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Prominent UCSD eye doctor ‘on leave’ after inewsource investigation – inewsource (Jill Castellano & Brad Racino | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 14, 2019
 

Dr. Kang Zhang, chief of eye genetics at the University of California San Diego, is “on leave” after an inewsource investigation exposed how the doctor put medical research subjects in harm’s way for years while pulling in millions of federal dollars for the institution.

This case demonstrates why an institution’s monitoring arrangements need to escalate consistent nonadherence and include random audits

In a new development, inewsource obtained an inspection report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that detailed more problems with one of Zhang’s studies. The report, compiled in 2016, described one incident in which Zhang poked a hole in a study participant’s eye with a needle, causing a cataract that had to be fixed with surgery.
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The person wasn’t supposed to be enrolled in the study, according to the report, and the injury allegedly occurred because Zhang was in a hurry to take a trip to China.
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“We got scammed:” Authors “sincerely apologize” for plagiarism they blame a ghostwriter for – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 13, 2019
 

The journal Cureus is retracting three articles by a mashup of authors from Pakistan and the United States for plagiarism, which the researchers blame on their use of a hired gun to prepare the papers.

A noteworthy element to this story is it appears the researchers have tried to explain away one breach (plagiarism) by admitting to another breach (using a ghostwriter), as well as another misdemeanour (not checking work prior to submission).  We have included links to quite a few items on ghostwriting, plagiarism and taking responsibility for a research output.

The articles were published over a roughly one-month stretch in August and September 2018 and covered an impressively polymathic range of topics, from lupus to heart disease. Although the list of authors varied, a few names remained constant. One, Asad Ali, of Lahore Medical College and Institute of Dentistry, was the first author on all three papers. Another was Malik Qistas Ahmad, whose affiliation is given as the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson although he no longer works there.
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The papers (not in chronological order) are: “Systemic lupus erythematosus: an overview of the disease pathology and its management”;  “Neurogenic stunned myocardium: a literature review”; and “An overview of the pathology and emerging treatment approaches for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome.”
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Aboriginal genome analysis comes to grips with ethics – Nature (Ewen Callaway | September 2011)0

Posted by Admin in on May 12, 2019
 

Sequencing effort provides a model for future studies of museum samples.

En route from Sydney to Perth, Australia, in the early 1920s, British ethnologist Alfred Cort Haddon acquired a tuft of human hair from a young Aboriginal man. He added it to his sizeable collection of hair from people living around the world.

Ninety years later, those locks have yielded the first complete genome sequence of an Aboriginal Australian, and provided clues about the timing of human migrations from Africa to Asia1 (see ‘Early human explorers charted a bold course’). The work has also underscored the bioethical dilemmas involved in plumbing the genomes of indigenous populations — especially when the DNA comes from an archived specimen such as Haddon’s. “To be sequencing DNA from the hair of a deceased indigenous person is uncharted ethical territory,” says Emma Kowal, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Melbourne.

The genome project, led by Eske Willerslev at the University of Copenhagen, received approval for the work from a group that represents Aboriginals in the region in which the man probably lived. But some scientists are jittery about how others in the Aboriginal community might receive the project, and worry that it could set back efforts to engage Aboriginals in genetic research. “In a sense, every Aboriginal Australian has had something about themselves revealed to the world without their consent,” says Hank Greely, who directs the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University in California.

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(US) Major U.S. cancer center ousts ‘Asian’ researchers after NIH flags their foreign ties – Science (Mara Hvistendahl | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 11, 2019
 

HOUSTON, TEXAS—The MD Anderson Cancer Center here has ousted three senior researchers after the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, informed it that the scientists had committed potentially “serious” violations of agency rules involving confidentiality of peer review and the disclosure of foreign ties. The researchers are among five MD Anderson scientists that NIH cited in letters to the cancer center, which is part of the University of Texas (UT) system. MD Anderson officials say they invoked termination proceedings against three of the researchers, are still investigating allegations against one, and determined termination was not warranted for the fifth scientist.

The new developments are linked to a sweeping effort launched last year by NIH to address growing U.S. government fears that foreign nations, particularly China, are taking unfair advantage of federally funded research. NIH says its inquiries about the foreign ties of specific NIH-funded researchers have prompted at least 55 institutions to launch investigations. The cases at MD Anderson, which received $148 million in NIH funding in 2018, are the first publicly known instances where NIH’s inquiries appear to have led an institution to invoke termination proceedings against researchers judged to have violated the rules.

Cancer center officials have not named any of the five researchers. MD Anderson President Peter Pisters says all are “Asian”; Science has confirmed that three are ethnically Chinese. Several faced NIH inquiries about their ties to China, according to internal cancer center documents and NIH emails provided by MD Anderson to the Houston Chronicle and reviewed by Science. Those documents also show that MD Anderson has been working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for several years on undisclosed national security investigations, which included searches of faculty email accounts and in one instance, video surveillance. Those investigations could be linked to the recent departures and to the NIH letters; MD Anderson had put at least one faculty member named by NIH on leave in December 2017, months before NIH sent its letter and 1 week after FBI gained access to several MD Anderson network accounts.

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