Indian-American red wine researcher accused of falsifying data

Last Updated: Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 15:59

Washington: An Indian-American scientist has been charged with fabricating and falsifying data with regard to his research on health benefits of red wine.

Dipak Das is a professor in the Department of Surgery and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Connecticut.

As a result of the conclusion of a three-year investigation, the University has frozen all externally-funded research in the laboratory of Das. It has also declined to accept the USD 890,000 in federal grants awarded to Das.

Dismissal proceedings, in accordance with the University`s bylaws, are currently underway, said an official release.

The comprehensive report of the investigation, which totals approximately 60,000 pages, concludes that Das is guilty of 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data.

Inquiries are currently underway involving former members of Das` lab. No findings have been issued to date.

The University has sent letters of notification to 11 scientific journals that had published studies conducted by a member of its faculty.

Das had gained attention in recent years for his work into the beneficial properties of resveratrol, which is found in red wine.

He has been employed by the Health Center since 1984, and was awarded tenure in 1993.

"While we are deeply disappointed by the flagrant disregard for the University`s Code of Conduct, we are pleased the oversight systems in place were effective and worked as intended," Philip Austin, interim vice president for health affairs, said.

"Our findings were the result of an exhaustive investigation that, by its very nature, required considerable time to complete," he said.

According to the investigations results, Das manipulated Western blot results in the research papers.

The investigation into Das was sparked by an anonymous allegation of research irregularities in 2008.

The investigation noted that the data fabrication began in 2005 when "there was no one in the lab with the expertise to prepare Western blots."

University investigators revealed that "many figures had more manipulations but, for expediency, the review board only noted the most obvious" in flagging 145 cases of misconduct.

The report stated that "given the large number of irregularities discovered, which were done over several years and in several different ways, the review board can only conclude that they were the result of intentional acts of data falsification and fabrication, designed to deceive."

PTI



First Published: Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 15:59

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