Academic Publishing paper mills Research integrity

Cell Death and Depravity

Is the journal Cell Death and Disease a disease itself, parasitised by Chinese paper mills? Can it be cured? Not with this team of doctors on editorial board.

Cheshire aka Actinopolyspora Biskrensis has been very busy, screening the 2018 issues of the Nature family journal Cell Death and Disease. Around 80 problematic papers have been found so far, mostly from China, many likely faked by paper mills. But the editors have been unresponsive because maybe they are part of the problem.

Here is the Google Sheets file with PubPeer links, and a pdf list to download. I won’t discuss these papers in my article, there are too many of them, and they are all clearly fake.

Instead, let’s have a look at the men (yes, they are all men) who run this strange journal, Cell Death and Depravity, which sports an impact factor of around 8.5 and where research fraudsters pay a whopping fee of €3,290 or $4,170 to publish their fraud.

Cell Death and Depravity (original painting by Roberto Bompiani)

Guido, Gerry and Gigi

In 2010, a new Nature Publishing Group journal was announced by its three foundling editors, with an editorial:

Guido Kroemer, Pierluigi Nicotera, & Gerry Melino. Cell Death and Disease: a new journal for a central area of pathophysiology. Cell Death Disease (2010). doi: 10.1038/cddis.2009.14

It started with “If pathophysiology were a fan propeller, cell death would constitute the pivot“, which was your clue about the intellectual challenge to publish in that for-profit Open-Access trash bin (which meant to complement these same editors’ subscription journal Cell Death and Differentiation). And indeed, Cell Death and Disease turned out to be a disease which ended up full of Chinese paper mill garbage and its editors not only not caring, but boasting gigantic PubPeer records themselves.

Guido Kroemer

You sure have recognised one of these founding editors. Yes, Guido Kroemer, the legendary German-born Paris-based cancer and ageing researcher, member of the German science academy Leopoldina, who never retracted a single publication despite a PubPeer record of, let me check… over 70 papers, wow. I discussed some of those in my earlier articles, e.g. here and here.

Here I will show you just two, one in Cell Death and Differentiation even:

Michel Obeid , Antoine Tesniere , François Ghiringhelli , Gian Maria Fimia author has email , Lionel Apetoh, Jean-Luc Perfettini , Maria Castedo , Grégoire Mignot , Theoharis Panaretakis , Noelia Casares , Didier Métivier , Nathanael Larochette , Peter Van Endert, Fabiola Ciccosanti , Mauro Piacentini , Laurence Zitvogel , Guido Kroemer Calreticulin exposure dictates the immunogenicity of cancer cell death Nature Medicine (2007) doi: 10.1038/nm1523 
J-L Perfettini , R Nardacci , C Séror , M Bourouba , F Subra , L Gros , G Manic , A Amendola , P Masdehors , F Rosselli , D M Ojcius , C Auclair , H De Thé , M-L Gougeon , M Piacentini , G Kroemer The tumor suppressor protein PML controls apoptosis induced by the HIV-1 envelope Cell Death and Differentiation (2009) doi: 10.1038/cdd.2008.158 

(You will meet Kromer’s co-author Mauro Piacentini later).

There is a theory that Kroemer is the actual centre of the data fudging universe, and anyone seen together with him, including his own wife Laurence Zitvogel, is, how shall I put it… better is not to be left with science alone unattended. For example, three of Kroemer’s best friends are:

  • Didier Raoult: joint chloroquine paper, Kroemer’s wife Zitvogel is director of IHU Marseille scientific advisory board and thus responsible for Raoult remaining its director.
  • Josef Penninger: they even got their Leopoldina membership together. Penninger was until recently editorial board member of Cell Death and Disease.

Impressed? And recently Kroemer started to collaborate with Claudio Hetz, who also happens to still be editorial board member of Cell Death and Disease.

Kroemer used to be the Editor-in-Chief, but now acts as Deputy Editor of Cell Death and Disease.

Gerry Melino

GennaroGerry” Melino is professor in Rome at University Tor Vergata, and Editor-in-Chief of both Cell Death and Disease and the “mothership” Cell Death and Differentiation. He also used to be programme leader at MRC in Cambridge, but apparently not anymore. This foundling editor of Cell Death and Depravity has around 50 papers on PubPeer. Which is weird, because Melino also plays the champion of research ethics, and occasionally investigates and retracts papers in this journal.

Here one such Melino paper, in Cell Death and Differentiation, as the journal’s Editor-in-Chief it was Melino’s task to do nothing at all about it:

M Müller, T Schilling , A E Sayan , A Kairat , K Lorenz , H Schulze-Bergkamen , M Oren , A Koch , A Tannapfel , W Stremmel , G Melino, P H Krammer TAp73/Delta Np73 influences apoptotic response, chemosensitivity and prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma Cell Death and Differentiation (2005) doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4401774

Those are copy-pasted western blot bands. But you might say, well that was an old paper, sins of youth, things surely changed! Not really:

Francesco Rugolo, Nicolas G. Bazan , Jorgelina Calandria , Bokkyoo Jun , Giuseppe Raschellà, Gerry Melino, Massimiliano Agostini The expression of ELOVL4, repressed by MYCN, defines neuroblastoma patients with good outcome Oncogene (2021) doi: 10.1038/s41388-021-01959-3

Figure 1B

In 2021, such cack-handed data manipulation is insulting and nothing but trolling. Melino didn’t reply to my email about this paper, in fact he ceased communicating with me altogether. Sure, he has much better friends.

Not just Kroemer! The Italian cancer researcher always had the best collaborators. Meet Richard Knight, previously at University of Leicester, but now like Melino a professor at University Tor Vergata. Also like Kroemer, Knight acts as Deputy Editor of Cell Death and Disease. In the previous years, Knight worked closely with David Latchman, the reckless Master of Birkbeck (UCL) and his condemned data forger Anastasis Stephanou (who fled to Cyprus).

Now, Stephanou is an old collaborator of Melino’s, in late 2016, when Stephanou was already exposed as a fraud by a UCL investigation, he hosted Melino at a conference in Cyprus, the meeting report was published in Cell Death & Disease. These days, Stephanou acts as a member of editorial board at Cell Death and Discovery, which is basically there to pick up trash rejected even at Cell Death & Disease (You must forgive Cheshire for having no time to clean that Aegean stable of a journal also).

In this regard, as short detour, a nicely fraudulent Stephanou paper in Cell Death and Depravity:

Andreas Yiallouris, Ioannis Patrikios, Elizabeth O. Johnson , Evangelia Sereti , Konstantinos Dimas , Cristian De Ford , Natalia U. Fedosova , Wolfgang F. Graier, Kleitos Sokratous , Kyriakos Kyriakou , Anastasis Stephanou Annonacin promotes selective cancer cell death via NKA-dependent and SERCA-dependent pathways Cell Death and Disease (2018) doi: 10.1038/s41419-018-0772-x 

In 2018, the Dean of Medical faculty of Stephanou’s European University Cyprus and co-author of the above fraudulent paper, Elizabeth Johnson, educated Clare Francis that it was actually the UCL investigators of the Latchman-Stephanou affair who are the lying fraudsters:

Ms. Francis, Thank you for your email. It is of critical importance to both protect scientific integrity and uphold the standards of scientific method. However, we were sent a clipping from a newspaper with a reputation of lightweight gossip. I have unfortunately seen cases of unfounded accusations thrown by newspapers in the past, particularly during my work at the National Institutes if Health. The only aim, in each of these cases was to slander and to weaken the image and reputation of an individual or Department . Despite the fact that these accusations were proven to be unfounded, the goal of besmirching a reputation was achieved, at least in part and briefly. As such, I will only take into consideration information that comes to me through formal channels.

But now a paper by Melino, Stephanou, Latchman and Knight, plus another guy from Tor Vergata, Vincenzo De Laurenzi:

Eliana Munarriz , Daniela Barcaroli , Anastasis Stephanou , Paul A. Townsend, Carine Maisse , Alessandro Terrinoni , Michael H. Neale , Seamus J. Martin , David S. Latchman, Richard A. Knight , Gerry Melino, Vincenzo De Laurenzi PIAS-1 Is a Checkpoint Regulator Which Affects Exit from G 1 and G 2 by Sumoylation of p73 Molecular and Cellular Biology (2004) doi: 10.1128/mcb.24.24.10593-10610.2004 

Someone (I am not pointing fingers here) must have been drunk on ouzo or grappa while forging those western blots in Photoshop. Look, the bands are not even horizontal.

Knight earned himself 6 retractions with his mate Stephanou, which must have sufficed as qualifications to become a Tor Vergata professor in Rome. So here another paper with the Cell Death and Depravity editors Melino and Knight:

Mario Rossi , Satoshi Inoue , Renata Walewska , Richard A. Knight, Martin J.S. Dyer , Gerald M. Cohen , Gerry Melino Caspase cleavage of Itch in chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (2009) doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.11.154 

Arrows indicate a horizontal contrast break. The top halves of both gels consist of a box digitally placed to cover something the authors didn’t want you to see.

Guess at which university does the former Leicester academic Gerald Cohen hold a professorship now? Come on, it’s easy. Yes, Melino’s Tor Vergata in Rome. These days, two of Cohen’s former postdocs, one of them the Tokyo professor Satoshi Inoue from above paper, serve on Cell Death and Disease editorial board.

Here another one from these Roman gentlemen:

A E Sayan , B S Sayan , V Gogvadze , D Dinsdale , U Nyman , T M Hansen , B Zhivotovsky, G M Cohen , R A Knight , G Melino P73 and caspase-cleaved p73 fragments localize to mitochondria and augment TRAIL-induced apoptosis Oncogene (2008) doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.64 

That paper with its “accidentally” copy-pasted gel features as co-author Boris Zhivotovsky, professor at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and another deputy editor at Cell Death and Disease. Zhivotovsky’s papers are also quite problematic, there are around 20 of them on PubPeer, but Karolinska was helpless to find anything so far, despite several investigations.

One clue for Zhivotovsky’s whitewashings might be the fact that his wife Tatiana Goriatcheva is the manager of the Nobel Prize Committee at Karolinska Institutet. And if you are interested, I wrote about the rigged research of Zhivotovsky and his PhD mentee Helin Vakifahmetoglu-Norberg before:

So you see, there is a pattern of editorial appointments at Cell Death and Depravity.

Let’s look at more of Melino’s papers.

Alessandro Terrinoni , Marco Ranalli , Bruno Cadot , Aida Leta , Giacinto Bagetta , Karen H Vousden , Gerry Melino p73-alpha is capable of inducing scotin and ER stress Oncogene (2004) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207342

What you saw there, was a cut-off indicating that the last gel lane was most probably just a blank white patch, and the gel image’s background noise had to be brightened as well to hide this manipulation. You may have recognised the co-author: Karen Vousden, Chief Scientist at Cancer Research UK and professor at The Crick in London, with over 20 papers on PubPeer. Vousden is also member of the editorial board of Cell Death and Differentiation.

More Melino stuff, some fake gels made in Italy:

Eleonora Candi , Sergio Oddi , Alessandro Terrinoni , Andrea Paradisi , Marco Ranalli , Alessandro Finazzi-Agró , Gerry Melino Transglutaminase 5 cross-links loricrin, involucrin, and small proline-rich proteins in vitro The Journal of biological chemistry (2001) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m010157200

Another one with Melino’s colleague at University Tor Vergata, Eleonora Candi, nothing special there, just another fake gel with a band digitally inserted in Photoshop.

Valentina Pietroni , Sabrina Di Giorgi , Andrea Paradisi , Bijan Ahvazi , Eleonora Candi , Gerry Melino Inactive and highly active, proteolytically processed transglutaminase-5 in epithelial cells The Journal of investigative dermatology (2008)doi: 10.1038/jid.2008.146

The paper was even corrected – for omitting a grant acknowledgement.

  

Gigi Nicotera

Here something by Melino and the other co-founder of Cell Death and Depravity, Pierluigi Nicotera, director of the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, and like Kroemer, also Leopoldina member.

Eliana Munarriz , Daniele Bano , A. Emre Sayan , Mario Rossi , Gerry Melino , Pierluigi Nicotera Calpain cleavage regulates the protein stability of p73 Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (2005)
doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.05.188

Or here is a good one, a letter to the editor of Blood, which sought to refute a study by the Cell Death and Disease editorial board member George Calin (over 30 papers on PubPeer and associate of Anil Sood (!) and even of Carlo Croce (!), but then again, also Melino collaborated with Croce, see PubPeer for evidence). That letter contained exactly one figure showing 2 western blot experiments. Which proved to have been fake, so it was replaced with a new experiment in an Erratum.

Pia Rivetti Rivetti Di Val Cervo , Paola Tucci , Aneela Majid , M. A. Lena , Massimiliano Agostini , Sergio Bernardini , Eleonora Candi , Gerry Cohen , Pierluigi Nicotera , Martin J. S. Dyer , Gerry Melino p73, miR106b, miR34a, and Itch in chronic lymphocytic leukemia Blood (2009) doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-02-203174

Erratum: “Although the error does not change the scientific meaning, the authors apologize for the error.

Nicotera has 10 papers on PubPeer, often without Melino as co-author. For example, this vintage paper (featuring Zhivotovsky!) in the journal Nicotera and Melino founded:

Anna D Rossi, Barbara Viviani , Boris Zhivotovsky , Luigi Manzo , Sten Orrenius , Marie Vahter , Pierluigi Nicotera Inorganic mercury modifies Ca2+ signals, triggers apoptosis and potentiates NMDA toxicity in cerebellar granule neurons Cell Death and Differentiation (1997) doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4400244

Back then, gel lanes were copy-pasted not with Photoshop, but with the good old hands-on method with paper, scissors and glue. They don’t make forgeries like these anymore!

Btw, also the co-author Sten Orrenius used to be editorial board member, but he died in 2020 aged 83.

The co-author of this other vintage classic, Rolf Knippers, died also, in 2017. German students of biology all know his textbook. Which makes it even more embarrassing that this fake gel is rotting on PubPeer since 5 years without anyone being bothered:

Birgit L. Schwab , Marcel Leist , Rolf Knippers , Pierluigi Nicotera Selective proteolysis of the nuclear replication factor MCM3 in apoptosis Experimental Cell Research (1998) doi: 10.1006/excr.1997.3850

I informed Nicotera and the Helmholtz Society which funds his DZNE institute. No reply so far.

10 Years Later

This is becoming a kind of Alexandre Dumas’ “10 Years Later” sequel, with our three musketeers of Cell Death and Depravity retiring, and three new ones arriving on the stage.

Mauro Piacentini, Yufang Shi & Hans-Uwe Simon 10 years of Cell Death & Disease Cell Death & Disease (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41419-020-03287-y

Cell Death & Disease is celebrating its 10th anniversary. In the last 10 years from its foundation the content of Cell Death & Disease has covered an enormous breadth of subjects at the forefront of experimental medicine and clinical practice. The Journal’s mission aims to encompass the breadth of translational implications of cell death in the pathogenesis of major human diseases.”

Aha, that where the Chinese papermills come in! I understand.

By the way, Misha Blagosklonny, whose own journals are also catering to Chinese paper mills, is editorial board member at Cell Death and Differentiation. Science is a village.

But we are talking about Cell Death and Disease editorial triumvirates here (literal triumvirates, no women allowed).

Mauro Piacentini

The new Editor-in-Chief of Cell Death and Disease Mauro Piacentini is, like Melino, also professor at the University Tor Vergata in Rome. Of course also he has a PubPeer record of almost 20 papers, due to wise choices of collaboration, especially with Kroemer. You saw two examples above, remember?

Here something by Piacentini, with Zhivotovsky and his PhD student Vakifahmetoglu-Norberg (and her husband Erik Norberg, and the late Orrenius), in their own journal:

H Vakifahmetoglu-Norberg , E Norberg , A B Perdomo , M Olsson , F Ciccosanti , S Orrenius , G M Fimia , M Piacentini , B Zhivotovsky Caspase-2 promotes cytoskeleton protein degradation during apoptotic cell death Cell Death and Disease (2013) doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.463

Right, Karolinska said this is OK, nothing wrong, I forgot. Well, here is a nice one from Tor Vergata, Piacentini is corresponding author:

B Fazi , S Melino , S De Rubeis , C Bagni , M Paci , M Piacentini , F Di Sano Acetylation of RTN-1C regulates the induction of ER stress by the inhibition of HDAC activity in neuroectodermal tumors Oncogene (2009) doi: 10.1038/onc.2009.233 

It’s the same gel band, cloned four times, don’t you like it? Here more cloned gel bands from Piacentini’s lab:

P G Mastroberardino , C Iannicola , R Nardacci , F Bernassola , V De Laurenzi , G Melino , S Moreno , F Pavone , S Oliverio , L Fesus , M Piacentini ‘Tissue’ transglutaminase ablation reduces neuronal death and prolongs survival in a mouse model of Huntington’s disease Cell Death and Differentiation (2002) doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4401093
M Corazzari , P E Lovat , J L Armstrong , G M Fimia , D S Hill , M Birch-Machin , C P F Redfern , M Piacentini Targeting homeostatic mechanisms of endoplasmic reticulum stress to increase susceptibility of cancer cells to fenretinide-induced apoptosis: the role of stress proteins ERdj5 and ERp57 British Journal of Cancer (2007) doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603672

Too old? Here a rather new one even, does the raw data still exist perchance? Meh, why do I ask.

Laura Diaz-Hidalgo , Sara Altuntas , Federica Rossin , Manuela D’Eletto , Claudia Marsella , Maria Grazia Farrace , Laura Falasca , Manuela Antonioli , Gian Maria Fimia , Mauro Piacentini Transglutaminase type 2-dependent selective recruitment of proteins into exosomes under stressful cellular conditions Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (2016) – doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2016.05.005

Hans-Uwe Simon

Enter Hans-Uwe Simon, professor at the University of Bern, owner of a nicely growing PubPeer record, and yet another member of Leopoldina (what kind of a club is this actually?). Simon has around around 10 papers on PubPeer, most problems were flagged very recently.

Sébastien CONUS , Andreina BRUNO, Hans-Uwe SIMON Leptin is an eosinophil survival factor Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2005) doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2005.09.003

Simon was unconvinced there was something to worry about:

It is possible that we used the same GAPDH image at this time because the donor was the same for both 5-h and 24-h experiments.

Sure, sure. Here, a strange figure in the same journal:

Dagmar Simon, Susanne Hoesli , Nina Roth , Simon Staedler , Shida Yousefi , Hans-Uwe Simon Eosinophil extracellular DNA traps in skin diseases Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2011) doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.11.002

Why the duplication (highlighted with boxes)?

The first author is a certain Dagmar Simon, who is also professor at the University of Bern, and published many papers with Hans-Uwe, so probably no relation whatsoever?

Barbara Geering , Ursina Gurzeler , Elena Federzoni , Thomas Kaufmann , Hans-Uwe Simon A novel TNFR1-triggered apoptosis pathway mediated by class IA PI3Ks in neutrophils Blood (2011) doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-11-322206

I guess also there, the donor was the same, hence reuse justified? Which donor is to blame for this:

Sébastien Conus , Remo Perozzo , Thomas Reinheckel , Christoph Peters , Leonardo Scapozza , Shida Yousefi , Hans-Uwe Simon Caspase-8 is activated by cathepsin D initiating neutrophil apoptosis during the resolution of inflammation The Journal of experimental medicine (2008) doi: 10.1084/jem.20072152 

No wonder Professor Simon stopped replying on PubPeer. He also never replied to my email. I guess he is just too busy. How about these two duplications:

Dipak Maskey , Shida Yousefi , Inès Schmid , Inti Zlobec , Aurel Perren , Robert Friis , Hans-Uwe Simon ATG5 is induced by DNA-damaging agents and promotes mitotic catastrophe independent of autophagy Nature Communications (2013) doi: 10.1038/ncomms3130
Ekatherina M. Vassina , Shida Yousefi , Dagmar Simon , Caroline Zwicky , Sébastien Conus , Hans-Uwe Simon cIAP-2 and survivin contribute to cytokine-mediated delayed eosinophil apoptosis European Journal of Immunology (2006) doi: 10.1002/eji.200635943

Now I have a special joke for you. Simon is in charge of the research ethics at Cell Death and Disease, being on its Ethics Committee which covers all three family journals. Which kind of fits, don’t you think? Just imagine the fun Simon has investigating Cheshire’s complaints.

The third new Editor-in-Chief of Cell Death and Depravity, Yufang Shi, is former professor at Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2019, not entirely unexpected, he also became Tor Vergata professor in Rome. Yet Shi doesn’t really have a proper PubPeer record which I think might be a problem. Nobody likes an outsider. Instead of keeping shtum like the others, Shi even replied to Cheshire:

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I will forward the list to the ethics committee.”

Yufang Shi

Did I mention that even the undead Count Fakula Michael Karin is editorial board member of Cell Death & Disease? I mean, this surely sends a message!

Oh, and the Editor-in-Chief of Cell Death and Discovery (basically a cheaper version of Cell Death & Disease, where you pay merely €1,790/ $2,090 to publish your trash), is Xin Lu, director of the Ludwig Cancer Institute in Oxford. I wrote about her research before. It really seems Kroemer and Melino recruit their editors on PubPeer.

Here again is the Google Sheets file with PubPeer links, and a pdf list to download. Each of these fake papers earned the publisher Springer Nature and the editors you met above over $4k. Not bad.

Cheshire wrote in an email to the editors:

I got to thinking that maybe there’s a business opportunity for us here, but you’ll have to help me out with the details:

Would you prefer to pay me a $50 “bug bounty” per paper for finding possible image errors or fraud in CDD papers, or would you prefer to pay me to stop finding them?

They still don’t answer.

This article has been updated with more fake science since it was first published.


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29 comments on “Cell Death and Depravity

  1. “Here is a paper with Richard Knight, previously at University of Leicester, but now like Melino a professor at University Tor Vergata.”

    http://retractiondatabase.org/RetractionSearch.aspx#?auth%3dKnight%252c%2bRichard%2bA

    6 retractions,

    Like

    • You have a problem with Cell Death & Discovery editorial board member Prof Anastasis Stephanou?

      David Latchman, uncensored

      Let me remind you of the email you received in 2018 from his superior, the Dean of Medical faculty at the European University Cyprus, Prof Elizabeth Johnson:

      Ms. Francis,
      Thank you for your email.
      It is of critical importance to both protect scientific integrity and uphold the standards of scientific method.
      However, we were sent a clipping from a newspaper with a reputation of lightweight gossip. I have unfortunately seen cases of unfounded accusations thrown by newspapers in the past, particularly during my work at the National Institutes if Health. The only aim, in each of these cases was to slander and to weaken the image and reputation of an individual or Department . Despite the fact that these accusations were proven to be unfounded, the goal of besmirching a reputation was achieved, at least in part and briefly.
      As such, I will only take into consideration information that comes to me through formal channels.

      I now added that to my article.

      Like

  2. “Gigi Nicotera
    Here something by Melino and the other co-founder of Cell Death and Depravity, Pierluigi Nicotera, director of the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, and like Kroemer, also Leopoldina member.”

    https://www.dzne.de/en/research/research-areas/fundamental-research/research-groups/salomoni/curriculum-vitae/

    Paolo Salomoni,is also at the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, Germany.

    Problematic data Paolo Salomoni:-

    With Pier Paolo Pandolfi
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/62F187556F6EA19FCB69C764BB7FE6

    First author with Bruno Calabretta, Philadelphia.https://pubpeer.com/publications/ADB505B432B5D29B02AD4F9C7874D9

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/180656AC2CE3D5FBA5804C1AD3C1FD

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/A21E2C61CA35C473148D93CC537BCB

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/19E71A8151090FF672144896B4BA73

    Like

  3. https://www.nature.com/cdd/editors

    About the Editors
    Editors-in-Chief
    Gerry Melino

    “Italy, Rome and UK, Cambridge – Gerry Melino is Head of the Apoptosis & Cancer Laboratory, Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit, UK; and Professor of Molecular Biology (Medicine), University of Rome “Tor Vergata””

    Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit, UK

    https://www.mrc-tox.cam.ac.uk/

    Welcome to the MRC Toxicology Unit
    The Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit is a leading International Research Institute within the School of Biological Sciences, University of Cambridge. The Unit delivers mechanistic toxicology research, pursuing hypothesis-driven toxicological questions with a particular focus on the study of the causal links between exposure to endogenous and exogenous toxicants, molecular initiating events and adverse outcome pathways. The Unit’s overall aims are to carry out pioneering research which leads to improved health and to train and mentor the next generation of toxicologists.

    Professor Anne Willis is Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit. Anne was appointed as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 2015, and in 2017 awarded an OBE for services to biomedical sciences and supporting the careers of women scientists.

    Problematic data Professor Anne Willis is Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit:-

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/DC4763FA02B946FB7E468CBACAA0D9#11

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/DC4763FA02B946FB7E468CBACAA0D9#12

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/DC4763FA02B946FB7E468CBACAA0D9#9

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/095D933A79348FD1D3983C75FA67C5#5

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/7D2A6E7510046A12DF9444C3974BF5#4

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/B619088AB412E4B323ADEDAE286F6E#18

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/4385D3776B2C3D0A31D1527623B294#5

    Like

  4. Pingback: Crisi di fiducia – ocasapiens

  5. Lee Rudolph

    Why do these people bother to do actual experiments for the generation of figures which then have to be edited with graphic software (I presume that you are using “Photoshop” as a generic; I am a happy user of the Corel suite, and I believe that there are several things available in the Linux world as well), leaving (at least in many cases) visible evidence of manipulation? By now the world of AE (Artificial Expertise, often misnamed Artificial Intelligence) is surely advanced enough that sufficiently convincing figures could be generated de novo, free of any traces of editing! Think of the savings that could be accrued.

    Like

    • Today’s fraudomics science doesn’t need any images, it’s all digital stuff now which nobody can ever check for fraud without access to raw data, propitiatory software and expertise in the field. Isn’t it great news?

      Like

  6. Like

  7. I’m going to move on now to looking at papers published by some of these authors. While some hospital MDs in China seem to just publish one, some of these people do work in labs and may have a larger body of “work.”

    Like

  8. ” David Latchman, the reckless Master of Birkbeck (UCL) and his condemned data forger Anastasis Stephanou (who fled to Cyprus).”

    “In 2018, the Dean of Medical faculty of Stephanou’s European University Cyprus and co-author of the above fraudulent paper, Elizabeth Johnson, educated Clare Francis that it was actually the UCL investigators of the Latchman-Stephanou affair who are the lying fraudsters:”

    Elizabth Johnson is conflicted as she is the third author on this Stephanou paper, which itself is highly problematic.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/72F2856965BE26E1394D2BB44C1B67

    Cell Death Dis . 2018 Jul 9;9(7):764. doi: 10.1038/s41419-018-0772-x.

    Annonacin promotes selective cancer cell death via NKA-dependent and SERCA-dependent pathways

    Andreas Yiallouris 1 2, Ioannis Patrikios 3, Elizabeth O Johnson 1 2, Evangelia Sereti 4, Konstantinos Dimas 4, Cristian De Ford 5, Natalia U Fedosova 6, Wolfgang F Graier 7, Kleitos Sokratous 8, Kyriakos Kyriakou 8, Anastasis Stephanou 9

    Affiliations
    1School of Medicine, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus.
    2School of Medicine, National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
    3School of Medicine, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus. i.patrikios@euc.ac.cy.
    4Department of Pharmacology, School of Health Sciences, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece.
    5Department of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology, Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine (SGBM), Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
    6Department of Biomedicine-Physiology and Biophysics, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
    7Gottfried Schatz Research Center, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
    8Department of EM/Molecular Pathology, Institute of Neurology and Genetics, Nicosia, Cyprus.
    9School of Medicine, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus. a.stephanou@euc.ac.cy.
    PMID: 29988040 PMCID: PMC6037677 DOI: 10.1038/s41419-018-0772-x

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  9. Cell Death Differ. 1999 Sep;6(9):916-30. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4400568.

    Transglutaminase crosslinking and structural studies of the human small proline rich 3 protein

    P M Steinert 1, E Candi, E Tarcsa, L N Marekov, M Sette, M Paci, B Ciani, P Guerrieri, G Melino
    Affiliations collapse
    Affiliation
    1Laboratory of Skin Biology, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, MA 20892-2752, USA.
    PMID: 10510474 DOI: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4400568

    Figure 3. Much more similar than expected.

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    • J Biol Chem. 1998 May 29;273(22):13693-702. doi: 10.1074/jbc.273.22.13693.
      Transglutaminase 1 mutations in lamellar ichthyosis. Loss of activity due to failure of activation by proteolytic processing
      E Candi 1, G Melino, A Lahm, R Ceci, A Rossi, I G Kim, B Ciani, P M Steinert

      Affiliation
      1Laboratory of Skin Biology, NIAMS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
      PMID: 9593710 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.273.22.13693

      Figure 1B. Much more similar than expected.

      https://pubpeer.com/publications/53EDFD34CA0B4A00CC93AA083D1E41#3

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      • Obituary senior author J Biol Chem. 1998 May 29;273(22):13693-702.

        Washington Post.
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2003/04/13/peter-m-steinert/074da61e-9896-4c29-baf7-64a18e7a9283/

        Peter M. Steinert, 57, a Bethesda resident and skin biologist who had worked for the National Institutes of Health since coming to the Washington area in 1973, was pronounced dead April 7 at a hospital in Palm Springs, Calif.

        Dr. Steinert, who was in California to attend conferences, and another man were found at the bottom of a swimming pool at a Palm Springs resort club.

        The Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs quoted deputy coroner Warren Horton, who told the paper that the deaths were not considered suspicious and that autopsies and other tests were pending.

        Since 1990, Dr. Steinert had been skin biology laboratory director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

        He was the author of more than 200 technical articles dealing with such research interests as structural biology, molecular and cellular biology and muscular, skeletal and skin sciences.

        Dr. Steinert served on the editorial boards of such publications as the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Cell Death and Differentiation and Experimental and Molecular Medicine.

        He was a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the American Society for Cell Biology.

        http://retractiondatabase.org/RetractionSearch.aspx#?auth%3dSteinert%252c%2bPeter%2bM

        Peter M Steinert 2 retractions.

        https://retractionwatch.com/2014/10/31/former-nih-lab-director-faked-findings-in-three-papers-ori/

        The former director of the X-ray crystallography lab at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, faked findings in three papers, according to the Office of Research Integrity.

        Two of the three papers by Bijan Ahvazi were published in 2004, and later retracted in 2007, while the other was rejected:

        Ahvazi, B., Boeshans, K.M., Idler, W., Baxa, U., & Steinert, P.M. “Structural basis for the coordinated regulation of transglutaminase 3 by guanine nucleotides and calcium/magnesium.”J. Biol. Chem. 279(8):7180-92, 2004 Feb 20 (cited 26 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, and withdrawn)
        Ahvazi, B., Boeshans, K.M., & Steinert, P.M. “Crystal structure of transglutaminase 3 in complex with BMP: Structural basis for nucleotide specificity.”J. Biol. Chem. 279:26716-25, 2004 (cited 14 times, withdrawn)
        Ahvazi, B., Boeshans, K.M., Idler, W.,& Cooper, A.J.L. “Crystal structure of transglutaminase 3-cystamine complex: Binding of two cystamines to the nucleotide-binding pocket. M6:06060, Submitted to J. Biol. Chem., 2006 (rejected)
        Ahvazi faked five images in the papers, according to the ORI. For example, in “Crystal structure of transglutaminase 3 in complex with BMP: Structural basis for nucleotide specificity,” he:

        Falsely labeled Figure 3A in JBC 2004b representing an isothermal calorimetric titration (ITC) experiment using guanine monophosphate (GMP) and transglutaminase 3 (TGase 3) when the figure was actually a relabeled version of an unrelated experiment that Respondent previously published as Figure 1A in JBC 2004a [the other withdrawn JBC paper].

        And he:

        Falsified Figure 4B in JBC 2004b, by adding multiple data points to titration curves for four different concentrations of TGase 3 bound by different concentrations of tagged GTPγS and deleting two (2) outlying data points from one of the curves

        PubPeer has three entries for papers by Ahvazi, including the two retracted papers and one from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The two retracted JBC papers are dedicated to co-author Peter Steinert, who died in 2003.

        Ahvazi has agreed to have any of his federally-funded research supervised for two years, and not to serve on NIH peer review committees for the same length of time.

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  10. THE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Vol. 273, No. 22, Issue of May 29, pp. 13693–13702, 1998

    Transglutaminase 1 Mutations in Lamellar Ichthyosis
    LOSS OF ACTIVITY DUE TO FAILURE OF ACTIVATION BY PROTEOLYTIC PROCESSING*
    (Received for publication, December 17, 1997, and in revised form, March 12, 1998)
    Eleonora Candi‡, Gerry Melino§, Armin Lahm¶, Roberta Ceci‡§, Antonello Rossi‡§, In Gyu Kimi,
    Barbara Ciani§, and Peter M. Steinert‡**
    From the ‡Laboratory of Skin Biology, NIAMS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, §Istituto Dermopatico Dell’Immacolata, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, and Biochemistry Laboratory, University of Rome Tor Vergata, and University of L’Aquila, Rome, 00133 Italy, the ¶Department of Biological and Chemical Computation, Istituto di Ricerche di Biologica Molecolare P. Angeletti, Pomezia, 00040 Italy,
    and the iDepartment of Biochemistry, Seoul National University, Seoul 449-900, Korea.

    https://www.jbc.org/action/showPdf?pii=S0021-9258%2819%2957812-7

    PMID: 9593710 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.273.22.13693

    Figure 1B. Much more similar than expected.

    Figure 1A. Much more similar than expected.

    Figure 1C. Much more similar than expected.

    Like

  11. Oncogene. 2001 Jul 19;20(32):4305-16. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1204575.

    The adenine nucleotide translocator: a target of nitric oxide, peroxynitrite, and 4-hydroxynonenal

    H L Vieira 1, A S Belzacq, D Haouzi, F Bernassola, I Cohen, E Jacotot, K F Ferri, C El Hamel, L M Bartle, G Melino, C Brenner, V Goldmacher, G Kroemer

    Affiliation
    1Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR1599, Institut Gustave Roussy, 39 rue Camille-Desmoulins, F-94805 Villejuif, France.
    PMID: 11466611 DOI: 10.1038/sj.onc.1204575

    Figure 5. Much more similar than expected.

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  12. J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 18;280(7):5945-59. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M406661200. Epub 2004 Nov 29.
    E1A activates transcription of p73 and Noxa to induce apoptosis
    Marcella Flinterman 1, Lars Guelen, Samira Ezzati-Nik, Richard Killick, Gerry Melino, Kazuya Tominaga, Joe S Mymryk, Joop Gäken, Mahvash Tavassoli

    Affiliation
    1Head and Neck Oncology Group, Guy’s King’s & St. Thomas’s School of Dentistry, King’s College London, SE5 9NU, UK.
    PMID: 15572378 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M406661200

    Figure 7A. Much more similar than expected.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/74B7CCB892732E0EFE878C3FF364EC#3

    Like

  13. J Biol Chem. 2001 Sep 14;276(37):35014-23. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M010157200. Epub 2001 Jul 6.
    Transglutaminase 5 cross-links loricrin, involucrin, and small proline-rich proteins in vitro
    E Candi 1, S Oddi, A Terrinoni, A Paradisi, M Ranalli, A Finazzi-Agró, G Melino

    Affiliation
    1Biochemistry Laboratory, Istituto Dermopatico dell’ Immacolata-Istituto di Ricerca e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.
    PMID: 11443109 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M010157200

    Figure 4B. Much more similar than expected. Pay attention to the dark specks in the background.

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  14. Pingback: The Cigarette Mob of Palermo – For Better Science

  15. CDD still asleep at the wheel.

    Like

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