COVID-19 Research integrity University Affairs

Antonio Giordano and the Sbarro Pizza Temple

"The relentless defence of duplicated, fabricated or falsified data is, per se, a form of serious misconduct..." Antonio Giordano, President of Sbarro Pizza Institute at Temple University

The scientific world is well versed with the names of these American giants of biomedicine: Piero Anversa, Carlo Croce, Pier Paolo Pandolfi, Amato Giaccia, who all happen to be native Italians. More recently, I wrote about another Italian scientist who made it in USA: Domenico Pratico of the Temple University in Philadelphia. As it happens, my next Italian star is also at the same university, and the cancer researcher Antonio Giordano calls himself President of the Sbarro Institute there. Which is funded by the Sbarro Pizzeria chain, whose owner is Mr Sbarro is a family friend of Giordano’s wife.

Same Giordano, with a well-known research integrity expert, issued recently a White Paper about publications ethics and the evils of data manipulation. While Giordano himself has almost 50 papers on PubPeer with some very serious evidence of massive data falsification in those.

And since it is pandemic times, we should not forget that the Naples-born Pizza President Giordano also discovered that South Italians (like himself) are genetically immune to the coronavirus. In line with this COVIDiocy, Giordano’s Sbarro Pizza Institute previously issued an adjunct professorship to his fellow Neapolitan Giulio Tarro, self-proclaimed “world’s best virologist” and “Nobel Prize candidate”, Italy’s most infamous COVID-19 denialist and quack with antivax tendencies, and a proud bearer of phony academic titles who likes to frequent scamferences and predatory journals.

How can I not write about such a great man as Pizza President Giordano.

Dishonest greedy men are known to be built tight loyal networks, hence the success of the “mafia”, a concept quite often used in science. One hand washes the other, bribes in form of papers, jobs and grants are given to the right people, once granted favours which must be paid back one day, if needed they make you an offer you can’t refuse or an academic equivalent of a dead canary arrives at your doorstep. Too often the cliche applies to the Italian men of science. This might explain the success of certain Italian science stars in USA.

But now it is time for the honest Italian scientists to get organised and fight against the mob corruption. In fact, my article about the Sbarro Pizza Institute was made possible because some already did, and reached out to me with information. Bravo!

First of all, how did Giordano (email address President@shro.org) get to be President of a Pizza Institute? Very simple, the good Italian way of nepotism, as Giordano himself explained:

In my years at Cold Spring Harbor I met Mina, the woman who would become my wife and mother of my three children. Mario Sbarro, contrary to what is generally said, is not her father; but her neighbor and family friend. I was introduced to him and, for a long time, I went to visit him, explaining my ideas regarding the birth of a scientific research institute. Mario Sbarro listened to me. We spoke to each other several times, and he decided to help me financially and providing me with a staff of professionals.

Italian newspaper Il Foglio reported that Mr Sbarro gave Giordano a million dollars to set up the Sbarro Institute. It’s not just pizza Giordano promotes: he is also the official Ambassador for Gragnano Pasta, a Neapoletan noodles maker. And what do you need for with you pizza and pasta? In the above quoted interview Giordano claimed that some Italian tomato varieties “are able to inhibit, in the laboratory, the growth and the malignant characteristics of stomach cancer.” In fact, he published his discovery in a peer reviewed Wiley journal: Barone et al J Cell Phys 2017. If you think it’s funny you should see Giordano’s COVID-19 research.

In June 2020, Giordano teamed up with some mates in Italy and published an “opinion article” with the paying-customer-is-king OA publisher Frontiers: Mutti et al Frontiers in Immunology 2020. It was followed by a press release Giordano himself issued. Turns out, South Italians like himself are genetically immune to the coronavirus:

A ‘genetic shield’ may have protected southern Italy from the Sars-CoV-2 tsunami that swept the northern regions,” says Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University, and Professor of Pathology at the University of Siena, Italy. “The hypothesis needs to be studied before drawing conclusions, but there is already a solid scientific basis for this theory,” Giordano says. 

There may be a form of defense printed in the DNA against the more serious effects of the coronavirus,” says Giordano, “which seems more widespread in the South of Italy than in the North.”

The Frontiers piece was followed by one in MDPI (Correale et al Int J Mol Sci 2020) which probably proves that science has spoken, there is no pandemic in Southern Italy.

And then of course there is this bizarre claim of Giordano being a member of the White House COVID-19 Task Force (the current one, of the ending Trump government). Italian news reported on 28 April 2020:

Professor Giordano is one of the most important scientists in the world, involved in the US task force against the coronavirus and also engaged with the Higher Institute of Health.

The article was deleted right after I contacted Giordano (backup here). This one from 6 April is still online, but it was swiftly modified after my email to Giordano to remove the claim that he was “embedded in the White House Task Force on the war against COVID-19” (backup here). Thing is, I have seen an email by Anthony Fauci himself, where the US expert rejected outright the supposition of Giordano’s involvement and shared a list of all Task Force members. Needless to say, Giordano is not on the list.

Tarro’s name is so toxic now that the award video was deleted.

The infamous COVID-19 denialist Giulio Tarro is a personal friend of Giordano, together they even wrote a book about the region of Campania around Naples, which they describe as a cancerogenic “Land of Poison”, due to illegal toxic waste dumps by the Comorra. In 2010, Giordano’s Sbarro Pizza Institute issued the Sbarro adjunct professor Tarro with a “Lifetime Achievement Award“. A press release on the SHRO blog was meanwhile deleted, but here backup, quote:

“The award was presented by Dr. Antonio Giordano, president of the SHRO, and Dr. Kamel Khalili, Chairperson of the Department of Neuroscience and Director at the Center for Neurovirology at the  Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA.

I am not only presenting this to Dr. Tarro as my former teacher,” said Dr. Giordano, “But as a truly distinguished scientist who has made many contributions to his community.

In his long career, Tarro probably engaged in every kind of medical quackery, which he mostly published in predatory journals. And of course the self-certified world leading virologist, who falsely claimed to be Chairman of the imaginary UNESCO Virosfera Committee (made-up by Tarro, yet confirmed by Giordano’s SHRO), went to bed with antivaxxers, decrying a Big Pharma conspiracy. But if you think his friend Giordano would have nothing to do with antivaxxery:

“Nicola Panza e Giovanni Pacilio, due scienziati di fama mondiale: il prof. Giulio Tarro e il prof. Antonio Giordano.”

A clear link between the misuse of vaccines and the onset of cancer comes from Professor Antonio Giordano, president of the Sbarro Institute in Philadelphia, who explains: “There is a recognized link between successive vaccines and lowering of immune defenses. And in Italy it is full of places with a high rate of pollution that are highly dangerous for those with a compromised immune system ”.

If this reminds you of Andrew Wakefield who started his antivax career by blaming the triple vaccine MMR, well…

Tarro derived his authority by claiming to be a successor of the famous vaccine researcher Albert Sabin, yet Sabin himself in 1974 openly denounced Tarro’s work in his lab as irreproducible (“The purpose of this communication is to record the failure to reproduce the data, contained in three reports“), these were the times when the concepts of retractions and research misconduct were not yet invented by science. Also 50 years ago, Tarro was peddling an “anti-cancer vaccine” from either goat milk, urine or shit (or maybe all of it, marketed as Serum of Bonifacio), later on he was criminally charged with fraud for selling another fake cancer cure (Tarro was acquitted while his collaborator was jailed).

In 1999 Tarro teamed up with the Russian quack V. Vassilyev to peddle a bizarre cure against everything, called “biocorrection“. Tarro funded this quackery via his own charitable Foundation Bonelli, which board member is (or was)… correct, Giordano. Now Tarro, the proud bearer of phony degrees of fake universities, is opposing all COVID-19 restrictions while calling everyone to go on vacation instead and enjoy the healing power of sun and sea. Which fits neatly to Giordano’s theory that the southern Italian environment interacts with southern Italian genes to protect against the coronavirus.

In November 2019, Tarro went full Nostradamus (as Luciano Capone quipped) and, in one of his beloved predatory journals, he predicted the COVID-19 infection rates for February 2020. The paper, accepted on 5 December 2019, also referenced several studies which appeared only in March 2020.

Before the Covidiocy, 2 years ago Tarro discovered a new type of tumour which he published in the journal Oncotarget, known as a dump for bad and fraudulent research (read here Oncotarget‘s legal threat against me). Giordano happens to be an editorial board member there, he also proudly declares in his CV to be on editorial board of several predatory journals by Bentham, Baishideng and other questionable publishers.

KI professor Ingemar Ernberg, Giordano and Tarro, in 2011. Source: SHRO Italia (“Professional social network di Antonio Giordano”)

Giordano’s Pizza Institute was originally located at the Thomas Jefferson University, also in Philadelphia, but is now at Temple, part of the College of Science and Technology. The Sbarro Institute (motto: “Real Research, Real Results. Together We Can Cure Cancer.“) recruited other geniuses like Umberto Galderisi (also from Naples), Andrea Morrione and Eva Surmacz, all with their own PubPeer records. Except of Surmacz and 2 others, everybody else at Sbarro Pizza Institute is Italian, several are listed as adjunct professors (which means not employed at Temple University).

Which brings us to Giordano’s PubPeer record, because I know my readers love staring at fake western blots. But first, this:

Roberto Bassi, Enrico M. Bucci, Raffaele A. Calogero, Piero Carninci, Gennaro Ciliberto, Pellegrino Conte, Michele De Luca, Gilberto Corbellini, Antonio Giordano, Luigi Marchionni, Giacomina Massaro Giordano, Angelo Parini & Gianluca Sbardella Look for methods, not conclusions. Cell Death Dis 10, 931 (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41419-019-2179-8

As it happens, the all-Italian scientists collective protested the attitude of Chinese immunologist Xuetao Cao (whose lab’s data manipulations were originally reported on my site) and declared:

But once a duplication, a falsification or a fabrication is discovered in a published paper, one cannot appeal to the validity of the scientific conclusions of a paper to avoid or delay one of the main duties of the researcher: which is to correct the published record. This must follow a thorough and honest disclosure of all the potential problems and biases that caused the leakage of less-than-clean data into a scientific publication, in order to reassure peers, institutions and the public that every reasonable system to avoid further problems is in place.

The relentless defence of duplicated, fabricated or falsified data is, per se, a form of serious misconduct…

Which is all fine and good, but cats should not sign appeals for veganism, and Giordano is one very naughty kitty here. Or maybe the tough rule only applies to Chinese and not to Italians? Because look what Giordano himself has published.

Cristiano Simone, Luigi Bagella, Cristiana Bellan, Antonio Giordano Physical interaction between pRb and cdk9/cyclinT2 complex Oncogene (2002) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1205511

Here you see various takes on the Figure 3, none is very favourable. And yet, no retraction, nothing, like with the following works. As it happens, Oncogene chief editor Justin Stebbing also pretends to be a champion of research integrity.

If you enjoyed this Oncogene classic by Giordano, here are two more:

Tiziana Tonini, Luigi Bagella, Giuseppina D’Andrilli, Pier Paolo Claudio, Antonio Giordano Ezh2 reduces the ability of HDAC1-dependent pRb2/p130 transcriptional repression of cyclin A Oncogene (2004) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207608

These famous Rb2 discoveries of Giordano’s starts looking weird…

The yellow highlighted bottom bits of the gel lanes are strangely similar. And there are other irregularities, like a possible splice edge indicated with a question mark. The next Oncogene classic is a beauty:

Giulia De Falco, Luca Maria Neri, Maria De Falco, Cristiana Bellan , Zailin Yu, Antonio De Luca, Lorenzo Leoncini, Antonio Giordano Cdk9, a member of the cdc2-like family of kinases, binds to gp130, the receptor of the IL-6 family of cytokines Oncogene (2002) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1205967

Those are two very fake gels, dear reader. Made in Photoshop. And it shows Giordano’s two “principal discoveries“, Rb2 (p130) and CDK9.

Luca Maria Neri is a name which rigs a bell. This Professor at the University of Ferrara is a close associate and regular coauthor of his rector Giorgio Zauli. The fraud and terror orgy these two caused in Ferrara is something which strains credulity. Other valuable coauthors of Giordano’s include Piero Anversa (see here), Michael Lisanti (here) and, my regular readers will love it: the Nobel Prize winner Louis Ignarro (Italian-American with Neapolitan roots) and Claudio Napoli, in Naples. There is a bunch of joint works by Giordano, Napoli and the Herbalife-shilling Nobelist on PubPeer, some of which I discussed in my previous articles about Ignarro, here and here.

Now another Giordano classic, not in Oncogene, but also about the Rb2 gene which Giordano boasts to have discovered. Why did the Rb2 data have to be “adjusted” then, again?

Giuseppina D’Andrilli, Valeria Masciullo, Luigi Bagella, Tiziana Tonini, Corrado Minimo, Gian Franco Zannoni, Robert L Giuntoli, John A Carlson, Dianne Robert Soprano, Kenneth J Soprano, Giovanni Scambia, Antonio Giordano Frequent loss of pRb2/p130 in human ovarian carcinoma Clinical Cancer Research (2004) doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.ccr-03-0524

Another Rb2 paper with funny issues. Someone commented: “What is the epigenetic explanation for the bands duplication?

Marcella Macaluso, Micaela Montanari, Paul Bart Noto, Valter Gregorio, Christian Bronner, Antonio Giordano Epigenetic modulation of estrogen receptor-alpha by pRb family proteins: a novel mechanism in breast cancer Cancer Research (2007) doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.can-07-1476 

There are a total of almost 50 Giordano papers on PubPeer. Have a look at this sick travesty:

Filomena Fiorito, Gabriella Marfè, Giovanna E. Granato, Roberto Ciarcia, Emma De Blasio, Marco Tafani, Salvatore Florio, Luisa De Martino, Gianmarco Muzi, Ugo Pagnini, Antonio Giordano 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin modifies expression and nuclear/cytosolic localization of bovine herpesvirus 1 immediate-early protein (bICP0) during infection Journal of Cellular Biochemistry (2010) doi: 10.1002/jcb.22700

In case the journal sounds familiar: it’s the same Journal of Cellular Biochemistry which published massive amounts of utterly fake papers produced by Chinese paper mills. Do not expect any editorial action on this and the following contribution by Presidente Giordano, who also happens to be editorial board member of this journal. You do remember that it’s the Chinese who must act on their falsified research, not the Italians, right?

Che vergogna.

In the same Chinese paper mill journal, this other cloned gel band perversion which Giordano published with Annamaria Cimini from University of l’Aquila. Who also became a Temple University adjunct professor at Sbarro Pizza Institute.

Roberta Falcone, Tiziana Marilena Florio, Erica Di Giacomo, Elisabetta Benedetti , Loredana Cristiano, Andrea Antonosante, Alessia Fidoamore, Mara Massimi, Marcello Alecci, Rodolfo Ippoliti, Antonio Giordano, Annamaria Cimini PPARβ/δ and γ in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease: possible involvement in PD symptoms Journal of Cellular Biochemistry (2015) doi: 10.1002/jcb.25041

Porca miseria.

Or this one, with yet another Temple “adjunct associate professor” Francesca Pentimalli, courtesy of Sbarro Pizza? A small intermezzo with Flawed Cytometry, before we return to fake gels.

Domenico Di Marzo, Iris Maria Forte, Paola Indovina, Elena Di Gennaro, Valeria Rizzo, Francesca Giorgi, Eliseo Mattioli, Carmelina Antonella Iannuzzi, Alfredo Budillon, Antonio Giordano, Francesca Pentimalli Pharmacological targeting of p53 through RITA is an effective antitumoral strategy for malignant pleural mesothelioma Cell Cycle (2014) doi: 10.4161/cc.27546 

Did you notice that while the FACS plots are identical, the quantifications are very different? Yeah. Honest mistake of copy paste, non mi rompere le palle.

Another Italian lady scientist, Paola Indovina from Siena, whom Giordano, ever the cavaliere, also provided with a Temple University affiliation:

Martina Cozzi, Francesca Giorgi, Eleonora Marcelli, Francesca Pentimalli, Iris Maria Forte, Silvia Schenone, Vittorio D’Urso, Giulia De Falco, Maurizio Botta, Antonio Giordano, Paola Indovina Antitumor activity of new pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine SRC kinase inhibitors in Burkitt lymphoma cell lines and its enhancement by WEE1 inhibition Cell Cycle (2012) doi: 10.4161/cc.11.5.19519

That was just lazy. Almost as lazy as this one:

Roberto Ciarcia, Sara Damiano, Serena Montagnaro, Ugo Pagnini, Antonio Ruocco, Giuseppe Caparrotti, Danila D’Angelo, Silvia Boffo, Fátima Morales, Flavio Rizzolio, Salvatore Florio, Antonio Giordano Combined effects of PI3K and SRC kinase inhibitors with imatinib on intracellular calcium levels, autophagy, and apoptosis in CML-PBL cells Cell Cycle (2013) doi: 10.4161/cc.25920

Or, how about this paper from Giordano’s lab?

Alessandra Rossi, Silvia Schenone, Adriano Angelucci, Martina Cozzi, Valentina Caracciolo, Francesca Pentimalli, Andrew Puca, Biagio Pucci, Raffaele La Montagna, Mauro Bologna, Maurizio Botta, Antonio Giordano New pyrazolo‐[3,4‐ d ]‐pyrimidine derivative Src kinase inhibitors lead to cell cycle arrest and tumor growth reduction of human medulloblastoma cells The FASEB Journal (2010) doi: 10.1096/fj.09-148593 

Eh vabe, who cares.

Pier Lorenzo Puri is another Italian in USA. Lovely paper with Giordano, and Giordano’s other partner Cristiano Simone from Bari, whom we met above:

Cristiano Simone, Peter Stiegler, Sonia-Vanina Forcales, Luigi Bagella, Antonio De Luca, Vittorio Sartorelli, Antonio Giordano, Pier Lorenzo Puri Deacetylase recruitment by the C/H3 domain of the acetyltransferase p300 Oncogene (2004) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207327 

The p21 blots are very similar, except the two AcH4 lanes. Sneaky rascals.

And since I promised you the Temple adjunct professor Eva Surmacz, here is one of her joint papers with Giordano:

S Cascio, V Bartella, A Auriemma, G J Johannes, A Russo, A Giordano, E Surmacz Mechanism of leptin expression in breast cancer cells: role of hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha Oncogene (2008) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210660

More Surmacz on Pubpeer, if interested. Some of her papers feature another Italian Photoshop artist, Sebastiano Ando, whose data rigging activities even brought a former Karolinska rector in trouble.

Here a paper Giordano published with his fellow Neapoletan and Sbarro Pizza Institute colleague, Umberto Galderisi (his own PubPeer record here). Again, the irony in the following paper is: Giordano is celebrated as the discoverer of the Rb2 gene.

Stefania Capasso, Nicola Alessio, Giovanni Di Bernardo, Marilena Cipollaro, Mariarosa Melone, Gianfranco Peluso, Antonio Giordano, Umberto Galderisi Silencing of RB1 and RB2/P130 during adipogenesis of bone marrow stromal cells results in dysregulated differentiation Cell Cycle (2014) doi: 10.4161/cc.27275

The figure was corrected in August 2020, after the unnamed authors declared on PubPeer:

Figure 1 of that paper presents a wrong western blot image, due to the improper manipulation by one of our junior members.

Also this paper was corrected, already in 2016. Authors admitted to use loading control libraries (“Obviously the control is alway the same since it refers to the same sample“):

Tiziana Squillaro, Nicola Alessio, Marilena Cipollaro, Alessandra Renieri, Antonio Giordano, Umberto Galderisi Partial silencing of methyl cytosine protein binding 2 ( MECP2 ) in mesenchymal stem cells induces senescence with an increase in damaged DNA The FASEB Journal (2010) doi: 10.1096/fj.09-143057

We have the original band for RB that can be shown upon request.

One more with Galderisi, and we are almost done, dear reader:

Umberto Galderisi, Heike Helmbold, Tiziana Squillaro, Nicola Alessio, Natascha Komm, Baharak Khadang, Marilena Cipollaro, Wolfgang Bohn, Antonio Giordano In vitro senescence of rat mesenchymal stem cells is accompanied by downregulation of stemness-related and DNA damage repair genes Stem Cells and Development (2009) doi: 10.1089/scd.2008.0324 

The unnamed authors explained on PubPeer:

This sentence refers to other publication. As you can imagine this publication is on rat mesenchymal stem cells. So there are no patients. We were unable to find the original picture of this figure that was on a old computer. Anyway we provided the editor another experiments showing the same result. To be sure that no manipulations were done.

You know this movie cliche of Italian mobsters who are very cunning in illegal stuff but very dumb is everything else?

Oh and by the way, Antonio Giordano’s dad, Giovan Giacomo Giordano, used to be director of the Giovanni Pascale Foundation cancer research institute in Naples. He was sacked after a police investigation which found fraud. As La Repubblica reported in 1989:

The revocation of the assignment concluded a long scientific crisis of the Neapolitan institute. After a note sent to the commissioner by the Attorney General of the Court of Auditors to verify whether the planned and duly financed scientific research work was actually carried out at Pascale, the commissioner administration had appointed a technical-scientific commission, chaired by Professor Umberto Veronesi of the Milan cancer institute to evaluate the institute’s activities. The commission drew up a detailed report, delivered last month to the commissioner of the Pascale foundation, containing negative judgments on the scientific management of the institute. […] Recently also the carabinieri of the Vomero company, at the disposal of the Naples Public Prosecutor’s Office, had made a raid on the institute discovering that in the wards of the institute, especially in the afternoon and in the evening hours, the sick (about 400), mostly all at the terminal stage, they were entrusted to the care of a single doctor.”

Apple, tree, etc.

The last paper I want to show you has Giordano’s wife and Penn State ophthalmology professor Giacomina Massaro-Giordano as last author. We do not know if the pizza magnate Mario Sbarro contributed to that employment, too, and it is none of our business. But we do know that Mrs Giordano coauthored the research integrity White Paper this whole thread started with.

M Macaluso, M Montanari, C M Marshall, A J Gambone, G M Tosi, A Giordano, M Massaro-Giordano Cytoplasmic and nuclear interaction between Rb family proteins and PAI-2: a physiological crosstalk in human corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells Cell death and differentiation (2006) doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4401835

Duplicated bands
Control lane spliced on. Sad.

Another significant coauthor of the White Paper is Enrico Bucci (whom I know personally, although never met in person). The White Paper declared in the Conflict of interest section:

Enrico M. Bucci is the owner of Resis Srl, a company devoted to improving research integrity in the scientific community; as such, he was and is involved as expert consultant in several investigations on potential and actual misconduct cases. He is also involved in pre-submission screening of scientific papers to ensure data integrity. All other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Bucci is also adjunct professor at the Sbarro Pizza Institute (which website lists him as full professor of systems biology), the research integrity entrepreneur uses his affiliation as “biology professor at Temple University”. He also provided this affiliation on a joint clincial study with Giordano (Forte et al J Cell Phys 2019), which claimed to confirm the claims of Giodano’s and Torro’s aforementioned joint book about the cancer-causing heavy metal pollution due to illegal toxic waste dumping by mafia in the Naples area. The Lands of Poison theory is a bit controversial, but Giordano is editorial board member of that journal, and the paper passed peer review.

Bucci however confirmed to me that he has no lab or research funds at the Temple University, trains no students, but is “an uncompensated adjunct professor, involved in some research projects“. He also informed me that Giordano is aware of the PubPeer evidence:

I know that Giordano took action on several of the PubPeer issues.

It is not the kind of action Giordano demanded from the Chinese in his white paper with his wife, Bucci, and other Italian scientists.

Giordano has not replied to emails.

Bucci (2nd from right) awarded by Giordano (left) with “2017 Seventh Giovan Giacomo Giordano Niaf Lifetime Achievement Award for Ethics and Creativity in Medical Research” named after his father, at an event celebrating anti-cancer tomatoes.

Update: Having notified the university authorities (Vice President for Research Michele Masucci confirmed receiving my email), I now received an unsigned email from admin@shro.org:

The Sbarro Health Research Organization takes seriously the integrity of its scientific research, and allegations of research misconduct are reviewed to determine if such accusations are baseless or credible and specific enough to warrant an investigation.  We remind you that misrepresentation of facts and allegations of research misconduct that prove to be untrue, even if made in good faith, can damage careers and have a chilling effect on research. “

No prizes for guessing who wrote this email and now announced to investigate his own papers.

Update 14.11.2020.

Pizza President Giordano now deployed lawyers. His current target is the veteran journalist Sylvie Coyaud, whose crime is to have invited on her Repubblica blog to read this article of mine. Giordano is represented by the Neapolitan lawyer Giovanni Siniscalchi who threatens Coyaud with a libel lawsuit unless she immediatedly deletes who entire blog post. The lawyer, who claims an affiliation with University of Naples “Federico II”, argues:

The aforementioned article refers in expressive seriously defamatory terms to an article by Leonid Schneider published on 9 November 2020 on the blog “For Better Science “. […]

It is specified that Leonid Schneider (I am told) is subjected to multiple criminal proceedings both in Italy and abroad for the crime of defamation.”

Via his lawyer Siniscalchi, Giordano also accuses Coyaud and myself of “unacceptable geographical discrimination.” Basically, a Neapoletan feels persecuted by a Jew.

Professor Bucci stopped all communication with me (he previously warned me to be “very careful” before damaging Giordano’s reputation). But I am told by a first-hand source that Professor Bucci submitted to Patto per la Scienza his opinion that half of the 47 Giordano papers on Pubpeer “are unfounded allegations“, for other papers Bucci was quoted that “corrections have already been made by the journals, or the journals have been contacted, or the experiments are being repeated.

Otherwise, Bucci is quoted to suspect two specifically named women as masterminds “behind all this“, an allegation I firmly reject. Bucci so far refused to comment.

Now Giordano announced to sue Sylvie Coyaud.


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9 comments on “Antonio Giordano and the Sbarro Pizza Temple

  1. Pingback: L'alternativa oriunda - Ocasapiens - Blog - Repubblica.it

  2. https://www.ilmattino.it/napoli/cultura/premio_giovan_giacomo_giordano_riconoscimento_agli_studiosi_della_dieta_mediterranea-3362469.html “Integrity Research” Bucci and “Tomatoes cure cancer” awarded with a prize entitled to “sacked fraudolent-science father”. Funnily enough

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debunked by retractions long before 2017.

      2014 retraction.
      https://retractionwatch.com/2014/08/04/plos-one-retraction-notice-blames-deceased-author-for-image-manipulation/

      Lycopene is found in small red tomatoes.

      “The PLOS ONE editors retract this publication according to the recommendation received from the Catholic University, Rome. Upon the publication of the Correction on the article, the PLOS ONE editors contacted the Catholic University to note the concerns identified in relation to the presentation of Western blot results from this study. The Catholic University established an investigation commission which has confirmed that several of the figures were inappropriately assembled by the corresponding author Dr. Paola Palozza and advised the retraction of the article.”

      2 more 2014 retractions.
      https://retractionwatch.com/2014/09/26/deceased-researcher-has-two-more-papers-retracted/

      “This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief. Following an internal investigation by the Catholic University School of Medicine, following a complaint on figure image manipulation, the Catholic University Commission confirmed the inappropriate figure assembly of Figure 2, panel A and B and Figure 5, panels A, C and E. As the corresponding author, Prof. Palozza, has passed away, the Commission acting on her behalf ask that the paper be withdrawn, and regret any inconvenience this paper may have caused the journal and the scientific community.”

      The Catholic University, Rome, took action. What will Temple University do?

      Like

  3. “The Sbarro Health Research Organization takes seriously the integrity of its scientific research, and allegations of research misconduct are reviewed to determine if such accusations are baseless or credible and specific enough to warrant an investigation. We remind you that misrepresentation of facts and allegations of research misconduct that prove to be untrue, even if made in good faith, can damage careers and have a chilling effect on research. “

    Many of the Pubpeer posts have been there for years.
    Why only now a response from Sbarro Health Research Organization?
    Still no response from Temple univeristy.

    Like

  4. “Via his lawyer Siniscalchi, Giordano also accuses Coyaud and myself of “unacceptable geographical discrimination.” Basically, a Neapoletan feels persecuted by a Jew.”

    I don’t think there is a law against “geographical discrimination”.
    There are laws against racial discrimination, but that does not seem to be the claim.

    “…half of the 47 Giordano papers on Pubpeer “are unfounded allegations“, for other papers Bucci was quoted that “corrections have already been made by the journals, or the journals have been contacted, or the experiments are being repeated.”

    The corrections to the other papers are validation of allegations, the journals having been contacted is also validation of allegations. Why would the authors be repeating experiements if they did not have doubts?

    Like

  5. Professor Bucci comments on the affair on the Facebook page of Patto per La Scienza:

    Here translation, my point-by-point replies below.

    “In recent days Enrico Bucci, a member of the Board, was the subject of unfounded public criticism.
    We confirm our full confidence in Enrico and invite you to stop tarnishing his honor
    Below is his answer in detail ⤵️
    1. Summary or intentional trials are not part of liberal public ethics. In particular, I answer if there are any documenting allegations against me (crimes or misconduct); those that have been addressed to me are unfounded allegations.
    2. As per the Temple University website, I am an adjunct professor in the biology department. Also from the site, it is possible to see how I am part of the “research faculty”, without teaching duty. Something that is widespread in America, with an illustrious history. The title of adjunct professor is obtained by evaluating a candidate’s proposal and is periodically confirmed on the basis of the scientific publications produced and examined by the Dean of the relevant faculty. Anyone who believes that the title is “fake”, has only to refer to Temple University.
    3. At least some of the allegations raised lack evidence or are based on false evidence. For example, Schneider’s article and the facts reported by [NAME REMOVED] are so little adherent to reality as to challenge Antonio Giordano for the threads that PubPeer attributes to all the authors who are called A. Giordano (example: Franck A. Giordano, Assunta Giordano etc.), thereby denoting the care that those who bring the accusation put in verifying the validity of their sources. Similarly, the accusation against me of having threatened the German blogger Schneider is false, as reported by him on the basis of an unverified email excerpt and resumed by [NAME REMOVED]. The accusation made by [NAME REMOVED] to the Transversal Pact of Science, of not having been heard, for the sole fact of not having obtained reason, is also incorrect.
    4. For obvious reasons of impartiality, it is not appropriate for an affiliate to a certain university to be responsible for investigating the potential misconduct of another affiliate of the same university. This elementary principle precludes my being able to formally investigate Giordano’s case.
    5. Nevertheless, I can confirm that for years Professor Giordano and all the groups that have collaborated with him have been engaged in a process of revision and correction of their works, which started on a voluntary and unsolicited basis.
    6. I did not investigate certain important researchers for personal reasons, but because I was appointed to do so by the Milan public prosecutor. In the case investigated by me, as in that of Giordano, the problem arises of a laboratory head who may happen to be involved in incidents of misconduct due to the hasty behavior of his collaborators.
    7. The characterization of people or groups of people on the basis of negative stereotypes (pizza / mafia / Italy / fraud) is an unacceptable form of discrimination, which has nothing to do with the integrity of the accused, but a lot with the mentality of the accuser.
    8. Repeating the same accusations over and over and pretending that there has been no answer, continuously involving new entities, people and the public is a form of misconduct.”

    My own replies:
    1. I never raised any accusations against Dr Bucci. I did question his expert judgment in the Giordano case.
    2. Dr Bucci’s adjunct professorship is attached to the Sbarro Institute, I presume he does not deny this fact. As Temple Vice-Rector Michele Masucci explained to me: “Sbarro Health Research Organization is an independent non-profit research organization.” I never said the title was “fake” as Dr Bucci insinuates, I merely wondered why he needs such a symbolic academic title, especially under the circumstances. Just because others do it?
    3. First of all, Dr Bucci was asked by me several times to comment on his own opinion to Patto per la Scienza which is quoted in the update above. He refused communication. He now creates confusion that I contacted him via his old dysfunctional email, but that happened when I first cc-ed him in my email to Dr Giordano. Since then, I always used Dr Bucci current email address, and he replied to me several times from it, including to warn me to be “very careful” before damaging someone’s reputation. Now Sylvie Coyaud, a very respected journalist from Milan, is being threatened with a lawsuit by Dr Giordano, a fact Dr Bucci prefers to omit.
    Dr Bucci himself admitted to Patto per la Scienza that of the 54 PubPeer threads I linked 47 are clearly belonging to the correct Antonio Giordano. Is 47 not enough then? For sure all articles discussed in my article above concern only the “correct” Mr Giordano.
    I also would appreciate if Dr Bucci would stop dragging in the name of a woman who did not contribute to my initial article at all. In fact, I only heard of her existence AFTER my article was published. This is turning into a real witch hunt.
    4. And yet Dr Bucci apparently submitted his assessment of Dr Giordano’s pubpeer record to Patto per la Scienza (see his quote in the update which he refused to take a stance on)
    5. Dr Bucci apparently does not understand that in cases of suspected research misconduct a proper independent investigation is required. Not by the authors of the papers under suspicion. Even if some journals accept the corrections, it does not close the case at all.
    6. I am not involved in that case (Dr Bucci did inform me once the entire evidence is on Pubpeer thorough), but i did report about it: https://forbetterscience.com/2019/08/13/pier-paolo-and-pier-giuseppe-the-titans-of-ifom-ieo/
    7. The Sbarro Institute is funded by and named after a PIZZA chain which belongs to Dr Giordano’s wife’s family friend. Dr Bucci may not like this fact, but I can’t help him there. Otherwise, if he thinks this Ukrainian Jew is an anti-Italian racist: I can’t change his mind. I am used to being called a racist because of my work, Dr Bucci can draw a number and join the queue there.
    8. Well, Dr Giordano communicates through lawyers now. I wonder if Dr Bucci has an opinion about the attack on Sylvie Coyaud?

    Like

    • Andrea Casadio

      No one as write enough that Giordano promoted Tarro as adjunct professor. What they think? Tarro is a disgrace..

      Like

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