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Researcher working on benefits of red wine 'falsified data more than 100 times'
University of Connecticut have started dismissal proceedings against Dipak DasSpokesman said the university was 'deeply disappointed by the flagrant disregard' for conduct codes
Last updated at 10:35 AM on 12th January 2012
A U.S. university has said a researcher known for his work on red wine's benefits to cardiovascular health falsified his data in more than 100 instances.
Nearly a dozen scientific journals are being warned of the potential problems after publishing the University of Connecticut professor's studies.
Dipak Das is the director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Connecticut
University officials say dismissal proceedings have started against Dipak Das, director of the UConn Health Centre's Cardiovascular Research Centre.
The university said it started investigating Mr Das' work after receiving an anonymous complaint in 2008 of potential irregularities in his research, and that it found 145 instances of fabricated, falsified and manipulated data.
Mr Das has gained attention for research into an ingredient in red wine that has shown potential for promoting health, though the university did not say whether the falsifications occurred in research on that topic.
Dr Nir Barzilai, whose research team conducts resveratrol research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said Das is not a major figure in the field.
He added the new allegations will not make a material difference to resveratrol research, which is being conducted extensively around the world with encouraging results from many labs.
Enthusiasm in the potential health benefits from red wine grew after a widely reported study in 2006 in which obese mice lived longer, healthier lives after getting resveratrol. Das was not involved in that research.
The university's health centre recently declined to accept £580,000 ($890,000) in federal grants awarded to Das as its review was under way, and has frozen all other external funding for his lab.
The UConn report found what it called 'a pervasive attitude of disregard within the (lab)' for commonly accepted scientific practices.
It also said there were so many problems - and over so many years - that the review board members 'can only conclude that they were the result of intentional acts of data falsification and fabrication, designed to deceive.'
Some examples included several cases in which data was digitally altered; data from one experiment was used to justify findings in another; and controls from one experiment were used to denote another experiment's controls, which are the unchanged factors against which experiments are compared.
Philip Austin, the UConn health affairs vice president, said they are 'deeply disappointed by the flagrant disregard' for UConn's conduct codes, but grateful that the anonymous tipster notified authorities.
'The abuses in one lab do not reflect the overall performance of the Health Center's biomedical research enterprise, which continues to pursue advances in treatments and cures with the utmost of integrity,' he added.