Findings of Scientific Misconduct

As foreshadowed by a news piece and letter in Science previously reported here … note the passage of time since this case came to light as well …

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 University of Wisconsin-Madison and additional analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review, the US PHS found that Elizabeth Goodwin, PhD, former associate professor of genetics and medical genetics engaged in scientific misconduct while her research was supported by grants R01GM051836 and R01GM073183.

PHS found that in grant application 2R01GM051836-13, Respondent knowingly and intentionally:

  • Falsified Figures 5A and 5B by reusing figures from two of her earlier published papers and falsely labeling them to claim results that had not been achieved in her laboratory.
  • Falsified Figure 7B by reusing a figure from one of her published papers and both relabeling it to claim she had detected the STAR-2 protein rather than the TRA-l protein actually detected and modifying the image in the application to disguise its origin.
  • Falsified Figure 8C by using a figure produced by one of her students and relabeled it to show that RNAi treatment of C. elegans led to increased expression of the TRA-2 protein when this result had not been obtained by the student.
  • Falsified the table on Page 20 of the application showing phenotypic frequencies of worms expressing star-2 (ok483) mutants by significantly overstating the level of aberrant phenotypes and fabricating certain categories of phenotypes not seen by the student conducting the research.

PHS finds that in grant application 1R01GM073183-01, Dr. Goodwin knowingly and intentionally:

  • Falsified Figure 5 because she used the same two lanes in both Figure 5 and Figure 7, although they were flipped horizontally in one of the figures to disguise their reuse. In Figure 7, the lanes illustrated an effect on laf-1 during developmental stages of C. elegans, and in Figure 5, the same lanes purportedly illustrated an effect on laf-1 noncoding RNA. A witness testified that the result in Figure 5 had not been observed, while that in Figure 7 had, indicating that the claims for Figure 5 were falsified.
  • Falsified Figure 8 by reusing photographs prepared by a student that identified the location of rRas-l expression in adult worms and claiming instead that the images illustrated the location of laf-1 mRNA. The images had been enlarged and cropped to disguise their location.

Dr. Goodwin has voluntarily agreed, for a period of 3 years, beginning on July 22, 2010:

    (1) To exclude herself from any contracting or subcontracting with any agency of the U.S. Government and from eligibility for, or involvement in, nonprocurement programs of the U.S. Government referred to as “covered transactions’ pursuant to the HHS Implementation of OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension at 2 CFR 376, et seq.; and

    (2) To exclude herself from serving in any advisory capacity to PHS, including but not limited to service on any PHS advisory committee, board, and/or peer review committee, or as a consultant.


  1. SaG said

    Looks like she also got an even bigger punishment. I wonder if this is why ORI took so long?,%202010%20-%20Elizabeth%20Goodwin%20Pleads%20Guilty.pdf.

  2. whimple said

    Now you’re talking! They should all get sent up this way.

  3. Something I’ve been wondering about for a few months–basically since I learned that it was possible to be criminally charged for scientific misconduct under the premise of making false claims to apply for federal funds–In what percentage of cases ruled as misconduct by ORI (or NSF equivalent) is a DoJ investigation launched?

  4. Charlie said

    Appeal, on what basis?. On the fact that others have gotten away with similar or bigger misconduct and some even with honors?. Is that the premise on which the precedent’s concept works in the American Law?. Is that an effective reintegration strategy into the community?. Glad that she was not given jail time. Returning part
    of the misused funds is a very fair request. She has a job at a time of high unemployment.

  5. VCURAMFAN said

    Still working…

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