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Iowa State AIDS Researcher Admits To Falsifying Findings 141

Posted by timothy
from the seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time dept.
theodp writes "'With countless lives depending on their work,' writes Brett Smith, 'it seems unthinkable that AIDS researchers might falsify their work. However, that's just what Iowa State University assistant professor Dong-Pyou Han has admitted to, according to federal documents.' Han resigned from the project in October after admitting to tampering with samples to give the appearance that an experimental vaccine was causing lab animals to build up protections against HIV. According to the NIH, Han apparently spiked rabbit blood with human blood components from people whose bodies had produced antibodies to HIV. 'This positive result was striking, and it caught everybody's attention,' said the NIH. However, researchers at other institutions became suspicious after they were unsuccessful in duplicating the ISU results. The Iowa State AIDS research project had been awarded $19 million in federal grants over the past several years. Han has agreed to be banned from participating in any federally-financed research for three years."
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Iowa State AIDS Researcher Admits To Falsifying Findings

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  • Wait, 3-year ban? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @08:26AM (#45810845) Homepage

    For many researches it takes more than 3-years to get a federal grant (if they don't falsify results that is), how is a 3-year ban from federally-financed research any sort of punishment for such dishonesty?

  • shame shame shame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blooddiamond (3469183) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @08:28AM (#45810851)
    sounds like a conspiracy to me. There has to be more to this story than just a professor doug tampering with samples and resigning
  • by martinux (1742570) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:07AM (#45810985)

    It's a defacto lifetime ban. Short of moving to another country he will have the stigma of this for as long as he tries to get a job in science. Any research he previously reported will now be subject to significant scrutiny.

    Just imagine him, or anyone attached to a group he's attached to, trying to get future federal funding; "We've decided to turn down your application for [insert any reason]."

    He's now a liability to any university or research group. The only people who might hire him are some unscrupulous company who need a yes-man who will provide 'sympathetic' findings. Even then the work will most likely be under a pseudonym and will have to survive all of the extra scrutiny a 'sponsored' research study gets.

    Thankfully, science is a self-correcting mechanism as this uncovering has demonstrated.

  • Re:Unconscionable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jovius (974690) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:15AM (#45811017)

    Well, surely lives should not depend on unverified and non-peer reviewed research as the summary sensationally implies. Because of the due process the falsified results were revealed before any actual danger. Most likely the falsified results were also publicized for immediate consumption well before any verification, which actually created new ground for false hopes.

  • Re:Poor Han (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @10:19AM (#45811365) Homepage Journal
    It's not. After this no one will touch him; his career as a researcher is over. For professors, three years of no federal grants is generally enough to kill the entire lab, and a three-year lapse in publishing is enough to kill any career on its own, with the possible exception of the most hard-boiled tenure.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.