ORI Makes Misconduct Finding Against Former Children’s Hospital L.A. Researcher
In its fourth misconduct finding this year, the HHS Office of Research Integrity (ORI) announced that Prasadarao Nemani, a former research professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Disease at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, “recklessly includ[ed] falsified and/or fabricated data” in eight figures in a published paper and four NIH grant applications. The 2009 paper was retracted nine years later in May 2018. Nemani “falsified and/or fabricated image data for enterobacterial infection-induced intestinal epithelial cell injury in a neonatal murine model to falsely represent results using images from unrelated experiments,” ORI reported in the July 24 Federal Register. According to Retraction Watch, Nemani, the recipient of $4.2 million in NIH funding, was not reappointed to his position, effective July 1.
Nemani agreed to a four-year supervisory plan beginning July 7 should he participate “in any capacity” in a research project funded by the Public Health Service (PHS). The plan calls for oversight by a committee of two to three senior faculty members familiar with Nemani’s field of research. Members must “review primary data from [his] laboratory on a quarterly basis and submit a report to ORI at six (6) month intervals, setting forth the committee meeting dates and [his] compliance with appropriate research standards and confirming the integrity” of Nemani’s research. The committee also will “conduct an advance review of any PHS grant applications (including supplements, resubmissions, etc.), manuscripts reporting PHS-funded research submitted for publication, and abstracts.” Other requirements obligate an institution employing him to “submit, in conjunction with each application of PHS funds, or report, manuscript, or abstract involving PHS-supported research in which [he] is involved, a certification to ORI that the data provided by [Nemani] 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.” He also agreed not to serve as an adviser, peer reviewer, or consultant to PHS for the four-year period.