Former NIH Fellow Admits to Research Misconduct
In an announcement containing few details, the HHS Office of Research Integrity (ORI) said Aug. 22 that Rahul Agrawal, a former “visiting fellow” at the pathology lab at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), admitted to faking the results of 59 experiments “that were not conducted.” Agrawal “engaged in research misconduct by intentionally, knowingly, and/or recklessly falsifying and/or fabricating data in the unpublished research record by the alteration, reuse, and/or relabeling of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction data and colony forming cell and focus formation assay images to represent experiments that measured microRNA expression levels and the effect of long intergenic non-protein coding RNAs in human cancer cell lines that were not conducted,” ORI said in the notice.
ORI did not say when Agrawal was at NCI, when the misconduct occurred, how it was discovered, nor where Agrawal was visiting from. However, according to Retraction Watch, Agrawal “was a Ph.D. student at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi before becoming a postdoc” at NCI. He agreed to a range of sanctions, which will be in place for one year beginning Aug. 8, including a requirement for a supervisory plan should he be engaged in any work supported by the Public Health Service.