not bear upon the findings of the paper.

4. Dr. Nguyen’s laboratory tested whether the levels of bFGF (basic fibroblast growth factor) and VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) in nipple fluid aspirates were significantly elevated in breast cancer patients in comparison to values from normal lactating and non-lactating breasts. Dr. Nguyen falsified the number of subjects who were lactating in The Lancet 356:567-569, 2000, by claiming that bFGF data were obtained from four separate subjects while in fact the data were from both breasts of two subjects.

Notice is hereby given that ORI and the Assistant Secretary for Health have taken final action in the following case:

Based on a UCSF report and Respondent’s own admission, the U.S. PHS found that Nima Afshar, PhD, former postdoctoral fellow at UCSF engaged in research misconduct in research supported by T32CA108462 and R01GM59704.

PHS found that Respondent engaged in research misconduct in the performance of research on yeast to test whether disruption of the tight controls, to prevent re-replication, on the initiation of DNA replication could produce gene amplifications with a copy number greater than two (2).

Specifically, Respondent falsified files containing raw scanned microarray images from another researcher’s experiments to demonstrate that in experiments that she claimed to have conducted, she successfully observed gene amplifications with a copy number greater than two (2); there were 36 such instances of falsifying data files.

2 Comments »

  1. […] Findings of Scientific/Research Misconduct « Medical Writing b…/b […]

  2. […] writedit was, once again, faster than me at spotting the […]

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