[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 236 (Tuesday, December 9, 2014)]
[Page 73077]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-28859]



Office of the Secretary

Findings of Misconduct in Science

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:
    Kaushik Deb, Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia: Based upon the 
evidence and findings of an investigation report by the University of 
Missouri-Columbia (UM) transmitted to the United States Department of 
Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Research Integrity (ORI) and 
additional analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review, ORI found 
that Dr. Kaushik Deb, former Postdoctoral Fellow, Life Sciences Center, 
UM, engaged in misconduct in science in research that was supported by 
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), 
National Institutes of Health (NIH), grants 2 R01 HD021896 and 5 R01 
HD042201-05 and National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), NIH, 
grant 5 R01 RR013438-07.
    ORI found that the Respondent intentionally, knowingly, and 
recklessly fabricated and falsified data reported in the following 
published paper:
     Deb, K., Sivarguru, M., Yong, H., & Roberts, R.M. ``Cdx2 
gene expression and trophectoderm lineage specification in mouse 
embryos.'' Science 311:992-996, 2006 (hereafter referred to as 
``Science 311''); this paper was retracted on July 27, 2007
    An earlier version of Science 311 had been previously submitted to 
Nature on or about June 24, 2005 (hereafter referred to as ``Nature 
#1''). It was revised and resubmitted to Nature on or about August 24, 
2005, and ultimately was rejected by Nature on September 14, 2005 
(hereafter referred to as ``Nature #2'').
    Specifically, ORI finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the 
Respondent engaged in misconduct in science by intentionally, 
knowingly, and recklessly:
    1. Falsifying and/or fabricating three panels of data in Figure 1 
(Figures 1C, 1D, and 1E) in Science 311 and in Nature #1 and Nature #2, 
by photo-manipulating confocal fluorescent images to falsely represent 
three-, four-, and six-cell embryos, thereby supporting the paper's 
central premise that cells derived from a late-dividing blastomere 
would be positive for a transcription factor, Cdx2, while the cells 
derived from a leading blastomere would be Cdx2 negative
    2. using photo-manipulation to falsify and fabricate at least 13 
panels of confocal image data in Figures 2, 3, and S2, including 
Figures 2K, 2L, 2Q, 2R, 2V, 2X, 3G, 3H, 3I, S2s, S2t, S2u, and 2W, in 
Science 311 and in corresponding figures in Nature #1 and Nature #2 so 
that these images falsely supported the central premise in Science 311 
that Cdx2-expressing cells were peripherally located in the embryo
    3. falsifying Figures 2G, 3J, 3L, S2V, S2X, S6I, S6J, and S6K in 
Science 311, Figures 2A, 2C, S4v, and S4x in Nature #1, and Figures 2G, 
3I, 3J, and 3K in Nature #2 by reusing and re-labelling the same image 
to represent different embryos and different experimental conditions
    4. falsifying Figure 4 in Science 311 and corresponding figures 
submitted in Nature #1 and Nature #2 to falsely illustrate that the 
first dividing cell of a two-cell mouse embryo will ultimately 
differentiate into the trophoblast; specifically, Respondent:
     Falsely colored and photomanipulated a single bright-phase 
image of a three-cell embryo to make it appear as four separate embryos 
that had been differentially injected with TRD
     falsely colored and photomanipulated a four-cell embryo to 
make TRD appear distinctly located in the lagging cell and in its 
descendent cell, when the actual embryo contained diffuse staining 
within the sub-zonal, extracellular space
     photomanipulated a damaged, non-viable two-cell embryo to 
make it appear viable
     re-used, falsely colored, and relabeled seven images from 
an unrelated experiment to falsely represent a time lapse course of 
eight different images
    5. falsifying Figures 5K, 5L, 5N, and 5O in Science 311 by photo-
manipulating a single confocal image to falsely represent four 
different images at two different stages of embryonic development. The 
images also were presented as Figures 4k, 4l, 4n, and 4o in Nature #1.
    The Respondent failed to take responsibility for the fabrication 
and falsification described in ORI's findings.
    The following administrative actions have been implemented for a 
period of three (3) years, beginning on November 17, 2014:
    (1) Respondent is debarred from any contracting or subcontracting 
with any agency of the United States Government and from eligibility 
for, or involvement in, nonprocurement programs of the United States 
Government referred to as ``covered transactions'' pursuant to HHS' 
Implementation (2 CFR part 376 et seq) of Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and 
Suspension, 2 CFR part 180 (collectively the ``Debarment 
Regulations''); and
    (2) Respondent is prohibited 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 consultant.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Acting Director, Office of Research Integrity, 
1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 750, Rockville, MD 20852, (240) 453-8800.

Donald Wright,
Acting Director, Office of Research Integrity.
[FR Doc. 2014-28859 Filed 12-8-14; 8:45 am]