Findings of Misconduct in Science

And then some …

“Specifically, ORI made 15 findings of misconduct in science based on evidence that Dr. Brodie knowingly and intentionally fabricated and falsified data reported in 9 PHS grant applications and progress reports and several published papers, manuscripts, and PowerPoint presentations.”

Oof. Note the multiple mechanisms (3 P01s, 4 R01s, 1 U01, and 1 R01 converted to a U01) and funding institutes (NICHD, NIAID, NIDCR, NHLBHI). And Dr. Brodie, a research assistant professor (i.e., non-tenure track) fought them every step of the way it seems. Without further ado …

Notice is hereby given that on March 18, 2010, the DHHS Debarring Official, on behalf of the Secretary of HHS, issued a final notice of debarment based on the misconduct in science findings of the ORI in the following case:

Based on the findings in an investigation report by the University of Washington and additional analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review, ORI found that Scott J. Brodie, DVM, PhD, former Research Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine, and Director of the UW Retrovirology Pathogenesis Laboratory, committed misconduct in science (scientific misconduct) in research supported by or reported in the following US PHS grant applications:

1 P01HD40540
5 P01HD40540
1 P01AI057005
1 R01DE014149
2 U01AI41535
1 R01HL072631
1 R01(U01)AI054334
1 R01DE014827
1 R01 AI051954

The 15 findings [of misconduct in science] are as follows:

1. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure that was presented in manuscripts submitted to the Journal of Experimental Medicine and the Journal of Virology and in several PowerPoint presentations that purported to represent rectal mucosal leukocytes in some instances and lymph nodes in other instances.

2. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified portions of a three-paneled figure included in several manuscript submissions, PowerPoint presentations, and grant applications.

3. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure included as Figure 1N in American Journal of Pathology 54:1453-1464, 1999, three NIH grant applications, and several PowerPoint presentations.

4. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure that was published as an insert within Figure 1K in American Journal of Pathology 54:1453, 1999 and included the figure in a number of NIH grant applications.

5. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure representing a panel of four green fluorescent cells and included it as a figure in several grant applications claiming that each cell had been subjected to different treatments when three of the cells came from a single image.

6. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified an image included as Figure 5A in a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Investigations 105:1407, 2000 and submitted to various journals and included in different grant applications.

7. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure appearing as Figure 3.III.A, inset, in a manuscript submitted to Science entitled “A persistent reservoir of HIV-1 in pulmonary macrophages’ and as figures in various grant applications and PowerPoint presentations.

8. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified multiple versions of a figure depicting green and red fluorescent cells used as Figures 3.III.H and I in a manuscript submitted to Science, as Figures 6C and 6D of grant application 1 R01 DE14827-01, as Figures C.2.1 1H and C.2.11I of grant application 1 R01 HL072631-01, and in PowerPoint presentations.

9. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure, labeled as Figure 9E in grant application 1 R01 DE014827-01 and in various other grant applications and PowerPoint presentations.

10. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified the bottom half of Figure C.2.5 of grant application 1 R01 HL072631-01 by using the same image twice, labeling it once as being treated for 2 hours with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and the second as being treated for 12 hours with LPS. Respondent also used a second image twice, labeling it once as “no LPS’ and the second time as “24 hours with LPS.’

11. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure that purports to represent viral decay in rectal mucosa and included the figure as a slide in two PowerPoint presentations and three NIH grant applications.

12. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified: (a) A histopathology figure that was described in a paper published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases 83:1466, 2001, as inguinal lymph nodes from an untreated AIDS patient using in situ PCR to show the presence of HIV-1 cells when it was actually from a tissue expressing the neomycin marker; (b) the gel images resembling Figures 2A and C, which Respondent claimed to be based on lymph node cells, although he reported the gel images elsewhere to represent results from rectal tissue; and (c) various versions of these blots that Respondent reported elsewhere and labeled differently with respect to the copy numbers detected and as detecting DNA in some instance and RNA in others.

13. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified Figures 2DI and 2DII included in a paper published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology 68:351-359, 2000.

14. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified Figure 4, Panels A and B, in grant application 1 R01 DE014827-01 by manipulating the source images.

15. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a number of figures and made false statements in the text of grant application 1 R01 AI051954-01 submitted jointly with a colleague by relabeling figures based on research carried out with HIV-1 or HIV-2 and identifying the figures and text as research conducted with ovine lentivirus (OvLV).

ORI issued a charge letter enumerating the above findings of misconduct in science and proposing HHS administrative actions. Dr. Brodie subsequently requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of the Departmental Appeals Board to dispute these findings. In January 2009, the ALJ issued a ruling holding that there were no triable issues challenging ORI’s findings that there were materially false statements, images, and other data in the relevant publications, presentations, and grant applications. However, the ALJ held that Dr. Brodie raised triable issues about his intent to commit scientific misconduct and the reasonableness of the proposed debarment of 7 years.

On January 12, 2010, the ALJ issued a recommended decision to the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health granting summary disposition to ORI. The ALJ also stated that Dr. Brodie committed scientific misconduct on multiple occasions and that its extent amply justified debarment for a period of 7 years.

On February 1, 2010, Dr. Brodie submitted a letter to the HHS Debarring Official with attachments to request that the ALJ’s recommended decision be rejected as a whole. On February 26, 2010, Dr. Brodie submitted a letter requesting the opportunity to meet with the HHS Debarring Official to orally present the reasons supporting his request that the ALJ’s recommended decision be rejected. However, the HHS Debarring Official determined that Dr. Brodie had been afforded an opportunity to contest ORI’s findings of scientific misconduct … Given the findings of facts in this case, the HHS Debarring Official determined that the issues in his presentation in opposition to the ALJ’s recommended decision did not raise a genuine dispute over facts material to the recommended debarment.

Accordingly, the HHS Debarring Official also denied Dr. Brodie’s request to make an oral presentation and issued a notice of debarment to begin on March 18, 2010, and end on March 17, 2017.

On March 23, 2010, Dr. Brodie submitted a letter requesting a postponement of the effective date of the debarment. This request was denied by the Debarring Official on April 6, 2010.

Thus, the misconduct in science findings set forth above became effective, and the following administrative actions have been implemented for a period of 7 years, beginning on March 18, 2010.

I wonder if ORI began to think 7 years wasn’t enough …

8 Comments »

  1. Jeezus motherfuck! That d00d was a busy beaver!

    BTW, maybe I’m just not remembering well, but this seems like the first time I’ve ever seen findings of misconduct involving falsifying Powerpoint presentations.

    • writedit said

      Yep. Just the sort of guy you want in charge of your core laboratory facility …

      And no, I don’t recall specific mention of PPT falsification previously, but he was obviously very proud of his work and willing to share it with as wide an audience as possible. I wonder if this is how one or more of the falsified images was spotted …

  2. BikeMonkey said

    That’s one big steaming pile of fake data! Wow! Hope nobody believed his data and went astray trying to work from it…

  3. “11. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure that purports to represent viral decay in rectal mucosa and included the figure as a slide in two PowerPoint presentations and three NIH grant applications.”

    I just bet he did.

  4. SaG said

    I wonder what he would have said at the Oral Presentation he requested with ORI?

    Plus, why did it take so long for ORI to do this? It looks like UW finished its investigation in 2003.

    http://dailyuw.com/2007/12/5/case-closed-uw-researcher-found-guilty-of/

    • Fishy said

      Dr.Clark was an investigator on the UW Brodie case and 3yrs after he stated:

      “He had the data that were presented in the journals”

      http://ebm.rsmjournals.com/cgi/content/full/231/7/1240?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&minscore=5000&resourcetype=HWCIT

      The ALJ never gave Brodie a hearing and gave a very different excuse for misconduct. Meaning the one person alone (not co-author) who submits article, grant is solely responsible for ALL the information contained within.

      http://www.hhs.gov/dab/decisions/civildecisions/cr2056ok.pdf

      ORI Did NOT print what the Judge rules but their own false statements to make you fearful of them. For instance #6 the ALJ determined the image published was correct and the ORI published it was false. Pretty amazing the ORI continued to disagree with the Judge. Something is fishy.

      I looked at the grants and Brodie is only shown to be a PI on two. So did I miss something but don’t the PI’s sign and “submit” grants?

      And what about what Dr. Clark said “He had the data presented…”?

      Before ANYBODY passes judgement you should find the facts behind the ORI because they are clearly politically motivated to promote their own agenda and not the Science agenda. I smell rotten fish.

      Can’t ORI admit they were wrong.

  5. Wow, that’s amazing. I’m going to spread that around our labs. It’s a nice reminder of what’s going on out there.

    I am curious about what rationalizations were employed to get as far as this researcher did. That’s perplexing.

  6. […] · Filed under Biomedical Research Ethics, Research News Hot on the heels of one sensational misconduct case at U Wash, details have been made public about another since the research assistant professor (and UW table […]

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