Research integrity University Affairs

Imperial Irishman Hugh Brady (and his Dublin leprechauns)

When your Irish past catches up with your English future.

The Imperial College London is a place of diversity and tolerance. They have an Irish president, you see. Hugh R Brady, appointed last year, brings exactly the kind of scientific ethics an elite London university expects.

Imperial College is so elite they previously drove their German professor Stefan Grimm into suicide, sacked a Chinese fraudster (Eric W Lam) while protecting all the white and English ones, even Justin Stebbing they still can’t really let go of. Currently Imperial is trying to defend a bunch of piss-takers behind the trash startup Melico for no other obvious reason but their white Englishness.

Imperial Piss-Take

“Having reviewed the Conflict of Interest disclosures made by Professor Frost, Professor Holmes and Dr Garcia-Perez, and having also reviewed additional information concerning their company, Melico, […] the College is satisfied that they have no undisclosed or unmanageable conflicts of interests” – Arts Bachelor (Honours)

To be fair, it’s not like other elite English universities and research institutions are any better. Still, let’s talk about the new president of Imperial and his Irish mates.

Hugh Redmond Brady, born 1959, previously acted as President of University College Dublin in his home town in Ireland and in 2015, after 9 years in this office, he moved to England to lead the University of Bristol as president. In 2022, he went to London to head the Imperial College. He has also industrial interests, as non-executive director of a pharma company ICON and the cheese company Kerry.

Brady became a full-time businessman and bureaucrat, but as every university rector, he used to be a humble professor and do research once. Medicine in fact, specifically nephrology. His close collaborator back at UCD used to be Professor Catherine Godson, director of the UCD Diabetes Complications Research Centre and member of the Royal Irish Academy. The earliest Godson-authored paper with Brady dates to 1985. When Brady was UCD President, Godson held the office of Vice President Innovation and Corporate Partnerships.

Now look what Godson and Brady published in the journal where the former is member of the editorial board. This and other evidence was posted on PubPeer by the pseudonymous sleuth Clare Francis:

Good for the authors that this once zero-tolerance society journal was assimilated by Elsevier, got rid of every decent editorial office member and stopped retracting fake papers.

So here is another Brady-Godson coproduction in JBC:

Michael R. Clarkson , Madeline Murphy , Sunil Gupta , Teresa Lambe , Harald S. Mackenzie , Catherine Godson, Finian Martin, Hugh R. Brady High glucose-altered gene expression in mesangial cells. Actin-regulatory protein gene expression is triggered by oxidative stress and cytoskeletal disassembly Journal of Biological Chemistry (2002) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m109172200

Cloned gel bands?
Spliced gel lanes

Their coauthor Finian Martin is another professor at UCD, now retired as emeritus. How about this lovingly forged gel?

Madeline Murphy, Neil G. Docherty , Brenda Griffin , Jillian Howlin , Emmett McArdle , Ruth McMahon , Holger Schmid , Matthias Kretzler , Alejandra Droguett , Sergio Mezzano , Hugh R. Brady , Fiona Furlong , Catherine Godson , Finian Martin IHG-1 amplifies TGF-beta1 signaling and is increased in renal fibrosis Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (2008) doi: 10.1681/asn.2007101080 

Another fudged gel figure, by Martin, Godson, and Brady:

Blaithin McMahon , Derick Mitchell , Richard Shattock , Finian Martin, Hugh R. Brady , Catherine Godson Lipoxin, leukotriene, and PDGF receptors cross-talk to regulate mesangial cell proliferation The FASEB Journal (2002) doi: 10.1096/fj.02-0416fje 

Who cares, it’s just the loading control again, right? Here is something coauthored by Godson, but without Brady. The last author Derek Brazil used to be at UCD at that time. He is now in Belfast.

Jayesh J. Kattla , Rosemarie M. Carew , Mediha Heljic , Catherine Godson, Derek P. Brazil Protein kinase B/Akt activity is involved in renal TGF-beta1-driven epithelial-mesenchymal transition in vitro and in vivo American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology (2008) doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00548.2007 

For years ago, UCD was very excited that the International Association of Inflammation Societies decided to celebrate Godson with the Women in Science Award , because all other women in science were not as great as she.

Maybe it is worth mentioning that the former UCD Vice President Innovation and Corporate Partnerships also collaborated with the by now infamous duo Jesmond Dalli (queen Mary University London) and Charles Serhan (Harvard), recently exposed in Science for massive biotech scam based on research fraud:

Emma Börgeson , Andrew M.F. Johnson , Yun Sok Lee , Andreas Till , Gulam Hussain Syed , Syed Tasadaque Ali-Shah , Patrick J. Guiry , Jesmond Dalli , Romain A. Colas , Charles N. Serhan, Kumar Sharma , Catherine Godson Lipoxin A4 Attenuates Obesity-Induced Adipose Inflammation and Associated Liver and Kidney Disease Cell Metabolism (2015) doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.05.003

A PubPeer user commented, excerpt:

This article is one of a group of around 70 which contain LC/MS/MS data on “specialized proresolving mediators” from the Dalli and Serhan laboratories, published between 2015-2019. In these, mass spectrometry chromatograms appear abnormal with odd-shaped peaks and features indicative of “cut and paste”.

These figures were recently confirmed by Drs Serhan and Dr Dalli to be “illustrations”. See here for confirmation:

Let’s go back to fake gels. This paper looks rather innocent (a spliced gel lane) but wait till you see what Brady’s mentee John Crean (now UCD’s associate professor), achieved as group leader later on:

John K.G. Crean , Darren Finlay , Madeline Murphy , Catherine Moss , Catherine Godson , Finian Martin, Hugh R. Brady The role of p42/44 MAPK and protein kinase B in connective tissue growth factor induced extracellular matrix protein production, cell migration, and actin cytoskeletal rearrangement in human mesangial cells Journal of Biological Chemistry (2002) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m203715200 

Behold, artworks by Crean, Godson, Brazil and Martin, all done under Brady’s watch as UCD president:

Noel Faherty , Simon P. Curran , Helen O’Donovan , Finian Martin , Catherine Godson, Derek P. Brazil, John K. Crean CCN2/CTGF increases expression of miR-302 microRNAs, which target the TGFβ type II receptor with implications for nephropathic cell phenotypes Journal of Cell Science (2012) doi: 10.1242/jcs.105528

I wonder who faked those. Team effort, maybe? Now without Brazil:

Noel Faherty , Helen O’Donovan , David Kavanagh , Stephen Madden , Gareth J McKay , Alexander P Maxwell , Finian Martin , Catherine Godson , John Crean TGFβ and CCN2/CTGF mediate actin related gene expression by differential E2F1/CREB activation BMC Genomics (2013) doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-14-525

I wrote to Brady, Godson, Crean and the research integrity responsibles at UCD and the Imperial College, asking to comment on the PubPeer evidence. Nobody replied. Meh.

Ok, here is the last one, featuring Godson and Crean, who made fine careers thanks to Brady’s patronage. I would never trust a research paper containing such a bizarrely fake gel figure:

Derick Mitchell , Sarah J. O’Meara , Andrew Gaffney , John K.G. Crean, B. Therese Kinsella , Catherine Godson The Lipoxin A4 receptor is coupled to SHP-2 activation: implications for regulation of receptor tyrosine kinases Journal of Biological Chemistry (2007) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m611004200 

Now, the last author and yet another UCD professor, Therese Kinsella, was also originally exposed by Clare Francis for research fraud. She has 15 papers on PubPeer, and retracted 6 in total, there was Retraction Watch coverage in 2018. It is not clear if Kinsella still works at UCD, her institutional profile page was wiped clean. She probably decided to focus on running her company ATXA Therapeutics. Clare Francis arrived at Godson (and then to Brady) by following the Kinsella track.

If you want to meet research cheaters, follow one of them around.

Photo credits: Imperial College, UCD Conway Institute/(Lorna Donlon)

Update 7.02.2023

I should have mentioned that Brady’s predecessor s Imperial College President, Alice Gast resigned after she was exposed as a bully:

“Britain’s highest-paid university chief and another senior executive created a culture of favouritism and exclusion at Imperial College, according to damning details of a report released after she had attempted to suppress its publication.

Imperial’s president, Alice Gast, last year apologised after an independent report found that she and the college’s chief financial officer had bullied members of staff. However, they have resisted calls by student and academic representatives to resign, while she attempted to block the report’s release under freedom of information.”


I thank all my donors for supporting my journalism. You can be one of them!
Make a one-time donation:

I thank all my donors for supporting my journalism. You can be one of them!
Make a monthly donation:

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthly

65 comments on “Imperial Irishman Hugh Brady (and his Dublin leprechauns)

  1. Whatever you do don’t mention Leonie Young and Professor Arnold Hill at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (in Dublin). I know the the Republic of Ireland is a republic, but it is still Royal.


  2. The dividing line between sharp business practices and criminality is a fine one, happily obscured by the convenient fact that “white-collar crime” makes the judiciary think about its own class interests.

    In some ways you are playing into Imperial College’s hands. It wants to advertise to business interests its true mettle.


  3. Clare Francis

    Expect a passive-agressive response from Imperial College and UCD with regards to the problematic publications.
    “None of these issues in my opinion change the conclusions of the study. I see no point in retracting these important publications…”etc
    BTW, that statement was already used by an Imperial professor to push whistle blowers out of the way. Precisely at 2018.


    • They won’t even reply


    • Current head of oncology at Imperial speaks. Comment #5 here.

      Word for word, why the paper should be not be retracted (his own).



        Comment#5. Mcneish, current head oncology, Imperial College, gives reasons why 2 duplicated images, and data which comes from another journal should not be retracted.


      • Clare Francis

        Exactly what I was referring to! I swear I have seen countless researchers using the the exact same excuse!
        “None of these issues in my opinion change the conclusions made in the papers. I see no merit in retracting these important publications or publishing an erratum at this late stage, although agree that there have been errors made in producing the figures.

        Recommendations I recommend that the senior authors make a reply on Pubpeer stating that an internal investigation was carried out at BCI and Imperial, acknowledging the possible duplication of control data on Westerns and minor errors in data reporting. It should also be noted that the original data was no longer available for review. Original data retention following peer-review and publication is advised by Imperial College as 10 years and these papers were published 17 years ago. The investigation stated that the conclusions made from the published studies were valid and important, even accounting for these reporting errors.”

        Conclusions made are valid and important, from a business standpoint of view. Given the grants they have won and in the case of the president, the advantages they have got in their careers, they sure can’t retract these dodgy papers. That would be career suicide.


    • Blame the PhD student for deep seated problem in the culture long before PhD student was on the scene.


      • Clare Francis

        Similar to Imperial College and Edinburgh, where they fired foreigners as scapegoats ( Eric Lam and a Bulgarian lady), whilst the white English faculties kept their positions, no matter the severity of data manipulation.
        If the PhD student investigated by UCD was white, they sure wouldn’t fire him/her.
        Despite all the wars and disagreements between the English and the Irish, it’s funny how their elites use the same foreign scapegoat tactic!


      • Was the YouTube video “Step through the looking glass” a plea for help?

        John Crean can certainly spin a yarn. Perhaps RTE has some jobs going in its children’s story department.


    • In some ways Imperial College in London, party city, closer to the main airports, is more attractive to students than Oxford, Cambridge, both medium sized towns, Cambridge is particularly isolated in freezing marsh land. Who can blame 18 and 19-year-olds, whose parents can afford the fees, plumping for Imperial College?

      It is unfair that foreign students have to pay 3x more than home students. Perhaps any student accepted by Imperial College should pay the same fees. That would have the effect of making Imperial College judge each applicant on merit rather than how much money they bring in. Equality all around!


      • Whom do you think Imperial College is going to accept when a home student and a foreign student (who pays 3x more), when both have very similar academic and other window-dressing scores, such as middle-class hobbies and virtue-signalling pursuits?

        Is is not only unfair on the foreign students having to pay more, but denying equally qualified home students a place.

        Hugh R Brady would not like it if he had to pay more in shops because he earns more money than average. Why does he do that to foreign students?


      • Clare Francis

        And the same international students that pay at least x3 more (for medicine undergraduate it’s more than x4), get discriminated after graduation when applying for jobs and funded PhD positions! How nice!
        Equality and diversity, the British style.



        Over 60% of students at Imperial College are foreign, and will be charged 3-4x as much as home students.

        A world university should have one world price tag. Every student throughout the world would be judged according to academic merit. Fairer for all.


  4. For PhDs which need to be stripped for problematic data++, Hugh R Brady, President Imperial College should spend an hour or two looking at the comments section here:


  5. Wonders will never cease! Another Ian Adcock, Professor Imperial college, klutziness.


    • It’s O.K. Ian Adcock is a nice chap, sees the point of the comments about improbable data, but often does nothing about the problematic data, or can’t find the original data. Sail on by to a nice career!



        To save itself the risk of employing somebody with a problematic scientific data Imperial College should have employed the ex-CEO of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar, who has no scientific data. His wiki page describes him as a “medical researcher”, which is being highly economical with the truth has he has done none, or very little, medical research himself, but has been a career manager in charge of medical research organisations for decades. That is not the same being a medical researcher.


  6. Hugh R Brady was vice-chancellor University of Bristol until September 2022.

    It was his job to deal with these:-


  7. This seems a highly problematic University of Bristol product, yet nothing happens.

    Does the University of Bristol share Imperial College’s post truth mindset when it comes to correcting, or retracting problematic papers?


  8. FEBS Lett . 2011 Feb 4;585(3):531-8. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.01.004. Epub 2011 Jan 14.
    CTGF/CCN2 activates canonical Wnt signalling in mesangial cells through LRP6: implications for the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy
    Brian Rooney 1, Helen O’Donovan, Andrew Gaffney, Marie Browne, Noel Faherty, Simon P Curran, Denise Sadlier, Catherine Godson, Derek P Brazil, John Crean
    UCD Diabetes Research Centre, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
    PMID: 21237163 DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.01.004

    Problematic data figure 2B. Much more similar than expected.


  9. What is Hugh R Brady going to say?

    Nothing .
    Given Ian McNeish’s, the head of the Division of Cancer, Imperial College “post truth” mindset as evidenced by comment #5 here:

    there are no problems? That would be in keeping with Imperial policy.,of%20the%20NCRI%20Gynaecological%20CSG.

    I was a passive pillion passenger/guest author, I didn’t know that scientific data had meaning which can be subject to scrutiny and logic, it’s all Catherine Godson’s fault?
    Who cares what a bunch of churlish, good for nothing, losers say?


  10. Clare Francis

    Just found this LinkedIn page, mentioning some of Imperial College scandals over the years:


    • Yes, there were the bullying scandals at the top of Imperial. Perhaps Alice Gast, the last President of Imperial was not the worst. A senior male manager had to leave.

      What shocks me the most is that people are shocked by bullying in Britain.
      That is British management. If you don’t do what we say something unpleasant will happen. There are no workers’ councils, like in Germany, where the workers have half the seats on the committee that steers the business. In Britain the workers’ opinion only counts if the boss thinks it should count.

      When applied to the whole world “if you don’t do what we say something unpleasant will happen” was called Imperialism, now confined to Britain itself, and universities themselves. The last vestiges of Empire.


  11. Clare Francis

    “A scientist suffocated in lab filled with nitrogen and Imperial being fined £ 70,000 for this in 2017”

    Only 70,000, for someone losing their lives? Nice!


  12. Clare Francis

    As Stefan Grimm noted:
    “This is not a university anymore but a business with [a] very few up in the hierarchy… profiteering [while] the rest of us are milked for money, be it professors for their grant income or students who pay 100 pounds just to extend their write-up status”


    • Rushing/shepherding students through courses is the Imperial way. In the old days there were exams that some passed and some failed, now there are work experience courses for the most part, where hard-pressed faculty have to shepherd the students through, making sure they all pass, and get their money’s worth, even though many cannot organise their thoughts on paper.


  13. You mention Eric W Lam being fired for faking, but the very senior personage Charles Coombes is on many of Eric W Lam’s faked papers, yet he gets off Scot free.

    Passive pillion passenger/ guest author, didn’t look at the data, don’t understand the data, what is his excuse?



    “Bill Gates and Prime Minister launch new UK cleantech coalition at Imperial”

    I wonder what Bill gates would think if he reads this article? He probably would collaborate even more with Imperial College!


  15. Is it correct to call Imperial College a university? It doesn’t have the humanities. This avoids having all those political, bolshy types. The student body has been described as quiet, docile… Engineering and maths- heads, and medical students (Imperial bought a medical school 25 years ago), who are wet beging the ears, and too busy to raise a ruckus.


  16. When I first came across Catherine Godson tangled up in a Therese Kinsella paper I had a vision that she looked like the English actress Margaret Rutherford. I even thought that Catherine Godson was a victim.

    How wrong I was! Catherine Godson seems quite pretty in her official University College Dublin portrait.

    Of course, both are outstanding actresses.


    • The small corrupted Dublin scientific scene with the likes of Hugh Brady, Catherine Godson, John Crean, Therese Kinsella, Luke O’Neill is incapable of change as those are, and were the people near, or at the top (Hugh Brady was the head honcho at University College Dublin).

      London is Dublin written large. Imperial College likes to boast about how it gets more money than Oxford and Cambridge, but it is not the same quality. Oxford and Cambridge Universities don’t have the faking by Imperial College’s Eric W Lam, Charles Coombes, Michael Seckl, Paul Workman ( the Institute of Cancer Research is an affiliate of Imperial College) and Justin Stebbing ( put their names into the search box of Pubpeer, press return and you will see). Oxford University does, however, have the faking of Xin Lu.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: