More co-author misconduct raises NIH neuroscientist’s retraction count to 8

Not again. That’s the sound of learning that a third scientist you worked with committed misconduct. In the last two years, we reported on two retractions for neuroscientist Stanley Rapoport, the result of misconduct by two different first authors. We’ve since discovered more retractions resulting from those cases — and a new retraction stemming from […]

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7th retraction for Ohio researcher who manipulated dozens of figures

A pharmacology researcher at Ohio State University has added his seventh retraction, four years after a finding of misconduct by the U.S. Office of Integrity (ORI). An analysis of the work of Terry Elton determined that he had falsified and/or fabricated Western blots in eighteen (18) figures and in six (6) published papers.  In 2012, the ORI […]

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Biologist with five-year funding ban earns 7th and 8th retractions

A biologist in New Jersey has retracted two more papers, bringing his total to eight retractions, following a finding by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI). The analysis of the work of John Pastorino, previously a cell biologist at Rowan University, in Glassboro, concluded that he had doctored more than 40 images, resulting in a five-year […]

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New Jersey university biologist earns funding ban for doctoring more than 40 images

A researcher has agreed to a five-year ban on Federal U.S. funding for research after the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) determined that he had falsified or fabricated more than 40 images in nine papers. The findings, released by the ORI today, are another chapter in a case involving John Pastorino, a cell biologist at […]

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Singapore investigation leads to two retractions, two more on the way

Authors have retracted papers from Cell Metabolism and the Journal of Biological Chemistry after an investigation in Singapore found issues, including falsified data. The investigation is ongoing, and two additional retractions, along with two corrections, are on the horizon. The investigation looked into papers by first authors Sudarsanareddy Lokireddy, now a postdoc at Harvard, and Sandhya Sriram, a postdoc at the […]

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Cancer team loses two papers for image manipulation

A team spread across multiple institutions in China and McGill University in Canada has retracted two cancer papers over “inaccurate and inappropriately processed Western Blots.” Some of the figures were also reused between the two articles, both in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta General Subjects. The articles both tested the cancer-fighting properties of a derivative of […]

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PubPeer strikes again: Leukemia paper retracted for image duplications

In July, a PubPeer commenter called out a paper in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta for image duplication; by September, the paper was retracted for the exact reason detailed in the anonymous comment. Here’s the notice for “Effect of ST3GAL 4 and FUT 7 on sialyl Lewis X synthesis and multidrug resistance in human acute myeloid leukemia,” a paper initially […]

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ORI: Ohio State researcher manipulated two dozen figures in NIH grants, papers

terry elton

Terry Elton, via OSU

Terry S. Elton, a researcher at Ohio State University in Columbus who studies genetic expression in various heart conditions and Down syndrome, has been sanctioned by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity for fabricating and/or falsifying data in a number of NIH grants and resulting papers.

According to an OSU statement sent to Retraction Watch last night, it was an anonymous whistleblower who alerted the university to the potential misconduct in July 2010. The ORI report notes that he two OSU investigations, along with the ORI investigation, found that Elton:

falsified and/or fabricated Western blots in an NIH grant application in three submissions of the same grant application:

  • Figures 4, 7, 11C: 1 R21 HD058997-01
  • Figures 7B, 7E, 8B: 1 R21 HD058997-01A1
  • Figures 3C, 3F, 6C: 1 R21 HD058997-01A2

and false Western blots were also included in Figure 6 in grant application 1 RC1 HL100298-01.

falsified and/or fabricated Western blots in eighteen (18) figures and in six (6) published papers. Specifically false and/or fabricated images were included in:

  • Figures 2C, 2D, 2F, 3C, 3E, 4G, 5C, 5F: J Biol Chem 285(2):1529-43, 2010 Jan 8
  • Figures 3B, 3C, 3F, 3H, 3I, 3J: Biochem Biophys Res Commun 370(3):473-7, 2008 Jun 6
  • Figures 2, 3, 4B, 5B, 6, 7B, 8A, 9B: Am. J. Physiol. Lung Cell. Mol. Physiol. 293(3):L790-9, 2007 Sept
  • Figure 6: J Biol Chem 282(33):24262-9, 2007 Aug 17
  • Figure 6: Mol Cell Endocrinol 249(1-2):21-31, 2006 Apr 25
  • Figures 5, 6B, 7B, 9B: Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1680(3):158-70, 2004 Nov 5.

The 3-year sanctions, with which Elton voluntarily agreed, include:

(1) to exclude himself from any contracting or subcontracting with any agency of the United States Government and from eligibility or involvement in nonprocurement programs of the United States Government referred to as “covered transactions” pursuant to HHS’ Implementation (2 C.F.R. Part 376 et seq) of OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Govermentwide Debarment and Suspension, 2 C.F.R. Part 1805 (collectively the “Debarment Regulations”) for a period of three (3) years, beginning on November 26, 2012;

(2) to exclude himself voluntarily 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 three (3) years, beginning on November 26, 2012

The Columbus Dispatch was first to report the news.

OSU has also imposed sanctions, according to their statement:

Dr. Elton has received a written reprimand; will be required to participate in mandatory counseling on research misconduct and complete formal training on research ethics; and he is prohibited from supervising or serving as a primary advisor to any undergraduate or graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, or laboratory technicians for three years.  In addition, all manuscripts and grant applications that Dr. Elton participates in will be reviewed and approved by university officials prior to submission for a period of five years.

OSU added:

Ohio State University takes allegations of research misconduct seriously and will continue to work diligently to protect the integrity of research produced by members of the university community.

Elton is a reasonably well-cited researcher, with 13 papers cited more than 100 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

OSU recommended that six papers be retracted. One, “TGFß1 stimulates human AT1 receptor expression in lung fibroblasts by cross talk between the Smad, p38 MAPK, JNK, and PI3K signaling pathways,” published in 2007 in the American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, already has been:

This article is being retracted by the American Physiological Society at the request of the Corresponding Author and with the approval of the coauthors because it contains improperly prepared data in Figs. 2A, 3B, and 4B that are unreliable. The authors apologize to the readers for this error and for any inconvenience associated with the publication of the article.

That paper, retracted in April of this year, has been cited 36 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The other papers, which the ORI agreed should be retracted:

Hat tip: Earle Holland