Research integrity University Affairs

The Strasbourg Swamp

You know Voinnet, but now meet other great life scientists of Strasbourg: Drouard, Loeffler, Boutillier, Mr and Mrs Egly, and many others.

University of Strasbourg. The half-a-millennium-old German-founded alma mater of French science and learning. Where the great plant science cheater Olivier Voinnet did his magic at the CNRS’ Institut de biologie moléculaire des plantes (IBMP) before he got stranded as professor at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. I wrote a lot about Voinnet, and I wrote a lot about his cheating colleagues at IBMP, including its director Laurence Drouard. But it seems, everything at the University of Strasbourg is rotten, not just plant science.

Olivier Voinnet, the new Dreyfus?

Much of French media and academia, and certainly also the international plant science community now debates a hot conspiracy theory: what if Olivier Voinnet is actually innocent, a visionary genius who fell prey to a conspiracy of fraudulent colleagues and scheming bureaucrats? I discuss here the widespread dishonesty and data manipulation among Voinnet’s co-authors and…

The travelling circus of research integrity in Strasbourg

On March 8, an international scientific review board will be evaluating the research at the French CNRS Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes (IBMP) in Strasbourg. This is the place where the former star (and now misconduct-tainted pariah) of plant sciences Olivier Voinnet shot to fame, where his main lab operated since 2002 until he was…

Strasbourg is so parochial that professorships are inherited there along the academic bloodline based on garbage science. IBMP provides a good example. The research director Marie-Edith Chabouté inherited her position from her retired mentor Anne-Catherine Schmitt, for Chaboute’s qualifications see this example of their joint paper:

Natacha Janski , Kinda Masoud , Morgane Batzenschlager , Etienne Herzog, Jean-Luc Evrard, Guy Houlné, Mickael Bourge, Marie-Edith Chabouté, Anne-Catherine Schmitt The GCP3-interacting proteins GIP1 and GIP2 are required for γ-tubulin complex protein localization, spindle integrity, and chromosomal stability The Plant Cell (2012) doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.094904

Figure2A bottom panel is made of several (5) copies of the same background, plus has multiple undisclosed splicing sites.”
Helianthus grandiflorus: “In figure 2B, two images used to describe different conditions partially overlap.”
Helianthus grandiflorus: “In supplementary figure S2, the same image is used for two different controls.”
Alternaria brassicicola: “One panel of figure 2B is reused in for a different experiment.

The co-author Jean-Luc Evrard used to be vice-director of IBMP and he also used to send me nasty messages to discourage me from reporting on the fraud at IBMP. As it happens, Chaboute’s PhD student Alexandre Berr is currently IBMP’s uncommunciative PR person and a designated heir to his mentor’s lab once she retires. Chaboute managed to avoid any journal action on the above Plant Cell paper, fixed another fraudulent study at Frontiers (Batzenschlager et al 2013) with a correction, but another paper got retracted. It was just way too fake:

Laetitia Paganelli , Marie‐Cécile Caillaud , Michaël Quentin , Isabelle Damiani , Benjamin Govetto , Philippe Lecomte , Pavel A. Karpov , Pierre Abad , Marie‐Edith Chabouté , Bruno Favery Three BUB 1 and BUBR 1/ MAD 3‐related spindle assembly checkpoint proteins are required for accurate mitosis in Arabidopsis The New phytologist (2015)doi: 10.1111/nph.13073

Although, to be fair, the fraud was likely committed in Bruno Flavery‘s lab at the University of Côté d’Azur, as the retraction notice mentioned:

“…it has been brought to our attention that errors occurred in the construction of Figs 1 and 2(a); some components were inappropriately edited and duplicated, including the duplication and editing of images that first appeared in Caillaud et al. (2009), which were used by the authors as a basic template.”

So before you run off to the sunny Mediterranean coast and start discussing the fraud in Marseille even, we return to Strasbourg.

Of course also spouses and other relatives get provided for. Meet Monsieur and Madame Egly of the University of Strasbourg, both cancer researchers at the CNRS-INSERM Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC) who have lovely PubPeer records: 15 papers for the Cécile Rochette-Egly, and only 6 (but quality) entries for Jean-Marc Egly. Here an example for the Madame:

Martin Bommer , Arndt Benecke , Hinrich Gronemeyer, Cécile Rochette-Egly TIF2 mediates the synergy between RARalpha 1 activation functions AF-1 and AF-2 The Journal of biological chemistry (2002) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m206001200

The above JBC paper was with Germans, this one with Italians, but just as rigged:

Maurizio Gianní , Anne Tarrade , Elisa Agnese Nigro , Enrico Garattini , Cécile Rochette-Egly The AF-1 and AF-2 domains of RAR gamma 2 and RXR alpha cooperate for triggering the transactivation and the degradation of RAR gamma 2/RXR alpha heterodimers The Journal of biological chemistry (2003) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m304952200 

This one isn’t trustworthy either:

Maurizio Giannì , Annie Bauer , Enrico Garattini, Pierre Chambon , Cécile Rochette-Egly Phosphorylation by p38MAPK and recruitment of SUG-1 are required for RA-induced RAR gamma degradation and transactivation The EMBO Journal (2002) doi: 10.1093/emboj/cdf374

Madame Egly mumbled something nonsensical on PubPeer about “did not reimmunoblotted“, and added:

Anyhow it does not change the message of the paper and we observed so many times the degradation of RARg in response to RA and its reversal with MG132.

The husband, who is known in Strasbourg for a somewhat violent personality, showed himself however very polite by commenting on PubPeer about this paper:

Emmanuel Compe , Pascal Drané , Camille Laurent , Karin Diderich , Cathy Braun , Jan H. J. Hoeijmakers, Jean-Marc Egly Dysregulation of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor target genes by XPD mutations Molecular and Cellular Biology (2005) doi: 10.1128/mcb.25.14.6065-6076.2005 

Monsieur Egly posted some freshly cooked data and informed everyone:

We have full confidence in the findings and conclusions of the paper. However, in the interest of maintaining accuracy in the published scientific literature, we wish to contact the editorial in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

He did same on other PubPeer threads. Of course, no corrections were issued, for neither of Eglys (except once in 2017, for Cassinat et al 2011). In Strasbourg, nobody cares anyway.

Opher Busso , Didier Keriel , Björn Sandrock , Björn Poterszman , Opher Gileadi , Jean-Marc Egly Distinct regions of MAT1 regulate cdk7 kinase and TFIIH transcription activities The Journal of biological chemistry (2000) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m002578200
John Bradsher , Jerome Auriol , Luca Proietti Proietti De Santis , Sebastian Iben , Jean Luc Vonesch , Ingrid Grummt , Jean Marc Egly CSB is a component of RNA pol I transcription Molecular Cell (2002) doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(02)00678-0

As it happens, Monsieur Egly collaborated with the Greek fraudster Maria Fousteri, and together with her very influential former mentor Jesper Svejstrup he made sure their common paper (Anindya et al Molecular Cell 2010) was not retracted despite requests from the investigating Dutch university.

Fousteri affair: Dutch integrity thwarted by academic indecency

Two and a half years after Maria Fousteri was found guilty of scientific misconduct by her former employer, the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), exactly nothing at all happened. ERC and Molecular Cell ignored LUMC letters from June 2016, while Fouster’s British co-authors interfered to save own papers. Of 4 scheduled retractions, none took place.

Now, meet Jean-Philippe Loeffler, neuroscience professor at the University of Strasbourg and research director at the U692 INSERM institute. Like Egly, Loeffler graduated in Strasbourg and only once temporarily left the university for a postdoc abroad. Loeffler does research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and gives hope to many suffering patients. Apparently, this incurable degenerative disease can be easily treated, just like cancer: with Photoshop!

For example, this PNAS paper was flagged on PubPeer in autumn 2018. It was editorially handled by the above-mentioned Strasbourg professor Pierre Chambon, because back then PNAS didn’t believe in conflicts of interests.

Luc Dupuis, Hugues Oudart , Frédérique Rene , Jose-Luis Gonzalez De Aguilar , Jean-Philippe Loeffler Evidence for defective energy homeostasis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: benefit of a high-energy diet in a transgenic mouse model Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2004) doi: 10.1073/pnas.0402026101 

Paracephaleus brunneus: “In figure 3F, the same strip was used twice.”

Luc Dupuis, by now a group leader at the INSERM U1118 institute at the University of Strasbourg, commented in November 2018:

As the first author of this manuscript, I thank you for this comment, and would like to clarify that the statement that these two images are identical is simply wrong.

To prove his point Depuis posted enlargements of published figures (extremely low-resolution, and even that unconvincingly), because he wasn’t inclined to share the original data:

Lab-notebooks from 2002 were traced back, and luckily conserved. Original data were retrieved and are available upon (non anonymous) request to any interested scientist.

OK then. I asked Depuis for the raw data. He just didn’t reply.

Because of course the figures in this paper are manipulated. There was more:

Leucanella acutissima: “There is another apparent duplication between the 18S bands in Fig 4C and the G3PDH bands in Fig 3F.”
Leucanella acutissima: “In the perlipin panel of Figure 3B, lanes 4 and 6 have notable similarities in both band features and background spots below. Also relevant are possible discontinuities flanking lane 4.”
Hoya camphorifolia: “Figure 3F, left-hand side, AChR-alpha band; as is, and with contrast enhanced.”
Hoya camphorifolia: “Figure 4C: the horizontal discontinuities around lanes 3-6 in the NogoC band (i.e. the wild-type / HFD condition).”

Dupuis went quiet. He also didn’t comment on this paper:

Luc Dupuis , Franck Di Scala , Frédérique Rene, Marc De Tapia , Hugues Oudart , Pierre-François Pradat , Vincent Meininger , Jean-Philippe Loeffler Up‐regulation of mitochondrial uncoupling protein 3 reveals an early muscular metabolic defect in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis The FASEB Journal (2003) doi: 10.1096/fj.02-1182fje 

Neither Loeffler nor Dupuis replied to emails. Silence on PubPeer also:

Franck Di Scala , Luc Dupuis , Christian Gaiddon , Marc De Tapia , Natasa Jokic , Jose-Luis Gonzalez De Aguilar , Jean-Sébastien Raul , Bertrand Ludes , Jean-Philippe Loeffler Tissue specificity and regulation of the N-terminal diversity of reticulon 3 The Biochemical journal (2005) doi: 10.1042/bj20040458

I did exchange some emails with Loeffler’s PhD student Violaine Sée (now professor at the University of Lyon), who promised to investigate. The situation is serious:

Violaine Sée , Jean-Philippe Loeffler Oxidative stress induces neuronal death by recruiting a protease and phosphatase-gated mechanism The Journal of biological chemistry (2001) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m104988200 

Another paper, in the same once very ethically-minded journal JBC, again from Loeffler lab:

Corinne Mbebi , Violaine Sée , Luc Mercken , Laurent Pradier , Ulrike Müller , Jean-Philippe Loeffler Amyloid precursor protein family-induced neuronal death is mediated by impairment of the neuroprotective calcium/calmodulin protein kinase IV-dependent signaling pathway The Journal of biological chemistry (2002) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m107948200 

Loeffler also collaborated with other interesting Strasbourg researchers: the neuroscience professor Jean-Christophe Cassel, and his former PhD student, current lab co-director (and likely his partner), Anne-Laurence Boutillier. This couple also didn’t reply to my email when I asked for a comment about their joint papers on PubPeer. Here one with Loeffler, the digital gel lane splicing makes the whole figure unreliable:

Olivier Bousiges , Romain Neidl , Monique Majchrzak , Marc-Antoine Muller , Alexandra Barbelivien , Anne Pereira De Vasconcelos , Anne Schneider , Jean-Philippe Loeffler , Jean-Christophe Cassel , Anne-Laurence Boutillier Detection of histone acetylation levels in the dorsal hippocampus reveals early tagging on specific residues of H2B and H4 histones in response to learning PLoS ONE (2013) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057816 

Here we have See again as co-author, and it seems AL Boutillier brought her sister Stephanie with her.

Irina Panteleeva , Stéphanie Boutillier , Violaine See, Dave G Spiller, Caroline Rouaux, Geneviève Almouzni, Delphine Bailly, Christèle Maison, Helen C Lai , Jean-Philippe Loeffler , Anne-Laurence Boutillier HP1alpha guides neuronal fate by timing E2F-targeted genes silencing during terminal differentiation The EMBO Journal (2007) doi: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7601789 

Another one, similar set of authors:

Irina Panteleeva , Caroline Rouaux , Yves Larmet , Stéphanie Boutillier , Jean-Philippe Loeffler , Anne-Laurence Boutillier HDAC-3 Participates in the Repression ofe2f-Dependent Gene Transcription in Primary Differentiated Neurons Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2004) doi: 10.1196/annals.1329.076 

Or this:

Emmanuelle Trinh , Anne-Laurence Boutillier , Jean-Philippe Loeffler Regulation of the retinoblastoma-dependent Mdm2 and E2F-1 signaling pathways during neuronal apoptosis Molecular and cellular neurosciences (2001) doi: 10.1006/mcne.2000.0928 

Much of the evidence you saw was originally posted on PubPeer by the pseudonymous sleuth Clare Francis. It seems they stumbled over Loeffler in 2015 when looking at the papers of a certain cheating US scientist, Carol Prives, professor at the Columbia University. Prives in turn collaborated with the Spanish zombie scientist Susana Gonzalez, another one of Clare Francis’ “customers”:

Carol Prives, innocent victim of Susana Gonzalez’ data manipulations?

Recent news brought us yet another retraction of the Spanish zombie scientist Susana Gonzalez, formerly famous for her impactful ERC-funded research into stem cells and ageing. It is her fifth retraction (others here), and meanwhile Gonzalez is not even a zombie scientist anymore. She has no research group in her new Madrid institute, noone in…

As it happens, Prives is the ex-wife of the US scientist Joav Prives, who in turn then betrothed Dafna Bar-Sagi, who in turn recently almost got a new job for the sacked sexual predator and mTOR cheater David Sabatini. Science is a village, and the crooks and their enablers form their own little sub-villages there.

The Sex Privileges of mTORman David Sabatini

“The Plaintiff is Professor Sabatini […] the self-described powerful senior scientist, who had demanded sex of her when she was a graduate student ending her studies and about to start a fellowship at the Whitehead, in a program Sabatini would direct. […] And it is the man who had made it clear – throughout her…

Anyway, here is Prives’ paper with Loeffler and their fudged figure. The first author is Prives’ former postdoc and now professor in Strasbourg: Christian Gaiddon. He has a PubPeer record while promising to cure cancer (“From the molecule to the patient“).

Christian Gaiddon, Maria Lokshin , Isabelle Gross , Danielle Levasseur , Yoichi Taya , Jean-Philippe Loeffler , Carol Prives Cyclin-dependent kinases phosphorylate p73 at threonine 86 in a cell cycle-dependent manner and negatively regulate p73 The Journal of biological chemistry (2003) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m300251200

From Prives, Clare Francis diversified not only to Loeffler, but to Isabelle Gross, another INSERM researcher in Strasbourg who graduated under the Strasbourg professor Jean-Noël Freund. With science like this, also Gaiddon is involved:

Isabelle Gross, Benoit Lhermitte Claire Domon-Dell, Isabelle Duluc , Elisabeth Martin , Christian Gaiddon, Michele Kedinger , Jean-Noël Freund Phosphorylation of the homeotic tumor suppressor Cdx2 mediates its ubiquitin-dependent proteasome degradation Oncogene (2005) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208945 

There is more Gross stuff on PubPeer. Here for example, a paper by Gaiddon, Gross and Loeffler:

Samir Benosman , Xiangjun Meng , Yannick Von Grabowiecki , Lavinia Palamiuc , Lucian Hritcu , Isabelle Gross , Georg Mellitzer , Yoichi Taya , Jean-Philippe Loeffler , Christian Gaiddon Complex regulation of p73 isoforms after alteration of amyloid precursor polypeptide (APP) function and DNA damage in neurons The Journal of biological chemistry (2011) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m111.261271

Here another one:

S Benosman , I Gross , N Clarke , A G Jochemsen , K Okamoto , J-P Loeffler , C Gaiddon Multiple neurotoxic stresses converge on MDMX proteolysis to cause neuronal apoptosis Cell Death & Differentiation (2007) doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4402216

None of these Loeffler papers is being retracted or even corrected. This is because the networks are working and because the University of Strasbourg protects fraud. Money doesn’t stink. They didn’t even care that Loeffler went to a predatory OMICS conference some years ago.

Image sources: OT Strasbourg, Unistra & social media (by pictured scientists)

All that’s asked of the cheaters is to be more careful with their newer papers, i.e. not to get caught on duplicated pictures anymore, and even with such simple task these people occasionally fail. Here, by Mme Egly:

Maurizio Gianni , Mineko Terao , Mami Kurosaki , Gabriela Paroni , Laura Brunelli , Roberta Pastorelli , Adriana Zanetti , Monica Lupi , Andrea Acquavita , Marco Bolis , Maddalena Fratelli , Cecile Rochette-Egly , Enrico Garattini S100A3 a partner protein regulating the stability/activity of RARα and PML-RARα in cellular models of breast/lung cancer and acute myeloid leukemia Oncogene (2019) doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0599-z  

To round up the Strasbourg experience, here a story about Voinnet’s former boss, the IBMP director Laurence Maréchal-Drouard. You may have read it before in Shorts.

She has 18 of problematic papers on PubPeer, even occasional PhD dissertations under her supervision contain manipulated data. Especially the thesis of Thalia Salinas, who not only made it to the position of tenured IBMP researcher, but also as wife of the current adjunct director of IBMP, Philippe Giegé, who will soon succeed Drouard as the new IBMP director. Which is just as good, because Drouard is definitely not happy about her duty of teaching all IBMP PhD students research integrity in special courses (yep, she has to do that).

The stinking fish of Strasbourg

A 2014 publication from the lab of Laurence Maréchal-Drouard, director of CNRS IBMP institute in Strasbourg, seems to contain evidence of inappropriate data manipulation. Other versions of this problematic figure appear in 2 PhD dissertations supervised by Drouard

Call to research integrity, or at least a minor revolution at CNRS

When I first started digging into the affair of data manipulations around the former star of plant sciences Olivier Voinnet in early 2015, I was sure to be dealing with a singular case of fraud in French science, which went totally unnoticed for decades. When 2 years later I wrote “a fish stinks from the head down” in my…

When in 2018 CNRS set up a central research integrity office in the wake of the affairs of Voinnet, former CNRS chief biologist Catherine Jessus and former CNRS president Anne Peyroche, I used the opportunity to report Drouard for suspect research misconduct. The head of the new CNRS research integrity office, the physicist Rémy Mosseri, accepted my dossier and opened an investigation.

That was my report on the Drouard case:

Here an example:

Thalia Salinas, Cécile Schaeffer , Laurence Maréchal-Drouard, Anne-Marie Duchêne Sequence dependence of tRNA(Gly) import into tobacco mitochondria Biochimie (2005) doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2005.04.004 

Mosseri wrote his own report, and in January 2020 he submitted it to the CNRS President Antoine Petit (the one who planned to deploy secret service technology to find out the identities of the “assholes” commenting on PubPeer).

Jessus investigator identity leaked, CNRS President to expose whistleblowers

An update to the ongoing cartoon Stalinism propaganda and purge activities at the EU largest research institution, the French CNRS, in the wake of the affair around manipulated data of CNRS chief biologist Catherine Jessus, according to their press release an innocent “victim” of my “slanderous” and “unscientific” blogging.  First of all, a reliable source…

In October 2020, Mosseri told me:

As you may now, I am not in charge of decisions (and their publicity) which can be taken once my report is sent to the CNRS president. So your question can only be addressed to him.”

Gosh, what punishment did Petit design for Drouard? Well, for starters, she got a new research grant in 2021.

And on 29 March 2022, on orders from CNRS President Petit personally, Drouard received a promotion from DR1 to DRCE (directeur de recherche de classe exceptionnelle), in the First Echelon no less. She is now officially France’s exceptional scientist, paid the highest salary. And all not despite but because her research papers are fake.

Now you probably think, well, what a rotten place Strasbourg is. I now must admit to have misinformed you. It’s not just Strasbourg which is problematic. It’s all of French academia. With the big cases like Didier Raoult in Marseille and Guido Kromer in Paris, the former French Minister for Research, Frédérique Vidal, and all the smaller cheaters all over the country, most of whom remain somehow protected one way or another. In the end, one cheating hand washes the other, as the Catherine Jessus affair proved.

Vive La France.

Note: some of the material was previously published on For Better Science.


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31 comments on “The Strasbourg Swamp

  1. “Martin Bommer , Arndt Benecke , Hinrich Gronemeyer, Cécile Rochette-Egly TIF2 mediates the synergy between RARalpha 1 activation functions AF-1 and AF-2 The Journal of biological chemistry (2002) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m206001200”

    Hinrich Gronemeyer also has 3 papers containing problematic data with Lucia Altucci:-

    Lucia Altucci’s own record.

    Often Italain papers slip in one or two people with germanic sounding names.
    That is no garantee of authentic data.


  2. France has just come up with this.

    “The main objective of this project is to explore the conditions at which institutional action and discourse on research integrity can improve research practices, to anticipate their impact on ordinary research practices and organization of research, and to propose recommendations.”

    It sounds like an academic exercise, not a regulatory body.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. France is a halfway house between the corrupted scientific cultures of Italy and Spain,
    and most other cultures north of the Alps, with a dash of Stalinism in the
    management system thrown in for good measure.
    I am sure there are worse countries than Italy and Spain for scientific corruption,
    but they are so poor that they cannot even pretend that they are doing science.
    China and India spring to mind and evidenced by their cluttering up
    the pages of Pubpeer.


    • Poor? Have you checked the GDP of China and India compared to that of Italy and Spain? and how much of it is invested in R&D? Regardless, I see it in the other way around; the richer a country is, the more it invests in research, and the more fraud it is gonna generate.


      • GDP of Italy? Problem of confusing cost and worth if it’s science is anything to go on. Can you believe the economic numbers from China, a totalitarian state?

        To be blunt about it many of the people I mention problematic science to simply don’t believe anything form India, China, Italy or Spain, perhaps add South Korea to that list. I don’t think that is prejudice, but the evidence of what spews out on the pages of Pubpeer. Japan and the Netherlands are mostly high quality. Fraudsters do appear in Japan, for example Kato, but once the system realises what has happened they are rooted out, part of a culture of quality control. In


      • NMH, the failed scientist and incel

        A country’s culture affects how science is conducted and therefore the quality of science coming out of it: an interesting (if not rare) example of nurture over nature, IMO. An extreme case of Japanese soul cleansing in scientific research is the poor guy who committed suicide after the STAP fraud. I don’t even think he was directly involved:

        I don’t see things like this happening in Italy or Greece. Yes, Greece. ha.


      • Yoshiki Sasai was extremely involved with Haruko Obokata. Maybe it was the degree of his involvement which drove him to suicide because Japan is not France.


  4. Unfortunately, the situation in the Netherlands and Belgium is far worse than that in France. I cannot help but feel that this has something to do with the ERC (or the EU-REA) failing to hold the culprits accountable for their actions.


  5. Zebedee, I wish that you were right but unfortunately that’s not the case. I’m a part of a Dutch laboratory and I can assure you that almost all the research coming out of the lab is entirely fabricated, or falsified or downright plagiarised.

    To be fair though, the research I’m talking about concerns different side of biological sciences than that covered by FBS.


    • You need to expose the problematic data, i.e. publish the problems, make annotated images (picture is worth 1000 words).

      For a start you could publish the problematic data on this site, Pubpeer, or both.


  6. I did expose the research misconduct! And I have been facing retaliation because of that since then. That’s how I learned about the swamp in NL and Belgium, (incl. EU-REA and involvement of some publishers/journal). Turns out institutions would leave no stone unturned when it comes to saving their reputation, except of course punishing the culprits.

    As for the problematic data, I’ve only just experimentally demonstrated that their study failed replication (because their results were always fake), so now it’s just a matter of time before I can make it public.


  7. Let me rephrase my last comment: I have only just finished the experiments where I’ve demonstrated the fraudulent data. It’ll take a few months before I can publish it (make it public).


  8. Hermann_S

    The vast majority of cases of fraudulent science you and your fellow sleuths bring to light were discovered because the ‘researchers’ were lazy and stupid enough to use (parts of) the same images to represent different experiments in their papers. I wonder what would stop a cheating pseudo-scientist from using some random images that are not duplicated in any publication? Every lab has tons of images that are never published. How would you discover that kind of fraud? Lack of reproducibility, perhaps? Do we see only the tip of the iceberg in Pubpeer?


    • A lot of fraud of the kind you have in mind is being reported by internal whistleblowers: PhD students, postdocs, collaborators. Usually it’s hushed up, whistleblowers get silenced and sacked. Sometimes sued. They write to media who tells them to get lost because one doesn’t write bad things about scientists.


      • Hermann_S

        I suppose one reason why whistleblowers don’t get enough traction is that the research in question is often relatively trivial (“the effect of compound X on the expression of Y in organism Z”, even though it is often oversold as “X may help cure cancer/covid/Alzheimer’s”) , so that perhaps only a handful of people in the world really care about the results. Journalists will not be interested. In addition, deliberate fraud can be hard to prove. The fraudster can often claim that some silly mistake was made with the image files and get away with it.

        If a result is really important, the experiment will have to be replicated independently before we can assume the results are correct. But who is going to replicate trivial but time-consuming research, which makes up the bulk of published research, fraudulent or


  9. “I did exchange some emails with Loeffler’s PhD student Violaine Sée (now professor at the University of Lyon), who promised to investigate. The situation is serious: ”

    Violaine See (previously at Liverpool)

    “I completed my doctorate in molecular and cellular pharmacology in 2001 at the University Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, France). I moved to the Centre for Cell Imaging at the University of Liverpool in 2002 as a post-doctoral research associate. In 2005 I obtained a prestigious David Phillips Fellowship (BBSRC) to work on intracellular signalling dynamics at the University of Liverpool. ”

    2005 David Phillips Fellowship (BBSRC) on the back of these papers:-




    I’m sure other people applied for that fellowship.
    The BBSRC is a relatively large employer. Its human resuorces department should
    identify the highest scoring unsuccessful candidate for 2005 and give the felowship to her/him.


  10. ““Martin Bommer , Arndt Benecke , Hinrich Gronemeyer, Cécile Rochette-Egly TIF2 mediates the synergy between RARalpha 1 activation functions AF-1 and AF-2 The Journal of biological chemistry (2002) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m206001200”

    Arndt Benecke turns up here:


  11. 1 French Revolution = 1/2 Protestant Reformation.


  12. thank you for the information


  13. Zebedee

    09 May 2023 Strasbourg retraction.

    Retraction of ‘COUP-TF interacting protein 2 represses the initial phase of HIV-1 gene transcription in human microglial cells’
    Nucleic Acids Research, gkad358,
    Published: 09 May 2023
    This is a retraction to: Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 33, Issue 7, 1 April 2005, Pages 2318–2331,
    This is a retraction to: Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 50, Issue 21, 28 November 2022, Page 12600,

    Issue Section: Retraction
    Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 33, Issue 7, 1 April 2005, Pages 2318–2331,

    The Editors were alerted in June 2022 about potential issues with Figures 3B, 5C and 6B as detailed below.

    Figure 3B: GST bands in the lower two panels appear to be identical.

    Figure 5C: There may be signs of splicing around the two COUP-TF bands.

    Figure 6B: Lanes 1 and 5 appear to be similar after horizontal flip.

    The Editors began their investigation, during which the authors confirmed they no longer have the original, underlying data for any figure contained in the published article, as the research was conducted approximately 20 years ago. The authors also voluntarily disclosed that the upper panels of Figure 5B had ‘been built with at least 14 panels of different gels’.

    An Expression of Concern was posted in November 2022. The Editors subsequently referred the matter to the institution where the research was conducted for investigation. The institution enlisted the help of independent external experts to scrutinize the figures objectively. They concluded:

    The allegations are plausible and could involve the manipulation of several published images beyond accepted peer-reviewed methodological standards.

    In the absence of the original gels, it is not possible to validate some of the conclusions of the article based solely on the experimental data produced in the article.

    They are unable to lift all doubts about the conclusions of the article.

    Based on their own assessment of the figures and the external experts’ reports, the Editors have lost confidence in the integrity of the data presentation in this paper and are ultimately retracting it.

    Original article.
    Nucleic Acids Res. 2005; 33(7): 2318–2331. Published online 2005 Apr 22. doi: 10.1093/nar/gki529
    PMCID: PMC1084325PMID: 15849318
    COUP-TF interacting protein 2 represses the initial phase of HIV-1 gene transcription in human microglial cells
    Céline Marban,1 Laetitia Redel,1 Stella Suzanne,1 Carine Van Lint,2 Dominique Lecestre,1 Sylvette Chasserot-Golaz,3 Mark Leid,4 Dominique Aunis,1 Evelyne Schaeffer,1 and Olivier Rohr1,5,*
    Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer
    1INSERM unité 575 Pathophysiology of Nervous System, Centre de Neurochimie, 5 rue Blaise Pascal, 67084 Strasbourg, France
    2Institute for Molecular Biology and Medicine, Laboratory of Molecular Virology, 12 rue des Professeurs Jeener et Brachet, 6041 Gosselies, Belgium
    3Unité CNRS UPR 2356, 5, rue Blaise Pascal, 67084 Strasbourg, France
    4Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy and Environmental Health Sciences Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331-3507, France
    5IUT Louis Pasteur de Schiltigheim, 1 Allée d’Athènes, 67300 Schiltigheim, France
    *To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: +33 388 45 66 01; Fax: +33 388 60 08 06; Email:


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