Schneider Shorts

Schneider Shorts 22.04.2022 – Whither David Bimler?

Schneider Shorts 22.04.2022 - genocide lectures in Russian universities, nanotechnology cheater exposed by lab member, JBC gets a new research integrity expert, pre-pandemic coronavirus research records to be destroyed, yoghurt and turmeric for COVID-19, progress in autism and cancer research, and who, pray, is David Bimler?

Schneider Shorts of 22 April 2022 – genocide lectures in Russian universities, nanotechnology cheater exposed by lab member, JBC gets a new research integrity expert, pre-pandemic coronavirus research records to be destroyed, yoghurt and turmeric for COVID-19, progress in autism and cancer research, and who, pray, is David Bimler?


Table of Discontent

Russia’s War on Ukraine

Scholarly Publishing

Science Elites

Science Breakthroughs

COVID-19

News in Tweets


Russia’s War on Ukraine

Your unpolitical peers

Science is not political! It is wrong to boycott Russian scientists because none of them would ever support a genocidal war, scientists never do that, surely they all are against Putin and his war! That is at least what western academics don’t tire repeating.

Meanwhile, Russian universities busy themselves with dissident purges and warmongering propaganda. University leaderships united to support the war and to celebrate their Führer Putin. Everyone suspected of not approving the genocide in Ukraine gets kicked out. The rest is tasked with indoctrinating students on why Ukrainians must be killed. Russian dissident news source Meduza (exiled to Latvia) reports (translated):

“On March 4, the Rectors’ Union issued an appeal to support “our country, our army, which is defending our security, to support our president, who made, perhaps, the most difficult decision in his life, a hard-won, but necessary decision” – however, the text does not specify which one. The union includes the rectors of all major universities in all federal districts of Russia, its chairman is the rector of Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy. The appeal is signed by more than 260 heads of universities (in total, there are about 700 rectors in the union). 

Around the same time, universities received an appeal from the Ministry of Education to the heads of universities with a proposal to give students lectures on the “fight against fakes” and lectures on the history of Russia.”

Students of Russian universities are basically made to study Führer’s speeches and are otherwise instructed that all Ukrainians are Nazis who conspired against Russia and must be annihilated:

““The Banderovtsi have not gone anywhere. A third generation [of Nazis] was raised. They, all these Nazis, left for Argentina, Canada, the USA and now they have returning and are off the leash. How this whole thing will end – we can imagine. We are lucky that we have “Kinzhals” and other high-precision weapons,” Natalya Ivanova, PhD of biological sciences and teacher of ecology, told the students of the YaGPU [Ushinsky Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University -LS] (a recording of the lecture is available to Meduza and 7 × 7). According to students, the topic of Ivanova’s lecture that day was to be geobotany.

And in the schedule of lectures at the Volga State Technological University (Volgatekh) in Yoshkar-Ola, the subject “Historical Justice and the Role of Russia” appeared. […]

In addition to Yaroslavl and Yoshkar-Ola, classes on fakes and history were also held in the Moscow region, Moscow, St. Petersburg (mainly in pedagogical universities) and regional universities: Armavir Pedagogical University , Kurgan , Saratov and others.

On the official anniversary of the annexation of Crimea to Russia, the Kirov authorities organized two actions with the participation of students – “Crimean Bridge” and “Crimean Spring” on March 16 and 18, respectively. According to students of the Vyatka State Agrotechnical University and the Kirov branch of the RANEPA, on March 16, students lined up in a human chain with flags in support of the invasion of Ukraine.”

So next time you, in your capacity as editor or peer reviewer, receive a paper from Russia: be aware that its authors were ideologically vetted. These academic peers you keep defending as unpolitical most likely openly support a genocide during office hours, at best they just don’t care. Some will be soon sending their students off to kill, torture and rape in Ukraine.

Science is always political.


Scholarly Publishing

Whither David Bimler

You all heard of those fictional pseudo-western co-authors whom the Chinese fraudsters invent to make their plagiarised papermill fraud more appealing to white American and European editors of western journals. Well, how about that: there is a preprint on Chinese papermills which builds on the works by Smut Clyde, and it is authored by someone with a ridiculous, obviously made-up joke name David Bimler!

A Google search delivers only this old photo of some cat fetishist weirdo named “Herr Doktor David Bimler“, who prides himself “for his achievement in successfully brewing wormwood beer” and who shows no obvious connection to serious science, like a title of professor or institute director. Hence, who is the real author of this preprint, one wonders?

David Bimler, Better Living through Coordination Chemistry: A descriptive study of a prolific papermill that combines crystallography and medicine Research Square (2022) doi: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-1537438

This is the abstract:

“The organised, production-line creation of fake papers by “papermills”, injecting fabricated results into the scientific literature, has become a problem in many domains of biomedical research. Here we propose that at least 800 publications in crystallography and exotic-chemistry journals, from the period 2015-2022, are also the work of a prolific papermill specialising in imaginary Metal-Organic Frameworks and their wholly invented therapeutic applications. The mill is characterised by recycled images, and by oddities of wording in Methods sections, but its most obvious hallmarks appear in Reference sections, with citations to irrelevant research from remote fields of science. One purpose of these irregularities is presumably to manipulate the researchers’ performance indicators. We argue that a paper’s References deserve closer scrutiny from journal editors and publishers than they routinely receive.”

The preprint obviously builds upon and references this article by Smut Clyde on For Better Science:

The preprint, we are informed by Research Square, is currently under peer review at the BMC journal Research Integrity and Peer Review. To confuse things further, the corresponding author’s email address provided with the preprint goes: smut.clyde@gmail.com!


New Expert at JBC

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), which publishes the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), and once celebrated for their zero tolerance stance of research fraud and mass-retractions of fraudulent papers, continues its reform process towards an Elsevier trash-bin. Everyone at ASBMB editorial office who cared for research integrity has been pushed out by now, their replacements are really something.

And now we learn that “ASBMB publications department welcomed two new data integrity team members earlier this year“, one of them is:

“Elena Gaidamakova became the society’s data integrity manager in January. She has a Ph.D. in biology from the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She spent two decades as a researcher at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and before that was at the National Institutes of Health.”

I hope it will not be taken as russophobic attack by a Ukrainian Nazi, but I asked Dr Gaidamakova for her expert opinion on these two papers:

Manoshi Gayen , Paridhi Gupta, Elaine M. Morazzani , Elena K. Gaidamakova , Barbara Knollmann-Ritschel , Michael J. Daly, Pamela J. Glass , Radha K. Maheshwari Deinococcus Mn2+-peptide complex: A novel approach to alphavirus vaccine development Vaccine (2017) doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.05.016

Actinopolyspora biskrensis: “I’ve identified what appear to be replications in the images in Figure 1. Some are indicated with red and green boxes. Orange arrows indicate on image that appears similar but rotated.
I did not mark other similar issues I see in Figure 1, nor did I look elsewhere in the paper.

This looks like research misconduct to me. The other paper contains a simple duplication, which still should be corrected. But Dr Gaidamakova didn’t reply.

Kira S. Makarova, Marina V. Omelchenko , Elena K. Gaidamakova , Vera Y. Matrosova , Alexander Vasilenko , Min Zhai , Alla Lapidus , Alex Copeland , Edwin Kim , Miriam Land , Konstantinos Mavromatis , Samuel Pitluck , Paul M. Richardson , Chris Detter , Thomas Brettin , Elizabeth Saunders , Barry Lai , Bruce Ravel , Kenneth M. Kemner , Yuri I. Wolf , Alexander Sorokin, Anna V. Gerasimova, Mikhail S. Gelfand, James K. Fredrickson, Eugene V. Koonin, Michael J. Daly Deinococcus geothermalis: the pool of extreme radiation resistance genes shrinks PLoS ONE (2007) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000955

“Fig 7B: Duplication”

In any case, great choice, ASBMB!


Science Elites

Webster’s spawn

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock and HHS-ORI are investigating a scientist for research misconduct after his student blew the whistle (and was kicked out as reward). Local news KATV reports:

“The first accusations are from PhD student, Matthew Kusper, who said he was asked to omit certain data as part of research to manipulate the outcome. […]

“That’s really when it started to derail because I was being asked to do things that were either hiding data or using samples that were inappropriate, as far as maybe they’re old samples or running data over and over again until it does what we wanted which is everything you don’t want to do with material science,” Kusper claimed.

He said his latest research paper is what prompted him to confront his advisor.

“One of the big things with material science that’s a huge issue – if you pick a topic and you start researching it – you start to see that there is contradicting information out there and it’s because of research like I was being asked to do,” said Kusper. “Where you’re just trying to make it look good enough to be published instead of being good enough to be referenced.”

After confronting his advisor, he said they severed ties. Feeling like he wasted the last four years of his life, he filed complaints but didn’t expect what would come next.

“Really the dean of students was my tipping point because I felt like his title should be changed to the dean of faculty because he was trying to protect the faculty and they kept pushing me towards trying to let my advisor publish my work,” said Kusper.

Unwilling to sweep it under the rug, Kusper’s attorney explained he was essentially dismissed from campus.”

A Twitter user deducted that the accused PI must be the nanotechnologist Grégory Guisbiers:

The PI is not named but from the student’s publication record it appears to be Grégory Guisbiers: https://pubpeer.com/search?q=Guisbiers. Notable, and not in a good way, that Guisbiers has a number of papers with Thomas J Webster (resigned from Northeastern), who has quite resume at PubPeer.

Well, Thomas Webster, what do you say to this. We did a great job exposing that fraudster and getting him fired despite all that staunch support by his university in the past.

And here is what Guisbiers and Webster published together:

Luke D. Geoffrion, Tina Hesabizadeh, David Medina-Cruz, Matthew Kusper, Patrick Taylor, Ada Vernet-Crua, Junjiang Chen, Alessandro Ajo, Thomas J. Webster , Grégory Guisbiers Naked Selenium Nanoparticles for Antibacterial and Anticancer Treatments ACS Omega (2020) doi: 10.1021/acsomega.9b03172

Elisabeth M Bik: “Figure 5A appears to show some repetitive features.”

Guisbiers however insisted on PubPeer that this fake figure is OK because ACS liked it:

The repetitive features are selenium nanoparticles as mentioned in the article. The image has been analyzed again by the ACS Omega Editorial board and here is their answer (Email correspondence from November 2020 between Dr. Gregory Guisbiers and Dr. Deqing Zhang/Editor in Chief of ACS Omega):
“Dear Dr. Gregory Guisbiers,

Thank you very much for the message. I asked my colleague who knows the AFM characterization technique very well to examine the inset of Figure 5a and he told me the your description and explanation of AFM images are acceptable.

With best regards,

Deqing Zhang”!

When I asked him about that paper and whether he is indeed under misconduct investigation, Guisbiers didn’t reply.


Science Breakthroughs

Autism gene found!

Scientists finally solved autism: after many decades of finding the gene for autism they finally found the correct one and not just that: they even created autistic mini-brains in the lab.

The Daily Beast reports:

“In a new study reported in the journal Cell Reports on April 5, researchers in Austria took clumps of brain cells containing a mutated CHD8 gene—considered a strong genetic risk factor for autism, among countless others—and were able to glimpse how the gene affects early brain development.”

This is the paper by Italian scientists, some based in Austria:

Carlo Emanuele Villa , Cristina Cheroni , Christoph P. Dotter , Alejandro López-Tóbon , Bárbara Oliveira , Roberto Sacco , Aysan Çerağ Yahya , Jasmin Morandell , Michele Gabriele , Mojtaba R. Tavakoli , Julia Lyudchik , Christoph Sommer , Mariano Gabitto , Johann G. Danzl , Giuseppe Testa , Gaia Novarino CHD8 haploinsufficiency links autism to transient alterations in excitatory and inhibitory trajectories Cell Reports (2022) doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110615

The scientists’ problem with their pet autism gene CDH8 was that the knock-out mice showed no macrocephaly they wanted to see in order to connect the gene to autism. A solution was found, as Daily Beast writes:

“Going down the brain-in-a-petri-dish route, Novarino and her team took commercially available human stem cells and genetically altered one group to have the CHD8 mutation, leaving the other untouched. These two groups of stem cells were then coaxed to grow into functionally basic tissues containing neurons usually found in the brain.

“We could see by eye that the [CHD8 mutated] organoids were bigger,” said Novarino, a finding in line with earlier research. But her team also noticed something else: The types of neurons that grew came in at different times when comparing the CHD8-mutated mini-brain with its non-mutated counterpart.”

It is a truly impressive leap of faith from this finding with neurospheres in a dish to clinical macrocephaly and autism. Especially since there wasn’t really any difference in the organoid size, see Panel G:

Dr Novarino announced to make more autistic minibrains with more autism genes soon, and she has a new ERC grant for just that. I suggest a collaboration with Alysson Muotri.


Sound cancer cure

A press release by University of Michigan:

“Noninvasive sound technology developed at the University of Michigan breaks down liver tumors in rats, kills cancer cells and spurs the immune system to prevent further spread—an advance that could lead to improved cancer outcomes in humans.

By destroying only 50% to 75% of liver tumor volume, the rats’ immune systems were able to clear away the rest, with no evidence of recurrence or metastases in more than 80% animals.

“Even if we don’t target the entire tumor, we can still cause the tumor to regress and also reduce the risk of future metastasis,” said Zhen Xu, professor of biomedical engineering at U-M and corresponding author of the study in Cancers.”

Just blast cancer with an ultrasonic gun and it disappears! The results were so convincing that they ended up at MDPI, “peer reviewed” in 10 days.

Tejaswi Worlikar, Man Zhang, Anutosh Ganguly, Timothy L. Hall, Jiaqi Shi, Lili Zhao, Fred T. Lee, Mishal Mendiratta-Lala, Clifford S. Cho, and Zhen Xu. “Impact of Histotripsy on Development of Intrahepatic Metastases in a Rodent Liver Tumor Model” Cancers (2022) doi: 10.3390/cancers14071612

The press release explains the technology:

“”Our transducer, designed and built at U-M, delivers high amplitude microsecond-length ultrasound pulses—acoustic cavitation—to focus on the tumor specifically to break it up,” Xu said. “Traditional ultrasound devices use lower amplitude pulses for imaging.”

The microsecond long pulses from UM’s transducer generate microbubbles within the targeted tissues—bubbles that rapidly expand and collapse. These violent but extremely localized mechanical stresses kill cancer cells and break up the tumor’s structure.

Since 2001, Xu’s laboratory at U-M has pioneered the use of histotripsy in the fight against cancer, leading to the clinical trial #HOPE4LIVER sponsored by HistoSonics, a U-M spinoff company. More recently, the group’s research has produced promising results on histotripsy treatment of brain therapy and immunotherapy.”

The scheduled clinical trial NCT04573881 will recruit 45 liver cancer sufferers but be open label without a control arm, because reasons. In this regard, the MDPI paper mentions the authors’ conflicts of interests:

“Timothy L Hall: Histosonics, Inc: founder, stockholder, consultant; Clifford S Cho: Histosonics, Inc: research support. Co-national PI of a national multicenter clinical trial (NCT04573881) sponsored by HistoSonics, Inc; Fred Lee: Histosonics, Inc: Board of Directors, stockholder, research support; Medtronic Inc: patents, royalties; Ethicon, Inc: paid consultant, research support; Zhen Xu: Histosonics, Inc: founder, stockholder, consultant.”

The amazing success with rats is all well and nice, but maybe before starting with clinical trial they should also publish their clinical data on compassionate use from a year ago.


COVID-19

Nothing to see here

The simplest way to prove that there is no evidence for COVID-19 lab leak theory and for SARS-CoV2 having originated in a Wuhan virology lab, is to destroy all that evidence. How about this as a conspiracy theory?

Yet this is what is apparently happening, or rather already happened. US Right to Know found out:

“The Wuhan Institute of Virology has the right to ask a partnering lab in the U.S. to destroy all records of their work, according to a legal document obtained by U.S. Right to Know. 

A memorandum of understanding between the Wuhan lab and the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch states that each lab can ask the other to return or “destroy” any so-called “secret files” — any communications, documents, data or equipment resulting from their collaboration — and ask that they wipe any copies. 

“The party is entitled to ask the other to destroy and/or return the secret files, materials and equipment without any backups,” it states. 

This right is retained even after the agreement’s five year term ends in October 2022. All documents are eligible for destruction under the agreement’s broad language.

“All cooperation … shall be treated as confidential information by the parties,” the agreement states.”

Admit that this purge is clever. The Chinese already took offline and buried their Wuhan Institute of Virology database of coronaviruses, now the clean-up will take place at the US side. Our scientific elites like Kristian Andersen and Angela Rasmussen openly applaud the destruction of scientific evidence and everyone who disapproves is accused of being a conspiracy theorist.


News in Tweets

  • Apparently, the chloroquine guru Didier Raoult found another treatment for COVID-19. It’s turmeric (and its active ingredient curcumin), and indeed PubMed is full of fraudulent quackery from India and China proving its efficacy, in fact I know also a German scientist extolling curcuma’s virtues as COVID-19 cure.
  • Meanwhile, in Greece. Some very unsavoury character, Nicolas Laos, found the only acceptable vaccine for COVID-19, and it’s yoghurt.
  • My colleagues found another Italian mega-cheater: the University of Messina professor Francesco Squadrito, with currently almost 30 very fake papers on PubPeer. Here a sample:
  • Don Rockey‘s mighty moustache wards off even the most intrepid misconduct investigators (read about his fake science in this issue of Shorts).
  • The research misconduct investigation of the Cassava Sciences data forger Hoau-Yan Wang ended in October 2021. But its outcome remains secret, probably because Cassava deployed lawyers against the City University of New York (CUNY).
  • A record speed retraction, courtesy of Cheshire!
  • How to publish a manuscript:

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5 comments on “Schneider Shorts 22.04.2022 – Whither David Bimler?

  1. The appeal is signed by more than 260 heads of universities (in total, there are about 700 rectors in the union).

    I’m not good at math, but 700 – 260 = 440 heads to roll?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The others will join soon enough. In Russia, an order is an order.
      Actually, they already did. Every society issuing such a statement acts on behalf of all members. The signatories are the organisers, the others are considered as supporting.
      Here is the translated statement:
      Address of the Russian Union of Rectors
      03/04/2022

      Dear colleagues!

      Before our eyes, events are taking place that excite every citizen of Russia. This is Russia’s decision to finally end the eight-year confrontation between Ukraine and Donbass, achieve the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, and thereby protect itself from growing military threats.

      We, the Rector’s Corps of the Russian Federation, have been developing and strengthening Russian-Ukrainian scientific and educational ties for many decades, treating each other with care. Our joint research has made a huge contribution to world science, so the long-term tragedy in the Donbass resonates with particular pain and bitterness in our hearts.

      It is very important these days to support our country, our army, which defends our security, to support our President, who, perhaps, made the most difficult, hard-won but necessary decision in his life.

      It is important not to forget about our main duty – to conduct a continuous educational process, to instill patriotism in young people, the desire to help the Motherland.

      Universities have always been the backbone of the state. Our priority goal is to serve Russia and develop its intellectual potential. Now more than ever, we must demonstrate confidence and resilience in the face of economic and information attacks, effectively rally around our President, by our example strengthening the optimistic spirit and faith in the power of reason among young people, instilling hope for an early peace.

      Together we are a great force!”

      See, even these warmongering rectors talk about scientific collaboration. They want their Ukrainian peers to be “treated with care”, presumably while they are bombed, raped and shot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am more-or-less confident that at least two (current) rectors won’t sign this abomination of a letter. Of course, no one guarantees that they will remain rectors in any near future.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. It is interesting to note that the University of Texas BSL-4 in the USA (Galveston, TX) is directed by a Canadian with Chinese collaboration links at Laval University (Canada). After the firing of a Chinese scientist (Qu) working on Ebola at BSL-4 in Canada, Kobinger moved to the USA to direct the National Lab. Why a Canadian for USA national BSL-4 lab? No qualified American to lead a special pathogens unit?
    https://www.macleans.ca/longforms/winnipeg-virus-lab-scientist/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Why does someone as famous as Eugen Koonin go to a Raoult seminar? https://youtube.com/watch?v=6XcJvthjWZM

    Seriously, why?

    Liked by 1 person

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