[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 191 (Wednesday, October 2, 2013)]
[Pages 60873-60874]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-23971]



Office of the Secretary

Findings of Research Misconduct

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, HHS.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity 
(ORI) has taken final action in the following case:
    Nitin Aggarwal, Ph.D., Medical College of Wisconsin and University 
of Wisconsin-Madison: Based on the reports of the investigations 
conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and the University 
of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) and additional analysis conducted by the ORI 
in its oversight review, ORI found that Dr. Nitin Aggarwal, former 
Graduate Student, MCW, and former Assistant Scientist, UW, engaged in 
research misconduct in research supported by National Heart, Lung, and 
Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grants 
R01 HL37981, R01 HL54075, and R01 HL57414.
    ORI found that that the Respondent engaged in research misconduct 
by falsifying and/or fabricating PHS-supported data in six (6) figures 
that were included in the following two (2) publications, one (1) grant 
application to the American Heart Association (AHA), one (1) grant 
application to NIH, and the Respondent's Ph.D. thesis:
     Aggarwal, N.T., Pfister, S.L., & Campbell, W.B. 
``Hypercholesterolemia Enhances 15-Lipoxygenase Mediated Vasorelaxation 
and Acetylcholine-Induced Hypotension.'' Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, 
and Vascular Biology 28:2209-2215, 2008 (hereafter the ``ATVB paper'').
     Aggarwal, N.T., Pfister, S.L., Gauthier, K.M., Chawengsub, 
Y., Baker, J.E., & Campbell, W.B. ``Chronic hypoxia enhances 15-
lipoxygenase-mediated vasorelaxation in rabbit arteries.'' American 
Journal of Physiology--Heart Circulation Physiology 296:H678-H688, 2008 
(hereafter the ``AJP paper'').
     Aggarwal, N.T., Principal Investigator (P.I.), National 
Scientist Development grant application to the American Heart 
Association No. 11SDG7650072, ``Sulfonylurea rReceptor-2 splice variant 
and mitochondrial mechanisms for cardioprotection and arrhythmia'' 
(hereafter the ``AHA grant application'').
     K99 HL113518-01, ``Mitochondrial ATP-sensitive K-channels 
and pharmacological approaches for cardioprotection,'' Aggarwal, Nitin, 
Ph.D., P.I.
     Aggarwal, N.T. ``Endothelial 15-lipoxygenase regulates 
vasorelaxation and blood pressure in rabbits in normal and pathological 
condictions.'' A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate 
School of Biomedical Science of the Medical College of Wisconsin in 
Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of 
Philosophy, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2008 (hereafter the ``thesis'').
    Specifically, ORI found that Respondent engaged in research 
misconduct by falsifying Western blot loading control data by 
inverting, duplicating, and cropping source blot films and/or using 
films from unrelated experiments to construct five (5) false Western 
blot figures. In the absence of valid blot images, Respondent falsified 
and/or fabricated the corresponding quantitative data for summary bar 
graphs and the data statistics in related text. Respondent admitted to 
falsely reporting the number of mice reported for an experiment 
reported in Figure 4

[[Page 60874]]

in grant application HL113518-01 to support the hypothesis of the 
research. The falsified and/or fabricated data are:
     False [szlig]-actin data and statistics in Figures 1A and 
1B in the AJP paper and Figures 41A and 41B in the thesis (p. 131) that 
purport to represent a time-course of 15-LO-1 protein expression in 
rabbit aortic endothelial cells (RAECs) following hypoxia.
     false [szlig]-actin and 15-LO-1 data and statistics in 
Figures 2A and 2B in the AJP paper and Figures 45A and 45B in the 
thesis (p. 135) that purport to represent 15-LO-1 expression in aortic 
rings of normoxic and hypoxic rabbits.
     false [szlig]-actin data and statistics in Figures 3A and 
3B in the AJP paper and Figures 46A and 46B in the Respondent's Ph.D. 
thesis (p. 137) that purport to represent 15-LO-1 expression in 
different arteries after hypoxia.
     false [szlig]-actin data and statistics in Figures 1A and 
1B in the ATVB paper and Figures 26A and 26B in the thesis (p. 105) 
that purport to demonstrate changes in 15-LO-1 expression in different 
arteries of cholesterol-animals; the false [szlig]-actin data in Figure 
1A, ATVB was the same image as that used for Figure 1A, AJP but flipped 
     false GAPDH data and statistics in Figure 7 in the AHA 
grant application that purport to represent SUR2A-55 expression in 
murine heart following left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).
     false reporting in Figure 4A of grant application 
HL113518-01 for the number of mice used for the physiological data for 
ATP-induced potassium influx in murine mitochondria as three to four, 
when only a single mouse was studied.
    Dr. Aggarwal has entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement and 
has voluntarily agreed for a period of three (3) years, beginning on 
September 17, 2013:
    (1) To have his research supervised; Respondent agreed that prior 
to the submission of an application for U.S. Public Health Service 
(PHS) support for a research project on which his participation is 
proposed and prior to his participation in any capacity on PHS-
supported research, Respondent shall ensure that a plan for supervision 
of his duties is submitted to ORI for approval; the supervision plan 
must be designed to ensure the scientific integrity of his research 
contribution; he agreed that he shall not participate in any PHS-
supported research until such a supervision plan is submitted to and 
approved by ORI; Respondent agreed to maintain responsibility for 
compliance with the agreed upon supervision plan;
    (2) that any institution employing him shall submit in conjunction 
with each application for PHS funds, or report, manuscript, or abstract 
involving PHS-supported research in which Respondent is involved, a 
certification to ORI that the data provided by Respondent are based on 
actual experiments or are otherwise legitimately derived, and that the 
data, procedures, and methodology are accurately reported in the 
application, report, manuscript, or abstract; and
    (3) 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 

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

David E. Wright,
Director, Office of Research Integrity.
[FR Doc. 2013-23971 Filed 10-1-13; 8:45 am]