iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
A professor of Indian origin along with another former scientist at Cornell University has been charged with fabricating data in 12 different scientific papers published between 2008 and 2016. The duo has been accused of engaging in misconduct in research conducted with federal grant money.
The researchers—biochemistry professor Kotha Subbaramaiah and medical professor Dr. Andrew Dannenberg—taught at Cornell University’s Weill School of Medicine, and much of their research focused on cancer. New reports by the federal Office of Research Integrity have revealed that they have engaged in misconduct in research conducted with federal grant money. The ORI report said that they “recklessly reused Western blot images from the same source and falsely relabeled them to represent different proteins and/or experimental results”.
Dr. Dannenberg had received nearly $8 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health since 1995, and Subbaramaiah received over $1 million between 2005 and 2009, according to the Retraction Watch.
“ORI found that Andrew Dannenberg ‘engaged in research misconduct by recklessly reporting falsified and/or fabricated data’ in the papers, and Kotha Subbaramaiah ‘reused Western blot images from the same source and falsely relabeled them to represent different proteins and/or experimental results.’ The published findings for both scientists include the same extensive list of duplicated images in a dozen papers, all of which have been retracted,” the Retraction Watch reported.
Investigations into the pair’s research were launched by the Weill School of Medicine last year, and the ORI followed up with an external review. The researchers retired within three months of each other, between late 2020 and early 2021.
Dannenberg’s retraction count reached 20 last June when Cancer Prevention Research retracted nine of his articles at once. Subbaramaiah was a coauthor on all of the papers and has 18 retractions, according to the Retraction Watch. Subbaramaiah has agreed not to accept research funding from any federal agency until 2030, and Dannenberg’s research over the same period will be supervised by senior faculty members at any institution he works for. Both researchers have been banned from serving on peer-review committees for the next seven years.
The lawyer of Dannenberg has however refuted the allegations levelled against him. “Dr. Dannenberg did not generate the problematic data nor prepare the figures necessitating retraction of any of the nine articles you reference; those data were prepared by another investigator, who is referenced in two of the Retraction Notices. At the time of publication, Dr. Dannenberg believed those data were valid and reliable and only came to learn more recently of concerns pertaining to those data,” said a statement sent to Retraction Watch by Dannenberg’s lawyer, Elizabeth McEvoy at the Boston firm Hinkley Allen.