Findings of Research Misconduct

Oof … an MD-PhD student who admitted that “Approximately, 60-75% of the PhD research data was changed or falsified.” [at least, I assume there should be a percentage sign there] I’m wondering how he still has the doctorate.

Notice is hereby given that ORI has taken final action in the following case:

Based on the Respondent’s written admission, the NYU School of Medicine and ORI found that Sagar S. Mungekar, PhD, former MD/ PhD student in the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYUSOM, engaged in research misconduct in research supported by R01GM35769, R01GM55624, T32GM07308, and T32AI007180.

Dr. Mungekar admitted that in his PhD thesis he “increased statistical significance of the calculated means and standards of deviation [sic] of the UV spectrophometic [sic] data presented by discarding certain experimental data and thus presented data that was falsified. In addition, as the repression ratios calculated and conclusions reached based on these data that included falsified data, those values and conclusions are fabricated. Approximately, 60-75 of the [Respondent’s] PhD research data was changed or falsified.’ Dr. Mungekar also admitted “while doing these experiments, I did not sequence all of the constructs that I constructed, thus, I could not be certain of the exact identity of the plasmids in question.’

ORI found that Dr. Mungekar engaged in research misconduct (42 CFR 93.103) by fabricating and falsifying data. Specifically, ORI found that Dr. Mungekar falsified 5 tables and 5 figures in his PhD thesis entitled “Autoregulation of Ribonuclease E,’ by discarding certain spectrophotometric data, to increase statistical significance, used to calculate repression ratios and RNA decay rates. Dr. Mungekar also claimed to have constructed 53 different reporter plasmids with RNase E mutants, when sequencing data did not exist to support this claim.

Dr. Mungekar has entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement in which he has voluntarily agreed, for a period of 3 years, beginning on November 22, 2010:

(1) 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-supported research, or that submits a report of PHS-funded research in which he is involved, must concurrently submit a plan for supervision of his duties to ORI for approval; the supervisory plan must be designed to ensure the scientific integrity of his research contribution; Respondent agrees that he will not participate in any PHS-supported research until such a supervision plan is submitted to ORI;

(2) that any institution employing him submits, in conjunction with each application for PHS funds, or report, manuscript, or abstract involving PHS-funded research in which he is involved, a certification to ORI that the data provided by the Respondent are based on actual experiments or are otherwise legitimately derived and that the data, procedures, and methodology are accurately reported in the application or report; and

(3) to exclude himself voluntarily from serving in any advisory capacity to the US PHS, including but not limited to service on any PHS advisory committee, board, and/or peer review committee, or as a consultant.



  1. whimple said

    And what happened the person in charge of vetting the research going out the door of his/her lab?

  2. And yet he is able to keep his PhD. Assuming he is a practicing clinician, what is he falsifying in his patients’ records?

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by S.C. Kavassalis, biochem belle. biochem belle said: Dear students, fabricating & falsifying data is bad. Don't do it. NYU MD/PhD admits to fudging 60-75% dissertation work […]

  4. Rob said

    I think #2 is not such a bad idea for all progress reports and grant applications. I know that such things tend to ‘lose meaning’ once they become routine, but how bad would it be if we reminded all PIs that data fraud is, well, fraud. Maybe it will keep some PIs from stretching interpretations in the preliminary results, etc.

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