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Scientific Misconduct

September 19, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 38

Sept. 5, page 26: An inhibitor of fatty acid amide hydrolase covalently bonds with a catalytic serine on the enzyme. It was developed by Pfizer in collaboration with Benjamin F. Cravatt of Scripps Research Institute.

The News of the Week article on research fraud by a Columbia University graduate student is both intriguing and disappointing (C&EN, July 11, page 4). It is hard to believe that such fraud was committed by a graduate student for such a long time without the graduate adviser and the dissertation committee knowing about it. Can anyone in good faith believe that the graduate adviser was naïve to not question his student for coming up with results that looked so good and reasonable but could not be duplicated by the student’s colleagues in the lab?

Now that the student has left and damaged the careers of other students who blew the whistle on her doctoral work, what has become of these students? Did ACS try to help them get placement somewhere? Who paid for the research that was being done in professor Dalibor Sames’ lab? Can the supporters or sponsors of the research get their money back? I am curious as to what impact this misconduct has had on the chemistry research community. Are other crooks out there that we have yet to catch and expose? It would be interesting to hear what other folks in the chemistry community have to say about this.

Paul Mengnjoh
Neponset, Ill.


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