At least 8 more papers from biotechnology department at Kalasalingam University manipulated as 2 are retracted

There is something that seems rotten at the biotechnology department at Kalasalingam University. Either there is a tradition of faking images or there is little sense of any kind of ethics. I have posted earlier about retractions of papers where Sangiliyandi Gurunathan, the head of the department, was the supervisor.

Now Retraction Watch reports that

Angiogenesis retracts two papers, cites image manipulation in eight, as PI blames unethical students   

According to the retraction notice for one of the papers, “Gold nanoparticles inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor-induced angiogenesis and vascular permeability via Src dependent pathway in retinal endothelial cells” (we’ve annotated with links and citation data):

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors as it contains manipulated figures.

In Figs. 3 and 4, paper photomicrographs are supposed to represent images of endothelial cell cultures after scratching the monolayer in order to assess migration of the cells. However, the panels do not represent independent data, but instead contain repetitive cell patterns suggestive of digital manipulation of these figures.

As such, this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community and the Editors take a very strong view on this matter, and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this problem was not detected during the submission and review process.

It has been found that other articles from the same laboratory also contain manipulated figures. We have listed those articles below.

Pigment epithelium-derived factor inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor-and interleukin-1beta-induced vascular permeability and angiogenesis in retinal endothelial cells. Sheikpranbabu S, Ravinarayanan H, Elayappan B, Jongsun P, Gurunathan S. Vascul Pharmacol. 2010 Jan-Feb;52(1–2):84–94. Epub 2009 Dec 16. [Retraction notice available here.]

Pigment epithelium-derived factor inhibits erythropoietin-induced retinal endothelial cell angiogenesis by suppression of PI3K/Akt pathway. Haribalaganesh R, Sheikpranbabu S, Banumathi E, Gurunathan S. Exp Eye Res. 2010 Jun;90(6):726–33. Epub 2010 Mar 16. [Cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge]

Isolation and characterization of goat retinal microvascular endothelial cells. Haribalaganesh R, Banumathi E, Sheikpranbabu S, Deepak V, Sirishkumar N, Gurunathan S. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2010 Jun;46(6):529–37. Epub 2010 Mar 7.

High-yielding enzymatic method for isolation and culture of microvascular endothelial cells from bovine retinal blood vessels. Banumathi E, Haribalaganesh R, Babu SS, Kumar NS, Sangiliyandi G. Microvasc Res. 2009 May;77(3):377–81. Epub 2009 Feb 21.

Pigment epithelium-derived factor inhibits advanced glycation end-product-induced angiogenesis and stimulates apoptosis in retinal endothelial cells. Sardarpasha Sheikpranbabu, Ravinarayanan Haribalaganesh, Elayappan Banumathi, Namagiri Sirishkumar, Kyung-Jin Lee, Sangiliyandi Gurunathan. Life Sciences. 2009 November;85(21–22):719–31. Epub 2009 October 8.

Gold nanoparticles inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor-induced angiogenesis and vascular permeability via Src-dependent pathway in retinal endothelial cells. Kalishwaralal K, Sheikpranbabu S, BarathManiKanth S, Haribalaganesh R, Ramkumarpandian S, Gurunathan S. Angiogenesis 2011 Mar;14(1):29–45. Epub 2010 November 9. [This is the same article mentioned in the notice.]

PEDF inhibits VEGF- and EPO-induced angiogenesis in retinal endothelial cells through interruption of PI3K/Akt phosphorylation. Banumathi Elayappan, Haribalaganesh Ravinarayannan, Sheik Pran Babu Sardar Pasha, Kyung-jin Lee and Sangiliyandi Gurunathan. Angiogenesis 2009, Dec 12(4):313–324. Epub 2009 August 6. [A retraction notice is available for this paper, which has been cited seven times.]

PEDF prevents reactive oxygen species generation and retinal endothelial cell damage at high glucose levels. Elayappan Banumathi, Sardarpasha Sheikpranbabu, Ravinarayanan Haribalaganesh, Sangiliyandi Gurunathan. Exp Eye Res. 2010 90(1):89–96. Epub 2009 October 16. [Cited four times.]

At least one of the papers from journals other than Angiogenesis, the 2010 article in Vascular Pharmacology, has already been retracted. But others have yet to be pulled.

The Retraction Notice is damning and Sangiliyandi Gurunathan cannot escape responsibility for the sorry state of affairs at a new and rather young University. Retraction Watch reports that he blames a lack of ethics with his students but his supervision and guidance are sadly lacking. But the Vice Chancellor Dr. S Radhakrishnan cannot escape responsibility either. I had written to him back in February and he had replied that a high level committee was looking into the matter. I was disappointed then that he seemed more concerned about avoiding future complaints rather than addressing the ethics at his University. Prodding is of little value if his own sense of ethics is not engaged to bring about improvements. I have brought the latest retractions and the sorry state of affairs at the University to the notice of the Society for Scientific Values which has the goal of upholding ethics in the Indian Scientific community and which does advise the Government of India.

But there is a bigger issue here than just the lack of supervision and absence of ethics at Kalasalingam University. Education is a highly lucrative and a booming business in India and private universities have little sense of ethics. There are some small signs that ethics and academic excellence are getting a higher priority but the financial results are still pre-eminent and private universities in India have a long way yet to go.

Capitation fees: The stench of corruption in the Indian body academic

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3 Responses to “At least 8 more papers from biotechnology department at Kalasalingam University manipulated as 2 are retracted”

  1. murugan Says:

    He has received over Rs 2.00 crore funding from various governmental funding agencies like CSIR, DST, DBT and ICMR for performing research. He is starting one company at Kalasalingam University.
    http://www.gslifesciences.com/Dr.%20G.S.html

    He told others, Kalsalingam University Chairman and registrar Support this activity. We don’t know is it true or not. UGC visit to kalasalingam on this year October.
    Please take action through court.

  2. Kalasalingam University takes action against misconduct: head of department and 6 PhD students sacked « The k2p blog Says:

    […] The Sangiliyandi Gurunathan and Kalasalingam University story was covered by earlier posts here and here. […]

  3. selvam Says:

    Recently at Kalasalingam University Dr. XXXXXXX and his student xxxxxx (department of information technology) plagiarized 6 papers page to page ,just they changed name only and Dr. YYYY and his student yyyyyyy (department of biotechnology) manipulated figures in two journals, why now vice chancellor is not taking action, may be they are belongs to management community or higher official community, he took very strong action in previous case, we hope the same action should be taken for the above cases also. Then only the VC chancellor is shows same interest in all cases.
    (names redacted in the absence of any evidence – please link to evidence if any- ktwop)

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