A University of Connecticut researcher, Dipak K. Das – researching the link between aging and a substance found in red wine – has been found to have committed more than 100 acts of data fabrication and falsification, the university said on Wednesday, throwing most of his research into question.
University officials, after an internal review, found 145 instances over seven years in which Das fabricated, falsified and manipulated data, and the US Office of Research Integrity has opened an independent investigation of his work.
“We have a responsibility to correct the scientific record and inform peer researchers across the country,” Philip Austin, the university´s interim vice president for health affairs, said in a statement.
Resveratrol has been promoted by a number of dietary supplement manufacturers as slowing the ageing process as and retaining health.
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, according to Stephanie Reitz for the Associated Press. 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, Barzilai said.
A widely reported study in 2006, which Das was not involved in, revealed obese mice living longer, healthier lives after receiving doses of resveratrol. This research began a wave of enthusiasm for the substance among the health industry.
Das´s research was placed under investigation beginning in January 2009, two weeks after the university received an anonymous allegation about research irregularities in his laboratory, reports Nicholas Wade of the NY Times.
“We have a responsibility to correct the scientific record and inform peer researchers across the country,” Philip Austin, interim vice president for health affairs, said in a written statement about the notifications to the 11 scientific journals.
Das has had dismissal proceedings launched against him. He has been employed by the Health Center since 1984 and was granted tenure in 1993. Das could not immediately be reached for comment.
Das wrote in a 2010 letter to university officials that the investigation was a “conspiracy” against him. The work was “repeated by many scientists all over the world.”
“As you know, because of the development of a tremendous amount of stress in my work environment in recent months, I became a victim of stroke for which I am undergoing treatment,” he wrote in a separate letter.
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