Findings of Research Misconduct (x2)

Busy month for ORI …

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

Based on an inquiry conducted by Duke , admissions by the Respondent, and additional analysis conducted by ORI, ORI and Duke found that Shamarendra Sanyal, PhD, former postdoctoral scholar, engaged in research misconduct by falsifying data in a grant application submitted to NHLBI). Specifically, ORI found that the Respondent falsified Figure 2C of grant application R01HL107901, “Store-operated calcium entry in airway inflammation,’ by altering the gain settings in the instrument used to measure store-operated current (SOC) densities in a whole cell patch clamp experiment comparing Stim 1+/- mouse airway cells and wild type mouse airway cells. Respondent also falsified the calcium response data in Figure 5A (right panel) of the grant application referenced above by adding ATP as a reagent to the mouse airway epithelial cells to sharpen the results purported to be caused by PGN without disclosing that ATP had been added and without disclosing that ATP was not added to the control sample. The questioned research was not submitted for publication.

Dr. Sanyal has entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement with ORI and Duke. The administrative actions are required for 2 years beginning on the date of Dr. Sanyal’s employment in a research position in which he receives or applies for PHS support on or after the effective date of the Agreement (September 16, 2011); however, if he has not obtained employment in a research position in which he receives or applies for PHS support within 3 years of the effective date of the Agreement, the administrative actions set forth below will no longer apply. Dr. Sanyal has voluntarily agreed:

(1) To have his research supervised as described below and to notify his employer(s)/institutions(s) of the terms of this supervision; Respondent agrees to ensure that prior to the submission of an application for PHS support for a research project on which Respondent’s participation is proposed and prior to Respondent’s participation in any capacity on PHS supported research, the institution employing him will submit a plan for supervision of Respondent’s duties to ORI for approval; the plan for supervision must be designed to ensure the scientific integrity of Respondent’s research contribution; Respondent agrees that he will not participate in any PHS supported research from the effective date of this Agreement until a plan for supervision is submitted to and approved by ORI; Respondent agrees to be responsible for maintaining compliance with the agreed upon plan for supervision;

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

(3) 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.

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

Based on an investigation conducted by the University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) and a preliminary analysis conducted by ORI, ORI found that Nicola Solomon, PhD, former postdoctoral scholar, Department of Human Genetics, UMMS, engaged in research misconduct in research supported by grants R37HD030428 and R01HD034283.

Specifically, the Respondent did not perform DNA sequencing on 202 cDNA clones of homeobox genes to confirm their identity and integrity. Through multiple revision of the manuscript, the Respondent did not discuss this with the corresponding author or question and correct the corresponding author’s addition of text indicating that the clones had been fully sequenced and were full length or longer (as indicated in Table 3) when compared to NCBI Mus musculus Unigene. This text supported the use of the Cap-Trapper technique to produce full length clones for the discovery of new genes without polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Both the Respondent and the US PHS are desirous of concluding this matter without further expenditure of time and other resources and have entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement to resolve this matter. This settlement is not an admission of liability on the part of the Respondent. Respondent and ORI agreed to settle this matter as follows:

(1) Respondent agreed that for a period of 2 years beginning on September 16, 2011, prior to the submission of an application for PHS support for a research project on which her participation is proposed in a research capacity, and prior to her participation in this capacity on PHS-supported research, Respondent shall ensure that a plan for supervising her duties is submitted to ORI for approval; the supervision must be designed to ensure the scientific integrity of Respondent’s research contribution; Respondent agreed that she shall not participate as a researcher in any PHS-supported research until such a supervision plan is submitted to and approved by ORI; Respondent agreed to maintain responsibility for compliance with the agreed upon supervision plan; and

(2) Respondent agreed 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, for a period of 2 years, beginning on September 16, 2011.

2 Comments »

  1. D said

    I am not sure why but the second one sounds strange. Especially this part.

    “Through multiple revision of the manuscript, the Respondent did not discuss this with the corresponding author or question and correct the corresponding author’s addition of text ”

    Did the corresponding author assume it was done and never actually asked?

  2. AH said

    The Notice is not clear in its expression: “multiple revisionS of the manuscript” ?? a) Prior to submit it to publication or b) through the process of peer review of submitted paper?.

    If the answer is a) one explanation could be that perhaps the corresponding author suspected falsification of data and decided to test the scientist. This strategy, en lieu de confronting the scientist, would be a terrible strategy.

    If the answer is b), the corresponding author assumed too much and sounds as a “don’t ask, don’t tell” rather convenient strategy (particularly if the reviewers were asking for specific info) to get the study published.

    Who knows?.

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