Research integrity University Affairs

Szyf and Rabbani: old gels evil, new genomics cool

Gel images are full of fraud and luckily a thing of the past. Science of today is digital, the figures are diagrams, charts and bar plots where image integrity sleuths can take a hike. Moshe Szyf and Shafat Rabbani of McGill University in Canada accomplished this transition.

Canadian universities have a peculiar attitude to research ethics. First of all, University of Toronto remains convinced of Gideon Koren‘s innocence, the investigation into his patient abuse and research papers was buried, while the real baddies remain the whistleblowers like Nancy Olivieri. Which probably means there is absolutely no point to even mention the diabetes researcher and bearer of the Order of Ontario, Herbert Gaisano, significant co-author of currently 9 badly rigged papers on PubPeer. His University of Toronto will not care.

The University of British Columbia in Vancouver recruited former Toronto scientist Josef Penninger from Austria, to lead their Life Sciences Institute. All troubles about his past Canadian papers forgotten and forgiven, Penninger is presently curing COVID-19. And the University of Montreal is fully behind their biomaterials fabricator May Griffith: even the misappropriated research from Linköping, Sweden, is now apparently intellectual property of this Quebec university. The Montreal rector even tried to intimidate me in a letter, where he announced everything I report will be regarded as slanderous lies. So there is no point for me to write about any biomedical cheaters at that Canadian university either, I guess.

So let’s try McGill University, also in Montreal. The heroes of this story are its professors Moshe Szyf, from Israel, and Shafaat Rabbani from Pakistan. A dream team to crack epigenetics of cancer, both big names in the area of DNA methylation research.

As it happens, I can only discuss some of their older papers here, because as Clare Francis, who posted most of the PubPeer evidence about Szyf’s and Rabbani’s papers, commented: “it becomes “genomical” so you can’t readily interpret the data“. Indeed, the data in their newer papers is just bars, tables and diagrams. No fabricated pictures of gels or cells there, which, dear reader, means that science suddenly became honest and 100% reproducible once it got rid of those cumbersome images and switched to genomics and other big data-omics, which not even experts with access to raw material can always wade through.

Who needs those gel images anyway, where every Tom, Dick and Harriet could find Photoshopped falsifications. Hooray to the brave new world of genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, secretomics, epigenomics and wank-omics with their pristine bars, graphs and numbers. No Photoshop needed there to get your paper in a high-ranking journal.

This is why there is no reason whatsoever to mistrust the newer papers by Szyf and Rabbani, unless maybe considering their older papers? Do leopards change their spots when they go digital? For starters, this joint fabrication rots on PubPeer for 4 years already:

Nicholas Shukeir, Pouya Pakneshan, Gaoping Chen, Moshe Szyf, Shafaat A. Rabbani Alteration of the methylation status of tumor-promoting genes decreases prostate cancer cell invasiveness and tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo Cancer Research (2006) doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.can-06-1954

Update 10.03.2021: McGill University investigated this paper in 2008 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations

Bunch of copy-pasted bands in the pictures of fake western blots and RT-PCR gels. Nothing happened since that was posted in January 2017, at least nothing in the public domain. But to be fair, you can’t really correct or even explain that, no?

From around the same period, this interesting study on how to cure cancer via DNA methylation and data fabrication pathways:

Pouya Pakneshan, Moshe Szyf, Robin Farias-Eisner, Shafaat A. Rabbani Reversal of the hypomethylation status of urokinase (uPA) promoter blocks breast cancer growth and metastasis Journal of Biological Chemistry (2004) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m401669200

Cheshire commented: “Figure 1 appears to be drawn from Figure 4-1 in the 2004 PhD thesis of the first author.”
Update 10.03.2021: McGill University investigated this paper in 2008 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations

You might be shocked, dear reader, but I personally am not even sure anymore if the once so tough journal JBC will retract that, especially what with their collaboration with Elsevier and their recently settled lawsuit over a retraction with Raju Reddy.

Another paper published in parallel by this same team, very similar in its gel artistry:

Pouya Pakneshan, Moshe Szyf , Shafaat A Rabbani Methylation and inhibition of expression of uPA by the RAS oncogene: divergence of growth control and invasion in breast cancer cells Carcinogenesis (2004) doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgi009

Update 10.03.2021: McGill University investigated this paper in 2008 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations

The first author of both of these masterpieces, Pouya Pakneshan, is currently acting as Principal Global Scientific Director at Roche in San Francisco, which is probably great news for this pharma giant’s drug discovery pipeline (Roche must compete with Sanofi, I guess). Photoshop could obviously cure cancer in vitro, surely this attitude to experimental research also translates into successful clinical trials and medicine market. Here another one of Pakneshan’s papers with her PhD mentor Rabbani:

Pouya Pakneshan, Bernard Têtu, Shafaat A. Rabbani Demethylation of urokinase promoter as a prognostic marker in patients with breast carcinoma Clinical Cancer Research (2004) doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.ccr-03-0545 

Update 10.03.2021: McGill University investigated this paper in 2008 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations

Apparently, a fabricated RT-PCR gel again, good thing the Photoshop-prone technology is extinct now, these days you get some plotted colour bars from the digital Real-Time PCR where you must simply trust the authors. As Cheshire commented on PubPeer also in this case:

Figure 3A appears to be drawn from Figure 3-3 in the 2004 PhD thesis of the first author.

I hope that thesis won some award. Here one more from Pakneshan’s PhD period with Shabbani, featuring Szyf:

Yongjing Guo, Pouya Pakneshan, Julienne Gladu, Andrew Slack, Moshe Szyf, Shafaat A. Rabbani Regulation of DNA methylation in human breast cancer. Effect on the urokinase-type plasminogen activator gene production and tumor invasion Journal of Biological Chemistry (2002) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m201864200

Update 10.03.2021: McGill University investigated this paper in 2008 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations

Those gels, eh? Good that technology moved away from images, trust is restored because you won’t be able to find anything anymore. In this regard, this final one also, please (there is more by Pakneshan on PubPeer!):

Pouya Pakneshan, Rosie Hongmei Xing, Shafaat A. Rabbani Methylation status of uPA promoter as a molecular mechanism regulating prostate cancer invasion and growth in vitro and in vivo FASEB journal (2003) doi: 10.1096/fj.02-0973com

Update 10.03.2021: McGill University investigated this paper in 2008 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations

Beautiful artwork. Will McGill University investigate Pakneshan’s PhD thesis and the role of her mentor Rabbani? Surprise coming at the end!

But first, it’s not like you can blame the student for the following Rabbani paper:

Shafaat A Rabbani, Julienne Gladu Urokinase receptor antibody can reduce tumor volume and detect the presence of occult tumor metastases in vivo Cancer Research (2002) Vol 62(8)

Update 10.03.2021: McGill University investigated this paper in 2008 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations

There are two authors, and the second one, Julienne Gladou is not even a scientist. No prizes for guessing who fabricated the Figure 1B picture in that publication.

Maybe Szyf fell victim to malfeasances in Rabbani’s lab? Is he maybe just too trusting? Here the outcome of Szyf’s other collaborative effort, with the lab of the neurologist Michael Meaney, also at McGill University:

I. C. G. Weaver, A. C. D’Alessio, Shelley E Brown, I. C. Hellstrom, Sergiy Dymov, Shakti Sharma, Moshe Szyf, Michael J Meaney The transcription factor nerve growth factor-inducible protein a mediates epigenetic programming: altering epigenetic marks by immediate-early genes The Journal of neuroscience (2007) doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.4164-06.2007

It appears that the Figure 4c and figure 5d IP blots are identical despite being from methylated reporter plasmid and histone aceylation, respectively.”

Why are these gels copy-pasted to stand in for similar, but sufficiently differently designed experiments? Here another such collaboration, with similar authors:

Ian C G Weaver, Frances A Champagne, Shelley E Brown, Sergiy Dymov, Shakti Sharma, Michael J Meaney, Moshe Szyf Reversal of maternal programming of stress responses in adult offspring through methyl supplementation: altering epigenetic marking later in life The Journal of neuroscience (2005) doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.3652-05.2005

Update 10.03.2021: McGill University and Dalhousie University investigated this paper in 2016-2017 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations

That problem with falsified and recycled gels was flagged by Elisabeth Bik, who referenced another collaborative paper by Szyf and Meaney labs, again with a very similar authors list, Weaver et al Nature Neuroscience 2004 (Update 10.03.2021: McGill University and Dalhousie University investigated Weaver et al 2004 in 2016-2017 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations). It was criticised on PubPeer with allegations of irreproducibility, maybe these fake gels provide a possible explanation?

The first author and Meaney’s mentee Ian Weaver is now professor at Dalhousie University, also in Canada. So how can we rescue Szyf from his friends? But wait, this is purely from Szyf’s own lab:

These bands sure look copy-pasted, but the authors removed all background signal, not really helpful. Also this paper might be problematic:

Jerome Torrisani, Alexander Unterberger, Sachin R. Tendulkar, Keisuke Shikimi, Moshe Szyf AUF1 cell cycle variations define genomic DNA methylation by regulation of DNMT1 mRNA stability Molecular and Cellular Biology (2007) doi: 10.1128/mcb.01236-06

Something weird happened here. Some bands do look strangely similar….

But now , the surprise I promised. This Rabbani paper has a star of research fraud Anil Potti as coauthor, but was Potti really to blame for this one?

Gaoping Chen, Kanishka Sircar, Armen Aprikian, Anil Potti, David Goltzman, Shafaat A. Rabbani Expression of RANKL/RANK/OPG in primary and metastatic human prostate cancer as markers of disease stage and functional regulation Cancer (2006) doi: 10.1002/cncr.21978

Update 10.03.2021: McGill University investigated this paper in 2008 and now decreed it’s exempt from all future investigations

Fake images, fake gels, what does one do with that one? Retract swiftly, sack the perpetrator? No, this is Canada, dear reader!

That joke of a paper was in fact corrected by the publisher Wiley in September 2018, the notice declared:

An investigation was conducted by a McGill University Ad Hoc Committee, and the first author acknowledged to the committee that he had made a mistake when selecting from hundreds of photographs to assemble figure 2. The committee concluded that the image manipulation resulted from unintentional human error and did not affect the scientific validity or soundness of the data and findings reported in the publication at issue. In addition, such findings have since been independently replicated in other studies.”

Student, meet bus. A certain biomedical researcher Gaoping Chen now works at the neighbouring University in Montreal, often it pays off to take the fall for someone else.

Why did I bother writing about another Canadian university, silly me….

Update 22.01.2021

Well, here proof that the shenanigans continued even after Szyf and Rabbani moved on from image data to genomics. Here a rather new paper:

David Cheishvili, Surabhi Parashar, Niaz Mahmood, Ani Arakelian, Richard Kremer, David Goltzman, Moshe Szyf, Shafaat A Rabbani Identification of an Epigenetic Signature of Osteoporosis in Blood DNA of Postmenopausal Women J Bone Miner Res. (2018) doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3527

Update 10.03.2021 from McGill University: “a corrected version of the figure has been submitted to the journal”

Time for these two to go into a science menopause and just leave.

Update 4.02.2021

I notified the university on 22.01.2021. On 1 February, McGill Deputy Research Integrity Officer David Ragsdale wrote to me that:

merely providing links to PubPeer or other websites does not suffice as a formal complaint, since the sites do not specify a Respondent and can be continuously updated by anyone.”

I was asked to assemble all PubPeer evidence into a complaint form, which I refused because it’s not my job. Ragsdale stopped replying to emails, it seems the notification was not admitted and there will be no investigation at McGill.

Update to this update: Few hours after I shared the above quote via a tweet with McGill University tagged, Ragsdale wrote to me:

We take the allegations seriously and are conducting an inquiry based on the information provided in the links in your previous emails.”

Update 10.03.2021

The article was updated above to include the information provided by the McGill Deputy Research Integrity Officer David Ragsdale, who wrote to me that a list of 8 Szyf and Rabbani papers has been investigated already in 2008, 3 more were investigated by McGill and Dalousie universities in 2016-2017. I double-checked with him several times, and indeed, Ragsdale confirmed that even though the evidence for all these 11 papers was posted on PubPer for the very first time in 2021, this evidence is not admissible anymore, because the papers were already investigated, and nothing wrong was found. Ragsdale instructed me:

“I have carefully reviewed the 14 papers cited in your blog post. For 11 of the 14 papers, the issues raised have already been assessed by McGill University, Dalhousie University, CIHR, and/or the journals. These papers will not be re-adjudicated, as per Canadian Tri-Agency RCR policy (https://rcr.ethics.gc.ca/eng/interpretations_allegation.html):

The second element for an allegation to be considered responsible is that the allegation must be novel and, to the best of the complainant’s knowledge, never previously investigated.” 

This leaves three papers:

Campbell, Bovenzi, Szyf (2004) Carcinogenesis, 25:499-507, Figure 1

Torrisani et al, (2007) Molecular and Cellular Biology, 27:395-410, Figure 2E

Weaver et a., J Neurosci (2007) 27:1756-1768, Figures 4 and 5.

As part of McGill and RCR policy, a misconduct inquiry is initiated by a good faith complaint, made in confidence to the RIO (https://rcr.ethics.gc.ca/eng/interpretations_good-faith-bonne-foi.html). If you are concerned that figures in the above papers were inappropriately manipulated, then what I request from you is a written complaint explaining, for each of the figures, why you think the evidence you present suggests the figures were falsified. This would be the document to which the Respondents would provide a rebuttal. 

Note that a good faith allegation is expected to maintain confidentiality, as per RCR policy”

After some back-and forth, Ragsdale then agreed to add three more papers which were not previously investigated.

Bushra Ateeq, Alexander Unterberger, Moshe Szyf , Shafaat A Rabbani Pharmacological inhibition of DNA methylation induces proinvasive and prometastatic genes in vitro and in vivo Neoplasia (2008) doi: 10.1593/neo.07947
Rosie Hongmei Xing, Shafaat A. Rabbani Regulation of urokinase production by androgens in human prostate cancer cells: effect on tumor growth and metastases in vivo Endocrinology (1999) doi: 10.1210/endo.140.9.6946
Helena Pizzi, Julienne Gladu, Luisa Carpio, Dengshun Miao, David Goltzman, Shafaat A. Rabbani Androgen regulation of parathyroid hormone-related peptide production in human prostate cancer cells Endocrinology (2003) doi: 10.1210/en.2002-220754 

Ragsdale then invited me to write the investigative report for him, so his McGill colleagues can whitewash 6 more papers:

According to the McGill Regulations on the Investigation of Allegations of Research Misconduct( https://www.mcgill.ca/secretariat/files/secretariat/research-misconduct-regulations-concerning-investigation-of_1.pdf)  the review of allegations of research misconduct is triggered by a complaint.  The complaint has to spell out the allegation, (for example, is it fabrication, misappropriation of IP rights, etc.).  The complaint should provide evidence of the alleged misconduct, and indicate how that evidence suggests misconduct.  It should also spell out who is accused of misconduct.  To be clear, comments such as “this figure looks strange” or “this is much more similar than expected” are not particularly helpful.  The allegations should explain what is being alleged (duplication, reproduction of the same figure, etc.) what elements of context are relevant to the analysis, what similarities are expected (or not), what manipulations may have occurred (if that is the allegation) on what basis the similarities pointed to suggest misconduct, etc. 

I told Ragsdale I charge €200 per hour and never heard back. So I don’t submit anything, publish this communication and breach confidentiality. Which means: the McGill University will not be investigating anything now.

But the fake data is public, so form your own opinion of Szyf’s and Rabbani’s research. And of McGill’s attitude to ethics.


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20 comments on “Szyf and Rabbani: old gels evil, new genomics cool

  1. In response to my email to McGill (and others) about these issues, I received this reply today;

    “Thank you for forwarding this information. My office is mandated to review allegations of research misconduct so we will review the discussion thread.
    Regards

    Christina Wolfson, PhD.
    McGill University Research Integrity Officer
    Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Occupational Health, and
    Department of Medicine”

    Mandated to ‘review allegations of research misconduct’ in order to cover it up, perhaps?

    ~Cheshire

    Like

  2. Let’s not forget Canada’s own scifakery power couple, Ezzat and Asa, the Ian and Sylvia (obscure Canuck reference) of bad blots and imaginary post-docs. After several retractions and an institutional wrist-slap:
    https://retractionwatch.com/2017/07/28/toronto-wife-husband-research-team-lose-bid-re-open-labs/
    they kept their high-paying day jobs, and I hear their faketorium is back up and running.
    Also not to be forgotten are the Canadian authors involved in the famous Samaha-Ahmed fiasco of a Nature paper: A homing system targets therapeutic T cells to brain cancer. Nobody said boo about that.
    Canada: number one in scientific ass-covering.

    Like

  3. NMH, the failed scientist and incel

    Faketorium. LOL!

    I suggest that if its a small lab, call it a faketory. If its a large scale well-funded (multiple RO1’s) operation, publishing lots of crap, we can call if a fraudatorium. Here a few examples of the later:

    https://forbetterscience.com/2019/10/21/nasty-jasti-rao-or-whats-wrong-with-us-biomedicine/

    https://retractionwatch.com/2020/01/13/georgia-state-researcher-up-to-nine-retractions-disagrees-with-the-journal/

    The later is still quite productive fraudatorium, and I doubt it will be shut down. Unless our delightful ” Make Academia Great Again” host puts them under the spotlight. Give them some MAGA justice I say….

    Like

    • Reply to NMH, the failed scientist and incel
      January 19, 2021

      ” Make Academia Great Again”.

      With a New President they will forget anything ever happened. Time to move on.

      Like

    • 10 retractions, a host of EOC’s and 34 PubPeer entries seems a healthy faketory to me. Looks like the original setup has recently split into two new fakefirms, with one in the good ol’ USA.

      Like

    • More problematic data, Edmonton, Canada. Scientific concerns 7 publications AK Ho, and CL Chik, University of Alberta.

      The comments section at the end of this article:http://retractionwatch.com/2017/07/28/toronto-wife-husband-research-team-lose-bid-re-open-labs/
      draws attention (there are annotated figures showing the problematic data) to problematic data, e.g image duplication and image reuse to represent different things in 7 publications by AK Ho and CL Chik.

      Re:” The couple’s lawyer, Michael Fraleigh, of Toronto firm Fogler, Rubinoff, told us that the experts are: Anthony Ho, of the University of Alberta.”
      Shared data between Endocrinology. 2007 Feb;148(2):743-51. and Endocrinology. 2005 Nov;146(11):4795-803.
      See: http://imgur.com/AbMnCrL

      For reference.
      Endocrinology. 2005 Nov;146(11):4795-803. Epub 2005 Aug 11.
      Proteasomal proteolysis in the adrenergic induction of arylalkylamine-N-acetyltransferase in rat pinealocytes.
      Terriff DL1, Chik CL, Price DM, Ho AK.
      Author information
      Department of Physiology, University of Alberta, 7-33 Medical Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H7.

      Endocrinology. 2007 Feb;148(2):743-51. Epub 2006 Nov 2.
      The role of inducible repressor proteins in the adrenergic induction of arylalkylamine-N-acetyltransferase and mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 in rat pinealocytes.
      Ho AK1, Terriff DL, Price DM, Wloka MT, Chik CL.
      Author information
      Department of Medicine, 7-26 Medical Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

      Re:” The couple’s lawyer, Michael Fraleigh, of Toronto firm Fogler, Rubinoff, told us that the experts are: Anthony Ho, of the University of Alberta.”

      Endocrinology. 2007 Apr;148(4):1465-72. Epub 2006 Dec 21.
      Histone H3 phosphorylation in the rat pineal gland: adrenergic regulation and diurnal variation.
      Chik CL1, Arnason TG, Dukewich WG, Price DM, Ranger A, Ho AK.
      Author information
      Department of Physiology, 7-26 Medical Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H7.

      Figure 6A. http://imgur.com/ZlIidif

      Re:” The couple’s lawyer, Michael Fraleigh, of Toronto firm Fogler, Rubinoff, told us that the experts are: Anthony Ho, of the University of Alberta.”

      J Neurochem. 2007 Jun;101(6):1685-93. Epub 2007 Apr 16.
      Mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) preferentially dephosphorylates p42/44MAPK but not p38MAPK in rat pinealocytes.
      Price DM1, Wloka MT, Chik CL, Ho AK.
      Author information
      Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

      Figure 5(a). http://imgur.com/0CITnIQ

      Re:” The couple’s lawyer, Michael Fraleigh, of Toronto firm Fogler, Rubinoff, told us that the experts are: Anthony Ho, of the University of Alberta.”

      Endocrinology. 2013 Sep;154(9):3240-50. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1293. Epub 2013 Jun 10.
      Sustained adrenergic stimulation is required for the nuclear retention of TORC1 in male rat pinealocytes.
      McTague J1, Ferguson M, Chik CL, Ho AK.
      Author information

      Department of Physiology, 7-26 Medical Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H7.

      Figure 2. http://imgur.com/chhpWAX

      Re:” The couple’s lawyer, Michael Fraleigh, of Toronto firm Fogler, Rubinoff, told us that the experts are: Anthony Ho, of the University of Alberta.”

      Endocrinology. 2003 Aug;144(8):3344-50.
      Regulation of 90-kilodalton ribosomal S6 kinase phosphorylation in the rat pineal gland.
      Ho AK1, Mackova M, Cho C, Chik CL.
      Author information
      Departments of Physiology and Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H7.

      Figure 5. http://imgur.com/kzdhgas

      Re:” The couple’s lawyer, Michael Fraleigh, of Toronto firm Fogler, Rubinoff, told us that the experts are: Anthony Ho, of the University of Alberta.”

      Endocrinology. 2003 Aug;144(8):3344-50.
      Regulation of 90-kilodalton ribosomal S6 kinase phosphorylation in the rat pineal gland.
      Ho AK1, Mackova M, Cho C, Chik CL.
      Author information

      Departments of Physiology and Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H7.

      Figure 5. http://imgur.com/kzdhgas
      Figure 7. http://imgur.com/DA1UbYm

      Figure 6B. http://imgur.com/TUzp1n3

      Re:” The couple’s lawyer, Michael Fraleigh, of Toronto firm Fogler, Rubinoff, told us that the experts are: Anthony Ho, of the University of Alberta.”

      Endocrinology. 2007 Feb;148(2):743-51. Epub 2006 Nov 2.
      The role of inducible repressor proteins in the adrenergic induction of arylalkylamine-N-acetyltransferase and mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 in rat pinealocytes.
      Ho AK1, Terriff DL, Price DM, Wloka MT, Chik CL.
      Author information
      Department of Medicine, 7-26 Medical Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

      See: http://imgur.com/fuLTCXO

      Like

  4. Scientific concerns publications Juan Ausió, University of Victoria.

    https://www.uvic.ca/research/centres/biomedical/members/profiles/ausio-juan.php

    Problematic publications.
    https://pubpeer.com/search?q=ausio

    Like

  5. Toronto.

    St George-Hyslop. In Toronto for years, now in Cambridge, England.
    Much problematic data early 2000s. Some of it high resolution.
    https://pubpeer.com/search?q=st+george-hyslop
    Often makes it up with Frederic Checler, Nice.https://pubpeer.com/search?q=checler

    David Westaway.
    https://pubpeer.com/search?q=westaway
    Anurag Tandon
    https://pubpeer.com/search?q=Anurag+Tandon
    Richard Rozmahel
    https://pubpeer.com/search?q=Richard++Rozmahel

    Like

  6. More Ontario.

    Toronto

    Armen Manukian.https://pubpeer.com/search?q=Armen+Manoukian
    Vuk Stambolichttps://pubpeer.com/search?q=stambolic

    Aaron Schimmer (out of John C Reed’s lab)https://pubpeer.com/search?q=aaron+schimmer

    Tak Mak needs to look at his output. Perhaps not as good as people think.https://pubpeer.com/search?q=tak+mak

    London, Ontario.

    Andrew Leask.https://pubpeer.com/search?q=andrew+leask

    Like

  7. Zebedee has it right; the https://pubpeer.com/search?q=maya+saleh story is hard to beat. As reported in Retraction Watch: https://retractionwatch.com/2013/01/25/mcgill-committee-says-nature-figures-were-intentionally-contrived-and-falsified/

    “McGill committee says Nature figures were “intentionally contrived and falsified” but that’s OK with both McGill and Nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Pouya Pakneshan, Moshe Szyf , Shafaat A Rabbani Methylation and inhibition of expression of uPA by the RAS oncogene: divergence of growth control and invasion in breast cancer cells Carcinogenesis (2004) doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgi009”

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/394D305068FEFABA69C7A88BE105B5#6

    Figure 6B. Much more similar than expected. Note that the backgrounds are very similar in lanes 1 and 2 of the MBD2 panel, yet the left ends of the bands are slightly different. All 3 lanes in the beta-actin panel are very similar, one light spot on the upper surface of the band in lane 3 does not make that lane different.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. J Bone Miner Res. 2018 Nov;33(11):1980-1989. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3527. Epub 2018 Jul 20.

    Identification of an Epigenetic Signature of Osteoporosis in Blood DNA of Postmenopausal Women

    David Cheishvili 1, Surabhi Parashar 2, Niaz Mahmood 2, Ani Arakelian 2, Richard Kremer 2, David Goltzman 2, Moshe Szyf 1, Shafaat A Rabbani 2

    Affiliations1Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, QC, Canada.2Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, QC, Canada.PMID: 29924424 DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3527

    Figure 5A. Profiles much more similar than expected.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Neoplasia 2008 Mar;10(3):266-78. doi: 10.1593/neo.07947.

    Pharmacological inhibition of DNA methylation induces proinvasive and prometastatic genes in vitro and in vivo
    Bushra Ateeq 1, Alexander Unterberger, Moshe Szyf, Shafaat A Rabbani
    Affiliations collapse
    Affiliation
    1
    Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
    PMID: 18320071 PMCID: PMC2259455 DOI: 10.1593/neo.07947

    Problematic data figure 1E. Much more similar and different than expected.

    Rogues’ gallery.
    https://www.journals.elsevier.com/neoplasia/editorial-board

    Liked by 1 person

  11. https://www.mun.ca/research/explore/chairs/Leitges.php

    Dr. Michael Leitges Canada Research Chair in Cell Signaling and Translational Medicine

    Impressive record!
    https://pubpeer.com/search?q=Michael+Leitges

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Silly me, I totally failed to understand why the McGill University in Montreal, Canada, was so reluctant to investigate the papers of their geneticist Moshe Szyf (read my reporting here). Turns out, Professor Szyf has discovered the fountain of youth!

    It was published in the fanciest journals of all, Aging (where even Chinese paper mill fraud found a home).

    Kara N. Fitzgerald, Romilly Hodges, Douglas Hanes, Emily Stack, David Cheishvili, Moshe Szyf, Janine Henkel, Melissa W. Twedt, Despina Giannopoulou, Josette Herdell, Sally Logan, Ryan Bradley Potential reversal of epigenetic age using a diet and lifestyle intervention: a pilot randomized clinical trial Aging (2021) doi: 10.18632/aging.202913

    A press release was issued by the publisher of Aging and the story made news worldwide:

    “The study, released on April 12, utilized a randomized controlled clinical trial conducted among 43 healthy adult males between the ages of 50-72. The 8-week treatment program included diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation guidance, and supplemental probiotics and phytonutrients, resulting in a statistically significant reduction of biological age—over three years younger, compared to controls.

    The study was independently conducted by the Helfgott Research Institute, with laboratory assistance from Yale University Center for Genome Analysis, and the results independently analyzed at McGill University and the National University of Natural Medicine.”

    That Helfgott Research Institute in Portland, OR, which openly describes itself as pursing “naturopath” method and “employs traditional approaches combined with natural medicine such as herbs, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture in order to prevention and treatment.” And of course, yin and yang is on the programme:

    Instead of studying medicines individually or in a manner that would reduce an herb to its constituent components, Helfgott researchers look at a combination of herbs being administered.

    Helfgott claims to be funded by NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and declares:

    We envision Helfgott as the premier natural medicine research institute. Our vision includes a consortium of researchers from naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, physical medicine, energy medicine, and other natural medicine disciplines.”

    Maybe Szyf should leave McGill and work there full-time. For naturopathy, Ayurveda and TCM, the only way to prove their efficacy is to fake the results.

    Szyf, described as “Leading epigeneticist”, was quoted in the press release:

    The uniqueness of Dr. Fitzgerald’s approach is that her trial devised a natural but mechanistic driven strategy to target the methylation system of our body. This study provides the first insight into the possibility of using natural alterations to target epigenetic processes and improve our well being and perhaps even longevity and lifespan.”

    None of the churnalists excitingly reporting the anti-ageing breakthrough noticed that the study was done by naturopaths peddling TCM and Ayurveda.

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