Notice Number: NOT-OD-14-010
Release Date: October 24, 2013
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
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:
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 in grant application HL113518-01 to support the hypothesis of the research.
The falsified and/or fabricated data are:
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 consultant.
Please direct all inquiries to:
David E. Wright, Ph.D.
Office of Research Integrity
1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 750
Rockville, MD 20852
Telephone: (240) 453-8800