RELEASE DATE:  October 2, 2002

NOTICE:  NOT-OD-03-001

Department of Health and Human Services

Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) and the 
Assistant Secretary for Health have taken final action in the following case:

Heather J. Muenchen, Ph.D., University of Michigan:  Based on the report of an 
investigation conducted by the University of Michigan (UM), Dr. Muenchen's 
admissions, and additional analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review, 
the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) found that Dr. Muenchen, former 
postdoctoral fellow at UM, engaged in scientific misconduct in research funded 
by National Institutes of Health (NIH) Urology Research Training Grant T32 
DK07758 and SPORE grant PSO CA69568.  Dr. Muenchen falsified and fabricated 
research data by computer manipulation of 12 Western blot analyses in three 
publications and two draft manuscripts.

Specifically, PHS found that Dr. Muenchen:

(1)  falsified Western blot data in Figures 3, 4A, and 4B in the following 
paper:  Muenchen, H.J., Lin, D-L., Walsh, M.A., Keller, E.T., and Pienta, K.J.  
"Tumor necrosis factoralphainduced apoptosis in prostate cancer cells through 
inhibition of nuclear factorºB by an IºB± 'superrepressor.'" Clinical Cancer 
Research 6(5):19691977, 2000;

(2)  falsified Western blot data in Figures 2 and 3 in the following paper:  
Muenchen, H.J., Poncza, P.J., and Pienta, K.J.  "Different docetaxel-induced 
apoptotic pathways are present in prostate cancer cell lines LNCaP and PC-3."  
Urology 57(2):366-370, 2001; 

(3)  falsified Western blots and associated claims for Figures 1, 5A, 5B, and 8 
in the following paper:  Muenchen, H.J., Lin, D-L., Poncza, P.J., McLean, L.L, 
Dirette, M.L., Keller, E.T., and Pienta, K.J.  "Re-expression of functional 
androgen receptor in androgen-independent prostate cancer cells."  Published 
electronically on November 13, 2000 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) 
as Online Manuscript M008934200 (withdrawn January 16, 2001); and

(4)  falsified Western blot analyses in Figures 4A, 4B, and 7 of the original 
draft submitted for publication on September 29, 2000, (and the corresponding 
Figures 5A, 5B, and 8 in the second draft submitted October 20, 2000) of the JBC 
Dr. Muenchen was the first and corresponding author on the above publications, 
which were supported in part by Urology Research Training Grant T32 DK07758 and
SPORE grant P50 CA69568.  These falsifications are significant because they 
misrepresent the expression of the androgen receptor, the necessary control 
data, the evidence for "super-repressor" binding and its effect, and the control 
data for assaying apoptosis.  These misrepresentations occurred through a series 
of separate and specific deceptions in an attempt to obviate the legitimate 
criticisms of publication reviewers.  These falsifications were designed to be 
misleading about the experiments' true results and to wrongfully induce 
publication of the experiments.  Dr. Muenchen=s work could have provided tools 
for understanding metastasis in prostate cancer and ultimately impact on 
treatment of this disease.

Dr. Muenchen has entered into a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement in which she has 
voluntarily agreed:

(1)  to exclude herself from any contracting or subcontracting with any agency 
of the United States Government and from eligibility for, or involvement in, 
nonprocurement transactions (e.g., grants and cooperative agreements) of the 
United States Government as defined in 45 C.F.R. Part 76 (Debarment Regulations) 
for a period of five (5) years, beginning on September 5, 2002;

(2)  to exclude herself 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 a period of five (5) years, beginning 
on September 5, 2002; and

(3)  within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, to submit letters 
of retraction to the editor of Urology retracting the paper published at 57(2): 
366-370, 2001, and to the editor of Clinical Cancer Research, published at 6(5): 
1969-1977, 2000, identifying and retracting the falsified or fabricated data in 
Figure 3 and Figures 4A and 4B.  The retraction requirements will remain on the 
ALERT System until Dr. Muenchen sends, and ORI receives, copies of the 
retraction letters consistent with the above language.


For further information contact:

Division of Investigative Oversight
Office of Research Integrity
5515 Security Lane, Suite 700
Rockville, MD  20852
Telephone:  301-443-5330

Return to Volume Index

Return to NIH Guide Main Index

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) - Government Made Easy

Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.