Findings of Research Misconduct

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 Washington State University and additional analysis by ORI in its oversight review, the US PHS found that Hung-Shu Chang, PhD, former postdoctoral fellow, WSU, engaged in research misconduct in research supported by R01ES012974.

PHS found that the Respondent engaged in scientific (42 CFR 50.102) and research misconduct by fabricating and falsifying data in Figure 3 of a paper published in Endocrinology. Specifically, PHS found that:

Respondent, by not conducting any of the claimed bisulfite sequencing, fabricated the methylation status of CpG sites in 8 candidate genes identified in both Figures 3 and 4 as No. 11, No. 12, No. 13, No. 14, 15, No. 22, No. 26, No. 31, and No. 19, to support the hypothesis that the environmental compound, vinclozolin, induces a permanent alteration in the epigenetic reprogramming of the germline that promotes transgenerational disease states.

Respondent, by conducting only a small fraction of the claimed bisulfite sequencing, and falsifying the results obtained, falsified the methylation status of CpG sites in eight additional candidate genes, identified in Figures 3 and 4 as No. 2, 3, 24, No. 5, 6, 9, No. 8, No. 16, No. 17, 18, No. 27, 28, No. 29, and No. 33.

Dr. Chang has voluntarily agreed, for a period of 3 years, beginning on July 21, 2010:

(1) To exclude himself 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;

(2) that any institution that submits an application for PHS support for a research project on which the Respondent’s participation is proposed or that uses him in any capacity on PHS-support research, or that submits a report of PHS-funded research in which the Respondent is involved, must concurrently submit a plan for supervision of the Respondent’s duties to the funding agency for approval. The supervisory plan must be designed to ensure the scientific integrity of the Respondent’s research contribution while applying for or conducting PHS-supported research. Respondent agrees to ensure that a copy of the supervisory plan is submitted to ORI by the institution for ORI approval. Respondent agrees not to participate in any PHS-supported research until such a supervisory plan is submitted to ORI.

1 Comment »

  1. writedit said

    The Scientist has provide details on the “rest of the story” here, including some background on how the lab overcame this incident to repeat the work, which will be published in PLoS ONE.

    “That hypothesis was confirmed with this newer study,” Skinner said. “The specific epigenetic sites, though, are completely different.”

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