January 11th, 2012

Director of UConn CV Research Center Accused of Scientific Misconduct

Following an extensive investigation, Dipak Das, a professor in the Department of Surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center, has been accused of serious scientific misconduct. UConn has informed 11 scientific journals about the investigation.

Das had numerous publications on resveratrol and other nutrition-related cardiovascular subjects. According to an online biography, he was a founding editor and editor-in chief of the journal Antioxidant and Redox Signaling, and also served as associate editor of the American Journal of Physiology: Heat and Circulatory Physiology and consulting editor of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.

The news was announced by the UConn Health Center and has been reported by Retraction Watch, the Associated Press,  and the Connecticut Mirror.

The University said the investigation had been sparked by an anonymous allegation of research irregularities in 2008, resulting in a 60,000 page report that found Das guilty of 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data. UConn said it worked closely with the U.S. Office of Research Integrity during the investigation. UConn is now preparing to dismiss Das.

“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,”  said Philip Austin, interim vice president for health affairs at UConn. “We are grateful that an individual chose to do the right thing by alerting the appropriate authorities. Our findings were the result of an exhaustive investigation that, by its very nature, required considerable time to complete.”

Retraction Watch reported further details about Das, including the following:

Das appears to have had a relationship with a Las Vegas resveratrol maker called, unsurprisingly, Longevinex. The company has promoted his research, and Das also shows up in a lengthy video touting the nutrient as the next aspirin. The infomercial is guided by an “investigative reporter” named Gailon Totheroh, who is affiliated with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Here is the list of journals notified by UConn:

  • American Journal of Physiology – Heart & Circulatory
  • Antioxidants & Redox Signaling
  • Cellular Physiology & Biochemistry
  • Free Radical Biology
  • Free Radical Research
  • Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
  • Journal of Cellular & Molecular Medicine
  • Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
  • Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Molecular & Cellular Cardiology
  • Molecular & Cellular Chemistry

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