Gandalf the Wizard has been awarded €75k in cash and Pezcoller-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research, for his magical western blots, where gel bands multiply under his spell to summon a bigger impact factor. Well, maybe not that Gandalf, but the bearded gel wizard Tony Hunter, of prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies (where impure womenfolk is not welcome) in San Diego, California, USA. On April 15th, Hunter will be giving a lecture at the annual meeting of American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Chicago, and then go to beautiful Trento in Italy to pick up his award. All because of those western blots of his, which repetitive enchanted beauty was spotted by the image integrity sleuth Clare Francis and then posted on PubPeer. It was in fact Clare Francis who wrote to me to accuse Tony Hunter of being Gandalf The Wizard.
A breathlessly sycophantic article in San Diego Union Tribune described Hunter as “superstar” of 50 years productivity, congratulated him on his new Nature paper and the cash prize, for which the Salk Gandalf can probably buy himself a new BMW broom stick to whiz about, to and fro. That sum of €75k is actually poppycock compared to the $ half a million Tony the Wizard got from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences as Sjöberg Prize for Cancer Research, but that is probably intended as lab investment into more of his magic western blots. Probably as compensation for 2012, when Thomson Reuters, (past keepers of the sacred Impact Factor) requested for Gandalf The Western Blot Wizard the Nobel Prize.
So now, let us see what dashing sorcery the King of Sweden and AACR thought was so astounding to give awards for.
Yan Xia, Gerald M. Pao, Hong-Wu Chen, Inder M. Verma, Tony Hunter
The penultimate author of this paper is Inder Verma, senior scientist and staunch defender of Salk’s virile brotherhood against corruptive witchcraftery by impure womenfolk, and because of that now a deposed PNAS editor-in-chief.
What does that paper contain on magic stuff? The old loading control re-use, across 3 figures, even duplicated inside same figure, always in a different contest, standing in for different protein samples. Now that we cannot trust the haunted, pardon, Hunter team to have loaded their gels equally, what is the actual message of figure 4 and 5 here? That the results are invalid, if your gel lack proper loading controls. This is why a lab at Vetmeduni Vienna had to repeat experiments, to fix mismatched loading controls.
There is more in that Xia et al 2003 paper, including a gel lane which apparently features inside same gel twice. A magic trick worthy of Gandalf!
Turnover of the active fraction of IRS1 involves raptor-mTOR- and S6K1-dependent serine phosphorylation in cell culture models of tuberous sclerosis Molecular and Cellular Biology (2006) doi: 10.1128/mcb.01254-05 PubPeer evidence here
First author O. Jameel Shah is now Vice President of Cascade Integrative Medicine clinic at Pennsylvania State University. There, they boast with their naturopatic doctors, one does see that Shah knows to harvest the power of witchcraft. He is also responsible for that paper with his sorcery master Gandalf:
Pamela J. Woodring, Tony Hunter , Jean Y. J. Wang
Yan Xia , Ji Wang , Ta-Jen Liu , W.K. Alfred Yung , Tony Hunter, Zhimin Lu
Science is a magical enterprise, only true sorcerers and wizards can do it. Hence the current AACR award to Tony Gandalf Hunter.
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