[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 17 (Friday, January 25, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Page 5454]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01454]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Office of the Secretary


Findings of Research Misconduct

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, HHS.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity 
(ORI) has taken final action in the following case:
    Rao M. Adibhatla, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin: Based on the 
report of an investigation conducted by the University of Wisconsin 
(UW) and additional analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review, 
ORI found that Dr. Rao M. Adibhatla, Assistant Professor, Department of 
Neurological Surgery, UW, engaged in research misconduct by falsifying 
results in two publications supported by National Institute of 
Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health 
(NIH), grant R01 NS042008 and in three unfunded applications that Dr. 
Adibhatla submitted to NINDS, NIH, as R01 NS042008-05, -05A1, and -
05A2. The questioned papers are:

1. Adibhatla, R.M., Hatcher, J.F., Larsen E.C. et al. ``CDP-choline 
Significantly Restores Phoshatidylcholine Levels by Differentially 
Affecting Phospholipase A2 and CTP:Phosphocholine 
Cytidylyltransferase after Stroke.'' J. Biol. Chem. 281:6718-6725, 
2006 (hereafter referred to as the ``JBC paper''), as the 
sPLA2-IIA, CCT[alpha], and PLD2 data in Figures 1B, 2A, 
and 3A, respectively
2. Adibhatla, R.M., & Hatcher, J.F. ``Secretory phospholipase A2 IIA 
is Up-regulated by TNF-[alpha] and IL-1[alpha]/[beta] after 
Transient Focal Cerebral Ischemia in Rat.'' Brain Research 1134:199-
205, 2007 (hereafter referred to as the ``Brain Research paper''), 
as the sPLA2-IIA data in Figures 2A and 2C.

    ORI found that Respondent committed research misconduct by 
falsifying Western blot images as well as quantitative and statistical 
data obtained from purported scans of the films. The research studied 
the effect of cerebral ischemia on phospholipid homeostasis in an 
experimental animal model (SHR rat) of stroke during the course of 
reperfusion of the ischemic cortex. The falsified Western blot images 
and derivative quantitative data describe changes in levels of 
sPLA2-IIAA, CCT[alpha], and of PLD2 during reperfusion in 
the ischemic cortex.
    Specifically, the Respondent:
     Falsified the Western blot data demonstrating 
sPLA2 expression in a time course after ischemia in Figure 
1B of the JBC paper and Figure 2A and 2C of the Brain Research paper by 
rearranging the bands such that the labels do not accurately portray 
what is in the lanes. He perpetuated the falsification by presenting 
the quantification of the single falsified Western blot in a bar graph 
as the average of five (5) replicate Western blots. The result in the 
paper cannot be substantiated by the actual experiments.
     Falsified the Western blot data demonstrating CCT[alpha] 
expression in a time course assay after ischemia in Figure 2A of the 
JBC paper by rearranging the bands such that the labels do not 
accurately portray what is in the lanes. He perpetuated the 
falsification by presenting the quantification of the single falsified 
Western blot in a bar graph as the average of four (4) replicate 
Western blots and the six (6) hour time point was further falsified to 
make the results look better. The result in the paper cannot be 
substantiated by the actual experiments.
     Falsified the quantification of a Western blot 
demonstrating PLD2 expression in a time course after ischemia in Figure 
3A of the JBC paper by claiming a bar graph quantifying a single 
Western blot is the average of four Western blots.
     Submitted the same falsified Western blot images and bar 
graph data in three unfunded grant applications: NS042008-05, NS042008-
05A1, and NS042008-05A2. Specifically:
    < the falsified sPLA2-IIA data were submitted as Figures 
3, 8, and 12 in the respective NS042008-05, -05A1, and -05A2 
applications
    < the falsified CCT[alpha] data appeared as Figures 10, 15, and 16 
in the respective -05, -05A1, and -05A2 applications
    < The falsified PLD2 bar graph data and associated statistical 
claims appeared as Figures 8 and 13 in the -05 and -05A1 applications 
respectively.
    Dr. Adibhatla has entered into a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement and 
has voluntarily agreed:
    (1) To exclude himself voluntarily for a period of two (2) years 
from the effective date of the Agreement from any contracting or 
subcontracting with any agency of the United States Government and from 
eligibility or involvement in nonprocurement programs of the United 
States pursuant to HHS' Implementation (2 CFR part 376 et seq.) of OMB 
Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension, 2 
CFR Part 180 (collectively the ``Debarment Regulations'');
    (2) To exclude himself voluntarily from serving in any advisory 
capacity to PHS including, but not limited to, service on any PHS 
advisory committee, board, and/or peer review committee, or as a 
consultant for a period of three (3) years beginning on December 18, 
2012; and
    (3) To request retraction of the following papers:
     J. Biol. Chem. 281:6718-6725, 2006
     Brain Research 1134:199-205, 2007.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Director, Office of Research 
Integrity, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 750, Rockville, MD 20852, (240) 
453-8200.

David E. Wright,
Director, Office of Research Integrity.
[FR Doc. 2013-01454 Filed 1-24-13; 8:45 am]
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