The former director of the X-ray crystallography lab at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, faked findings in three papers, according to the Office of Research Integrity.
Two of the three papers by Bijan Ahvazi were published in 2004, and later retracted in 2007, while the other was rejected:
- Ahvazi, B., Boeshans, K.M., Idler, W., Baxa, U., & Steinert, P.M. “Structural basis for the coordinated regulation of transglutaminase 3 by guanine nucleotides and calcium/magnesium.”J. Biol. Chem. 279(8):7180-92, 2004 Feb 20 (cited 26 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, and withdrawn)
- Ahvazi, B., Boeshans, K.M., & Steinert, P.M. “Crystal structure of transglutaminase 3 in complex with BMP: Structural basis for nucleotide specificity.”J. Biol. Chem. 279:26716-25, 2004 (cited 14 times, withdrawn)
- Ahvazi, B., Boeshans, K.M., Idler, W.,& Cooper, A.J.L. “Crystal structure of transglutaminase 3-cystamine complex: Binding of two cystamines to the nucleotide-binding pocket. M6:06060, Submitted to J. Biol. Chem., 2006 (rejected)
Ahvazi faked five images in the papers, according to the ORI. For example, in “Crystal structure of transglutaminase 3 in complex with BMP: Structural basis for nucleotide specificity,” he:
Falsely labeled Figure 3A in JBC 2004b representing an isothermal calorimetric titration (ITC) experiment using guanine monophosphate (GMP) and transglutaminase 3 (TGase 3) when the figure was actually a relabeled version of an unrelated experiment that Respondent previously published as Figure 1A in JBC 2004a [the other withdrawn JBC paper].
Falsified Figure 4B in JBC 2004b, by adding multiple data points to titration curves for four different concentrations of TGase 3 bound by different concentrations of tagged GTPγS and deleting two (2) outlying data points from one of the curves
PubPeer has three entries for papers by Ahvazi, including the two retracted papers and one from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The two retracted JBC papers are dedicated to co-author Peter Steinert, who died in 2003.
Ahvazi has agreed to have any of his federally-funded research supervised for two years, and not to serve on NIH peer review committees for the same length of time.