Ugh! TFW you just can’t escape image manipulation…

Last week I had the great pleasure of visiting Sabzali Javadov at the University of Puerto Rico, to participate in the PhD thesis defense of Rebecca Parodi-Rullan (Rebecca had spent some time in my lab a few years ago on an SfRBM mini-felowship).  She passed (yay!) and is off to start a post-doc at NYU soon.  Here’s a picture of Dr. Javadov’s awesome lab group, who I greatly enjoyed meeting with and discussing science:

But, as often happens during such visits, there was some down-time, so I found myself waiting in a corridor outside someone’s lab.  What else is there to do but read a poster?

Well, let’s just say the poster had some “imaginative approaches to the re-use of loading controls on western blots”.  I snapped a cellphone pic of the author banner and decided to pull some papers when I got home.

Here is what I found. Ugh!  Details are posted on PubPeer here, here, here and here, for those of you who don’t want to download a PDF with all the details.  Essentially it’s mutiple examples of images being re-used across 9 different papers spanning 2004-2018, all from a single PI’s lab – Dipak K. Banerjee in the Department of Biochemistry at UPR (Dr. Banerjee is the only author common to all 9 papers). He was and is funded by NIH, and some of the papers fall within the ORI 6 year statute of limitations. Thus, ORI has been informed, as have all the journal editors, and COPE (since all the journals are COPE members).

This sucks!  What should otherwise have been an enoyable trip now leaves a sour after-taste. Scientific misconduct never sleeps, it just keeps following me into the most unlikely places. When you’ve seen it once, it’s impossible not to see it everywhere you look. Ugh!