Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-124
Release Date: July 28, 2016
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:
Zhiyu Li, Ph.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine: Based upon the evidence and findings of an investigation report by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM) and additional analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review, ORI found that Dr. Zhiyu Li, former Postdoctoral Fellow, MSSM, engaged in research misconduct in research that was supported by National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant R21 CA120017. ORI found that falsified and/or fabricated data were included in the following published papers, submitted manuscript, poster presentation, and grant applications:
The JNCI 2008 and HGT 2009 papers were retracted, and the Can. Res. Manuscript 2009 was withdrawn.
ORI found that the Respondent intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly engaged in research misconduct by falsely claiming to have generated recombinant Clostridium perfringens (Cp) strains, Cp/sod-, Cp/sod-/PVL, and Cp/plc-/sod-/PVL, to depict the effects of recombinant Cp strains on their ability to destroy cancer cells in a murine model, when these bacterial strains were not produced nor the data derived from them, and by falsifying histopathological data reported in fifty-
seven (57) images in two (2) published papers, one (1) submitted manuscript, two (2) poster presentations, and seven (7) of Respondent's supervisor's grant applications and fabricating the corresponding nineteen (19) summary bar graphs that were based on those false images.
Specifically, Respondent trimmed and used portions of Figure 6 (right panel) of a draft R21 CA120017-01 grant application, representing an image of liver tumor two (2) days after injection of Cp/plc- bacteria, to represent unrelated results from different experiments in:
Respondent trimmed and used portions of Figure 6C of R21 CA120017-02, representing pancreatic tumor five (5) days after injection of Cp/sod- bacteria, to represent results from different experiments in:
Respondent trimmed and used a portion of a figure that was reported as mouse pancreatic tumor tissue treated with control liposomes in four (4) figures (Figure 6D in R21 CA120017 Final Progress Report, Figure 10D in R01 CA130897-01 A1, Figure 7D in R01 CA130897-01 A2, and Figure 5D in R01 CA148697-01), to represent results from mouse pancreatic tumor tissue not treated with control liposomes in:
Respondent falsified at least four (4) and possibly eight (8) images by using and relabeling Figures 4A (left panel), 4B (right panel), and 4B (left panel) in JNCI 2008 and Figure 1B (center panel) of Cancer Res. Manuscript 2009, to represent different experimental conditions in Figures 3C (middle panel), 3B (left panel), 3C (right panel), and 3D (left panel) in HGT 2009 respectively.
Respondent trimmed and used portions of Figure 4E (right panel) in JNCI 2008, representing pancreatic tumor from mice injected with Cp/sod-/PVL bacteria, to represent mice injected with Cp/plc-/sod-/PVL bacteria in the following:
The Respondent also fabricated the resulting quantitative data in nineteen (19) summary bar-graphs based on the false histopathological images in:
The following administrative actions have been implemented for a period of five (5) years, beginning on July 3, 2016:
(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 the U.S. Public Health Service (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:
Kathryn M. Partin
Office of Research Integrity