Former prof fudged dozens of images, says university

On Dec. 2, 2013, Alison Lakin, the research integrity officer at the University of Colorado Denver, received a concerning email.

The emailer was alleging several problems in a 2012 paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, co-authored by one of its high-profile faculty members. Lakin discussed the allegations with some administrators and agreed they had merit; Lakin sequestered an author’s laptop and other materials. Over the next few months, the university learned of additional allegations affecting other papers — and discovered even more serious problems in the JCI paper. Namely, the first author had inserted changes to 21 figures in the paper after submitting it, without alerting the other authors, journal, or reviewers.

That journal retracted the paper this month, citing numerous problems:

An investigative committee at the University of Colorado Denver recently reported multiple findings of data falsification and fabrication or lack of underlying supporting data regarding Figures 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, and Supplemental Figures 6 and 8 in this publication. Due to the numerous manipulations and lack of data to support the published findings, the JCI is retracting this article.

The article, “Equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1) regulates postischemic blood flow during acute kidney injury in mice,” received an expression of concern in 2014 over duplicated images. It has been cited 77 times since 2012 (including 40 since 2014), according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

According to the University of Colorado Denver’s investigation report, which we obtained through a public records request, former professor Almut Grenz committed research misconduct. Additional papers by the last author on the JCI paper, Holger Eltzschig, were also found to contain issues that were the result of “error,” not misconduct. Nevertheless, the committee recommended an additional paper (on which Grenz is the last author) be retracted, a Read the full article from the Source…

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