Posts Tagged ‘Joerg Zwirner’

More dodgy papers for National University of Singapore to investigate

October 24, 2011

Update: 31st October 2011: Further dodgy papers are given in the next instalment from Abnormal Science.

Japanese Retraction Watch has also been on the case.


Abnormal Science ( Joerg Zwirner) has 3 more examples of papers with some questionable images. This time the papers are from the Department of Physiology, National University of Singapore with 2 papers published in Blood and one in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The three papers tagged are:

1. Pervaiz S, Seyed MA, Hirpara JL, Clément MV, Loh KW.
Purified photoproducts of merocyanine 540 trigger cytochrome C release and caspase 8-dependent apoptosis in human leukemia and melanoma cells.
Blood. 1999 Jun 15;93(12):4096-108.
Department of Physiology, National University of Singapore; and the Oncology Research Institute, NUMI, Singapore

2. Hirpara JL, Seyed MA, Loh KW, Dong H, Kini RM, Pervaiz S.
Induction of mitochondrial permeability transition and cytochrome C release in the absence of caspase activation is insufficient for effective apoptosis in human leukemia cells.
Blood. 2000 Mar 1;95(5):1773-80.
Department of Physiology, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

3. Hirpara JL, Clément MV, Pervaiz S.
Intracellular acidification triggered by mitochondrial-derived hydrogen peroxide is an effector mechanism for drug-induced apoptosis in tumor cells.
J Biol Chem. 2001 Jan 5;276(1):514-21.
Department of Physiology, National University of Singapore, Singapore

The two names common to all 3 papers are JL Hirpara and research supervisor Professor Shazib Pervaiz.

The NUS investigation committee has its work cut out with all the questionable papers they need to check out (See here and here).

As Abnormal Science puts it:

Their inquiry commissions might soon run out of unbiased members. NUS should consider to accept assistance from abroad to clean up the mess.

And it seems to be truly a mess covering a number of departments which indicates a prevailing culture and not just some isolated incident of wrongdoing.

Further shenanigans at Singapore’s Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*)

October 15, 2011

Singapore was recently rocked by the Melendez affair where a much vaunted scientist was found to have manipulated data and 70 of his scientific papers are now under investigation. An excellent summary of the situation is here at Retraction Watch. Alirio Melendez who is currently employed by the University of Liverpool has been suspended pending the results of the investigation. In the strait-laced Singapore society which is utterly convinced about its own excellence in all things, this has come as a rude shock and shattered the complacent view of the academic world that “misconduct does not happen here”. There is now some concern that the reputation of the academic world in Singapore may be seriously tarnished.

But the misconduct may be rather more widespread than they would like to think. The “rotten” core was revealed by an “anonymous whistleblower” but it may be just the opening of the lid of a Pandora’s box.

Joerg Zwirner, an immunologist and associate professor at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen reports further cases of misconduct at Abnormal Science. He reports – courtesy of the whistleblower again – on 3 further papers where image manipulation is apparent. This time the common author is Kong-Peng Lam, of  the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Immunology, Biomedical Sciences Institutes, Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

Singapore and scientific misconduct: No end in sight

The three papers where image manipulation is apparent are:

1. Ng CH, Xu S, Lam KP.
Dok-3 plays a nonredundant role in negative regulation of B-cell activation.
Blood. 2007; 110: 259-66.

2. Tan JE, Wong SC, Gan SK, Xu S, Lam KP.
The adaptor protein BLNK is required for b cell antigen receptor-induced activation of nuclear factor-kappa B and cell cycle entry and survival of B lymphocytes.
J Biol Chem. 2001; 276:20055-63.

3. Wong SC, Chew WK, Tan JE, Melendez AJ, Francis F, Lam KP.
Peritoneal CD5+ B-1 cells have signaling properties similar to tolerant B cells.
J Biol Chem. 2002; 277: 30707-15.

Prof. KP Lam’s profile at A* is here. He has Minnesota, Columbia and Stanford behind him and a long list of publications in major journals.

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