Schneider Shorts

Schneider Shorts 17.02.2023 – A universal cure of high moral excellence

Schneider Shorts 17.02.2023 - Lancet's concern for murderous surgeon, a world-renowned innovator comes to Czechia, multi-hazard approach to engineering publishing, chronic lymericks at MDPI, fake Georgians at Hindawi, with cinnamon magic from Iran, a pharma giant with a new job, and finally, Nobel facials for you to buy (if you can afford them).

Schneider Shorts of 17 February 2023 – Lancet’s concern for murderous surgeon, a world-renowned innovator comes to Czechia, multi-hazard approach to engineering publishing, chronic lymericks at MDPI, fake Georgians at Hindawi, with cinnamon magic from Iran, a pharma giant with a new job, and finally, Nobel facials for you to buy (if you can afford them).

Table of Discontent

Science Elites

Industry Giants

Scholarly Publishing

Science Breakthroughs

News in Tweets

Science Elites

The Accelerator

Meet one of Europe’s greatest scientist, at least in chemistry: professor Alexander Dömling, professor and Chair of Drug Design at the University of Groningen (Netherlands), associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh (USA), faculty member at the Technical University Munich (Germany), founder and board member of various pharma companies.

Dömling was just awarded by the EU Commission €2.5 million as “ERA Chair for Accelerated Synthetic Chemistry Technologies at Palacký University Olomouc”. For this he will leave his cosy Dutch chair and move to a small Czech town. The grant begins on 1 February 2023:

“To unite a powerful potential of two outstanding research leaders and thus capitalize on their mutual collaboration for reaching the impact none of them would achieve on their own. This is the aim of the ACCELERATOR project. It brings together (1) the world-renowned Professor of Chemistry, inventor and innovator Alexander Dömling as an ERA chair of the Synthetic Group and (2) the Czech Advanced Technology and Research Institute (CATRIN) of Palacký University Olomouc (UP), merging three excellent research centres into a unique scientific ecosystem.”

Palacky University of Olomouc? Such a great genius goes to the place riddled with research fraudsters? Remember the nanofabricator Radek Zboril and the papermiller Rajender S. Varma?

When I’m citing you, will you answer too?

What do moth pheromones on one side have to do with cancer research, petrochemistry, materials science, e-commerce, psychology, forestry and gynaecology on the other? They are separated by just one citation!

Worse, this Czech university is also riddled with insolent whistleblowers! I guess such are Czechs for you, they just laugh at ranks and authorities and publicly denounce misconduct even when facing retaliation. This is what happened to our German-American-Dutch science genius Professor Dömling – the local biochemistry professor Marek Petřivalský, who instead of prostrating himself in front of such immense scientific eminence, posted things on PubPeer.

Like this:

Fatma B. Rashidi , Alanod D. AlQhatani , Sara S. Bashraheel , Shabnam Shaabani , Matthew R. Groves , Alexander Dömling , Sayed K. Goda Isolation and molecular characterization of novel glucarpidases: Enzymes to improve the antibody directed enzyme pro-drug therapy for cancer treatment PLoS ONE (2018) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196254

Marek Petřivalský: “In this paper, the image of total protein staining on a SDS-PAGE gel used in Fig. 7B is apparently identical to the image used in another paper by the same author group (Fig. 1A in Al-Qahtani et al. 2019, Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 112: 108725, ). In Fig. 7B in Rashidi et al. (2018) the gel image is showing the purification of recombinant enzyme from Pseudomonas lubricans (labelled as PsCPG2), whereas in Al-Qahtani et al. (2019), the gel image in Fig. 1A is showing the purification of the I100T mutant of Pseudomonas putida CPG2.”

More by Dömling and his Egyptian friends:

Yasmine M. Abdel Aziz , Gehad Lotfy , Mohamed M. Said , El Sayed H. El Ashry , El Sayed H. El Tamany , Saied M. Soliman , Marwa M. Abu-Serie , Mohamed Teleb , Sammer Yousuf , Alexander Dömling, Luis R. Domingo , Assem Barakat Design, Synthesis, Chemical and Biochemical Insights Into Novel Hybrid Spirooxindole-Based p53-MDM2 Inhibitors With Potential Bcl2 Signaling Attenuation Frontiers in Chemistry (2021) doi: 10.3389/fchem.2021.735236

Marek Petřivalský: “In this paper, the set of microscopy images in Fig.10 showing “untreated controls” (the first lane of the panel) is apparently identical to a similar set of three microscopy images of “control” cells in Fig. 3 of the paper by Lotfy et al. 2021 (which itself apparently contains several duplicated images – see Pubpeer comments here:

Do you have a theory on how these Egyptian papers by Prof Dömling were milled, pardon, researched? Petrivalsky wrote to Dömling, but received no reply.

Gehad Lotfy , Yasmine M. Abdel Aziz , Mohamed M. Said , El Sayed H. El Ashry , El Sayed H. El Tamany , Marwa M. Abu-Serie , Mohamed Teleb , Alexander Dömling , Assem Barakat Molecular hybridization design and synthesis of novel spirooxindole-based MDM2 inhibitors endowed with BCL2 signaling attenuation; a step towards the next generation p53 activators Bioorganic Chemistry (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.bioorg.2021.105427

Marek Petřivalský: “In Fig.3 of this paper, the images shown for the MDA-MB 231 cells treated by 2.29 uM concetration (5i) and for the Hep G-2 cells treated by 0.0588 uM concentration (5q) are apparently duplicates of the same original picture. This is suggested also by the Clone detection tool of Forensically. Also MDA-MB231 (5q) and HepG-2 (5i) are duplicates of the same original picture.

Petrivalsky now published an article on (closed) university platform, here a translated excerpt (hyperlinks added):

“I must confess that with all due respect to the scientific and entrepreneurial achievements of prof. Dömling (“…co-founded six biotechnology companies” (ref.1), a nagging question came to my mind:
what is the motivation for an excellent scientist to leave his “good home” at a top institution in Groningen, the Netherlands, and move to CATRIN, which has been called “Podvodníkov” in the discussion forums of Czech chemists in connection with extensive and long-standing problems with the integrity of scientific research? Certainly, the prospect of sharing generous EU funds with new
colleagues from CATRIN, which in the specific conditions of our University can translate into excellent generous salaries for the chosen ones, can be a legitimate motivation. This is matched by the surprising discovery that Prof. Dömling, whose grant and employment at UP was to start on 1 February 2023 according to the available information, has been dedicating some articles to the exclusive affiliation of CATRIN, more precisely to the still non-existent “Department of Innovative Chemistry” since October 2022 (e.g. Reyes Romero et al. Molecules 2022, 27, 8282; Zhang & Dömling (2022) Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents 32:11, 1161-1173; Gao et al. Green Chemistry, DOI: 10.1039/D2GC04312B). As far as I know, neither CATRIN nor UP has yet been able to deal properly with the case of (now former) CATRIN employee Prof. Varma and the purchase of scientific output in his often dubious publications originating in so-called “paper mills” (ref. 2). The
above-mentioned cases of Prof. Dömling’s dedications to CATRIN already at the time when the award of the ERA Chair grant at UP was known, but he did not work at UP in any way, clearly show that CATRIN is definitely not abandoning this “creative” way of increasing its publication output.

When getting to know more about Prof. Dömling’s successful career and broad thematic scope, I also recalled inspiring stories of other leaders in the field of nanomaterial chemistry and nanotechnology:
Jan Hendrik Schön, Vojtěch Adam, Radek Zbořil and others. There is certainly nothing inherently wrong with the fact that in recent years articles with co-authors from Egypt, Dubai or Saudi Arabia have featured prominently in Prof. Dömling’s list of publications. However, on closer inspection of the
content of some of the articles, I found several problematic points in the results that interested me (i.e. biological or biomedical applications of the newly synthesized compounds).”

Moravian Rhapsody

“Please, can you tell me more about the web page and mechanism behind? Is there any “scheme” of scanning published papers?” asks Professor Vojtech Adam. Yes, it’s Elisabeth Bik.

Let’s end with this Dömling paper, its co-author Farid Badria is an associate of the Egyptian mega-fraudster Ahmed Badawy who just lost his PhD in Utrecht (read here).

Assem Barakat , Saeed Alshahrani , Abdullah Mohammed Al-Majid , Abdullah Saleh Alamary , Matti Haukka , Marwa M. Abu-Serie , Alexander Dömling , Eman A. Mazyed , Farid A. Badria , Fardous F. El-Senduny Novel spirooxindole based benzimidazole scaffold: In vitro, nanoformulation and in vivo studies on anticancer and antimetastatic activity of breast adenocarcinoma Bioorganic Chemistry (2022) doi: 10.1016/j.bioorg.2022.106124

In this regard, Petrivalsky wrote:

“I regret to note here that neither the contacted corresponding authors nor Prof. Dömling have yet responded to the comments on PubPeer – he has not responded to my direct email request for clarification. Thanks to the contributions of colleagues who still have the good name of UP at heart, I managed to get a promise from the editor-in-chief of the journal Bioorganic Chemistry to look into the matter.”

Multi-hazard Approach to Engineering

Alexander Magazinov wrote to the leadership of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to inform them “about irregularities in a number of publications by professor Paolo Gardoni“, who is director of the NSF-funded centre for Multi-hazard Approach to Engineering.

In fact, Professor Gardoni’s own approach to engineering is multi-hazardeous.

Magazinov reported several publications, like this one:

Bo Wang , Fangyuan Gao , Munish Kumar Gupta , Grzegorz Królczyk , Paolo Gardoni , Zhixiong Li, Risk analysis of a flywheel battery gearbox based on optimized stochastic resonance model, Journal of Energy Storage (2022), doi: 10.1016/j.est.2022.104926

“A batch of 11 citations has been inserted for a trivial statement.

Of note, even for this broad context, [35] is absolutely irrelevant. [36] and [37] have been subsequently retracted.

Possible explanations include fulfilling the unreasonable demand from referees to cite these sources, or selling citations to dishonest actors for material benefits. The latter is corroborated by the mass presence of citations to Yu-Ming Chu: there is a massive corpus of papers that cite Chu in various irrelevant contexts; most are associated with a narrow circle of Iranian actors or their collaborators. Selecting a “special issue” (see below) for this article also suggests deliberate participation in citation rigging.”

On PubPeer, Magazinov mentioned:

“This paper is a part of a special issue “Recent Advances in Battery Thermal Management” edited by Nader Karimi, Mohammad Arjmand, Cong Qi, Masoud Afrand.”

Those are some of the biggest papermill fraudsters. Karimi got even more citations than Chu.

Elsevier’s Journal of Energy Storage, remember that one? Its founding chief editor, the German professor Dirk Uwe Sauer, was recently removed over excessive papermilling activities in his journal which he found himself unable to stop fostering.

In the same journal:

Xinrui Qi , Jianmei Wang , Grzegorz Królczyk , Paolo Gardoni , Zhixiong Li, Sustainability analysis of a hybrid renewable power system with battery storage for islands application, Journal of Energy Storage (2022), doi: 10.1016/j.est.2022.104682

“21 citations have been inserted in a trivial context. Many of those are, again to the benefit of Yu-Ming Chu.
Of note, [74] has been subsequently retracted.”

On PubPeer, Magazinov mentioned:

“This paper is a part of a special issue “Recent Advances in Battery Thermal Management” edited by Nader Karimi, Mohammad Arjmand, Cong Qi, Masoud Afrand.”

Of course several of the irrelevant citations went to these crooks (specifically Afrand and Karimi). Magazinov explained to the university officials:

“Additionally, there is an irrelevant citation to an exposition paper by Neil J. Vickers on the behavior of moths. This citation also suggests a strong association with Iranian actors (we know that there is a specific glitch consistent with a paper-for-sale production pipeline that leads to referencing Vickers; Vickers himself is a victim of that glitch).

This paper is published in the same “special issue” as the previous one, suggesting that the participation in citation rigging is deliberate.”

Read about the Vickers Curse here:

When I’m citing you, will you answer too?

What do moth pheromones on one side have to do with cancer research, petrochemistry, materials science, e-commerce, psychology, forestry and gynaecology on the other? They are separated by just one citation!

Another paper, in a different journal:

Hebin Liao , Tianqin Lin , Paolo Gardoni , Wei Zhang , Xiaogang Li , Grzegorz Królczyk , Lei Deng , Z.X. Li, Molecular dynamics analysis of a flavoring drum combining numerical simulation and experimental evaluation, Engineering Analysis with Boundary Elements (2023), doi: 10.1016/j.enganabound.2022.11.009

The two irrelevant citations lead to the work of another massive papermill fraudster, Davood Toghraie, read about him here:

Magazinov added in his email:

“Of further note, the list of co-authors on all three concerned papers includes an individual named Zhixiong Li. Z. Li exhibits quite a wide range of scientific interests, including

and so on, with a production rate of about 100 papers per year maintained since 2019. This may be an indication of guest / purchased authorship, rather than of real research. In the former case, there is a distinct possibility that dr. Gardoni may have acted as a customer, or, alternatively, as a seller of these papers. “

Nobody replied to Magazinov so far. Why should they, Professor Gordoni is a star who brings oodles of cash. The University of Illinois website informs us:

“Prof. Gardoni is the author of over 200 refereed journal papers, 28 book chapters, and 9 edited volumes, and has delivered over 70 invited, plenary, and keynote lectures. He has received over $50 million in research funding from multiple national and international agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Qatar National Research Funds (QNRF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Prof. Gardoni is the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Alfredo Ang Award on Risk Analysis and Management of Civil Infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The award was given for his contributions to risk, reliability, and resilience analysis, and his leadership in these fields.”

Now we know what risks Gardoni took to reliably publish 200 refereed journal papers.

Industry Giants

Nobel Panacea

You heard of greedy Nobel Prize winners, you heard of homeopathy-extolling Nobel Prize winners, but have you heard of a Nobel Prize winner who set up a beauty business, to get rich with something which is at least as stupid as homeopathy?

Say hello to Sir Fraser Stoddart, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016. What he does these days even puts his fellow Nobelist and Herbalife shill Louis Ignarro to shame.

Fake data and real pomegranate juice in Nobelist Louis Ignarro’s papers

Louis J. Ignarro knew how to monetize his 1998 Nobel Prize for discovery of nitric oxide as molecular cell signalling agent. He made many millions selling dietary supplement for Herbalife and pomegranate juice for POM Wonderful Company. Some of that found its way (without proper conflict of interest declaration) into Ignarro’s peer reviewed papers. Those,…

And say hello to Sir Fraser’s company, Noble Panacea.

Screenshot Noble Panacea

The company sells anti-aging skin care products (moisturisers etc), a 30-doses jar with “Rejuvenation Night Balm” or “Intense Renewal Serum” costs over €400.

We are informed it’s all based on the Nobelist’s own discovery of the “Organic Super Molecular Vessel™ Technology”, which is “the core of Noble Panacea, created to ultimately empower women to embrace their authentic beauty“. No, they did not steal Sir Fraser’s identity. No, they didn’t trick a confused old man into signing off as advertising mascot. Noble Panacea is his own personally-owned business, set up by Stoddart under the name of PanaceaNano right after he won the Nobel Prize (read the advertisement in the ACS magazine C&EN from 2017). It even seems, Stoddart’s academic employer in USA seems to be financing it as a spin-off:

“The Stoddart Research Group chemistry labs at Northwestern University, where Noble Panacea conducts long-term research, is managed by Nobel Laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart and is one of the most advanced in the world. The state-of-the-art facility is lauded by many other venerated scientists in the industry.”

So what is this Organic Super Molecular Vessel (OSMV) crap? Noble Panacea explains:

“After four decades of research and thousands of experiments unlocking molecular secrets, a serendipitous discovery led to the birth of Organic Super Molecular VesselsTM. Harnessing the brightest scientific minds and state-of-the-art equipment, Sir Fraser and his team, thoroughly romanced by the creative potential of their quest while thoroughly grounded in scientific methodology, persevered in the wake of discovery. Molecular beauty, a concept that has roots in the Platonic tradition, inspires chemists, like artists, to artfully manipulate their materials to redefine its form and function, and in the realm of Sir Fraser’s molecular engineering, to unleash the power and healing properties of active ingredients.”

Here a scientific version:

“The Organic Super Molecular VesselTM is beautifully simple in form. A single OSMVTM is 10,000 times smaller than a skin cell. Built from biodegradable, renewable carbohydrate and fatty acids to house and protect ingredients at the individual molecule level to preserve ingredient freshness and potency while preventing cross-interaction. Ingredients, such as vitamin C and retinol, can degrade with exposure to elements like light, oxygen, and water. Thus, the OSMVTM protects active ingredients to ensure its integrity and best efficacy for the best skin results.”

The list of active ingredients is here, those are among other healthy stuff, cocoa, caffeine, green and black tea, acai and goji berries, resveratrol, malachite, “pre and post biotics” and wait for it… orchid and orange “stem cells”!

I am convinced, shut up and take my money!

The website contains these quotes by Sir Fraser Stoddart:

  • I was captivated by the fact that I could be an Einstein, a Picasso, a Beethoven, and a Dickens, all at one and the same time.
  • Noble Panacea means a universal cure of high moral excellence. It means to think beautifully.
  • The Organic Super Molecular VesselTM increases the efficacy of Noble Panacea’s products up to tenfold*, extending its regenerative and healing properties of active ingredients.” (“*In-vitro clinical tests“)
  • Decades of progress in understanding the nature of the mechanical bond in molecules led to the invention of the Organic Super Molecular VesselTM Technology.
  • The active ingredients that we add to the OSMVsTM are green. We choose those that are sustainable whenever possible so that the formula is environmentally friendly.
  • The bedrock of science is the relentless search for truth by scientists in the knowledge that, as a community, we must look over each other’s shoulders in a highly transparent manner.”

Again: this is not some satire webpage. This is a the Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry and a US professor scamming off rich women’s vanity.

Thing is, I personally am not surprised Stoddart is a dirty old man with zero ethics or principles, obsessed with nothing but money. I even have suggestions whose arses urgently need his Noble Panacea skin care.

  1. Florian Kongoli, the trashy predatory conference organiser of FLOGEN scamferences which Sir Fraser eagerly joined. FLOGEN even offers the Stoddard International Award. Read here, by Pepijn van Erp:

2. Katarina Aifantis, wunderkind and winner of that Stoddard International Award, who defrauded the EU Commission together with her daddy, Elias Aifantis. That scary creep and his badly disturbed daughter can sure use some serums and facial masks.

3. Holden Thorp, Editor-in-Chief of Science. Thorp issued a stealth correction for a fake figure in Stoddart’s paper (read below). Because Thorp now spends a lot of time beating his chest as research integrity hero, he can sure use some skin care.

4. The entire Nobel Prize Committee who never say anything when their Nobel-awarded role models go on peddling quackery and fraud right after accepting the Prize. A selection here.

Requiem for Celixir

How the Nobel Prize winner Sir Martin Evans and the lying crook Ajan Reginald almost succeeded, were it not for Patricia Murray.

World’s most highly cited physician-scientist

Elsewhere, a science cheater continues making millions as chief executive at Big Pharma.

John Reed, who published falsified science as CEO of a Californian research institute (read below), later on joined Roche, got kicked out, then picked up by Sanofi, and now he goes to J&J. He is making more money per day than many you in your entire life.

A press release from 13 February 2023:

“Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (the Company) today announced the appointment of John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., to the Company’s Executive Committee as Executive Vice President of Pharmaceuticals, R&D. Dr. Reed previously served as Executive Vice President, Global Head of Research and Development for Sanofi and brings more than 35 years of biomedical research leadership to the Company.

Dr. Reed will join Johnson & Johnson on April 3, 2023, assuming responsibility for the Company’s industry-leading portfolio from William Hait, M.D., Ph.D., who has served as interim head of Johnson & Johnson’s Pharmaceutical R&D organization since August 2022 […]

As one of the world’s most highly cited physician-scientists, Dr. Reed has authored more than 900 research publications and invented over 130 patents. He was recognized among the top 10 most cited researchers in life sciences and medicine for a decade and still ranks among the world’s top 100 most highly cited scientists.”

World’s top science like this:

Sug Hyung Lee , Christian Stehlik , John C. Reed COP, a Caspase Recruitment Domain-containing Protein and Inhibitor of Caspase-1 Activation Processing Journal of Biological Chemistry (2001) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m101415200 

And this:

Mohamed Bentires-Alj , Emmanuel Dejardin , Patrick Viatour , Carine Van Lint, Barbara Froesch , John C Reed , Marie-Paule Merville , Vincent Bours Inhibition of the NF-kappa B transcription factor increases Bax expression in cancer cell lines Oncogene (2001) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1204343 

Figure 6. The 3 graphs, including error bars are indistinguishable, yet the transfections are different.

Some fudged papers by Reed weren’t even flagged on PubPeer before correction:

Ersheng Kuang , Cheryl Y. M. Okumura , Sharon Sheffy-Levin , Tal Varsano , Vincent Chih-Wen Shu , Jianfei Qi , Ingrid R. Niesman , Huei-Jiun Yang , Carlos López-Otín , Wei Yuan Yang , John C. Reed , Limor Broday , Victor Nizet , Ze’ev A. Ronai Regulation of ATG4B stability by RNF5 limits basal levels of autophagy and influences susceptibility to bacterial infection PLoS Genetics (2012) doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003007

A Correction was published in May 2020:

“In Fig 4A, the first and second panels in the left column (GFP::LGG-1) appear similar. In Fig 4B, the first and fourth panels in the right column (rnf-5(RNAi)) appear similar.

The authors noted that these panels were duplicated due to errors in figure preparation. An updated version of Fig 4 is provided here in which the duplicates are removed. The original image files supporting the updated figure are available upon request from the corresponding author.

The following images have also been removed in the updated figure: the second panel in right column of Fig 4A, the fourth panel in left column of Fig 4B, the third panel in left column of Fig 4C, and the fourth panel in right column of Fig 4C. These panels were correctly reported in the original figure but were removed in the revised version in order to balance the presentation of control and experimental images.

As noted in the figure legend, the images shown in Fig 4 are representative examples of worms harboring the reported changes. The authors confirm that the quantitative results shown in Fig 4A and 4B are unaffected by the image duplication errors. The quantitative data underlying the graphs in Fig 4A and 4C are provided in S1 and S2 Files. The raw quantitative data supporting Fig 4B are not available, for which the authors sincerely apologize. Notably, a set of independent experiments reveal the same pattern shown for Fig 4B (S3 File).

Raw data underlying all other results reported in the article are available.

The authors apologize for the errors in the published article.”

Not that the original raw data is obviously unpublishable. That’s why they simply removed the fake figures, and all is well again.

Scholarly Publishing

Lancet concerned about Macchiarini

Patricia Murray, Peter Wilmshurst and myself fought for many years to achieve a retraction for the fraudulent Macchiarini et al Lancet 2008 paper by the gang of the deadly trachea transplant surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. It was Macchiarini’s very first transplant of a self-made trachea graft, which then became an international killing spree.

But the Lancet Editor-in-Chief Richard Horton took the side of the fraudsters (as usual), refused to retract this paper full of lies and ethics breaches, and painted himself a victim of our harassment. Read it all here:

Peter Wilmshurst vs Macchiarini cult at The Lancet

The 2008 Lancet paper of Paolo Macchiarini and Martin Birchall about the world first trachea transplant might end up retracted. Until recently, the journal’s editor Richard Horton used to ignore and suppress “non peer-reviewed” evidence, but due to combined pressure of activism, media and politics, things started to move.

Claudia’s trachea

This is the English original of my story for Hipertextual, first published in Spanish on 27.10.2016. What did we learn from the trachea transplant scandal around the miracle surgeon and stem cell pioneer Paolo Macchiarini, who used to conduct his human experiments in Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Russia? That despite the stem cell fairy magic, all his…

This is the paper and its 5 year follow up, which is at least just as fraudulent and unethical:

Now Horton decided to close the case with this Expression of Concern, issued on 8 February 2008:

The Lancet has received continuing questions over the reliability of the findings and conduct of this reported case,1 since Paolo Macchiarini was found guilty of scientific misconduct in 2018.2 After an investigation by the head of the institution in Barcelona, Spain, where the patient was originally treated, we were told in 2018 that “upon reviewing all information and after verification of the original documents and records supporting the study, we concluded that there is not enough ground to ask The Lancet for retraction of the article”. We did, however, publish an update of this case from the institution in Barcelona in a letter in 2019 to alert our readers to the subsequent clinical course of the patient.3 The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has discussed these concerns at length again and their view, as an expert body in publication ethics, is that these two unretracted articles14 should, at a minimum, have received an Expression of Concern given the severity of the concerns raised and the length of time during which the concerns have persisted. As members of COPE, we are now following this advice and are issuing an Expression of Concern for these two Articles.145

The only surprising thing here is that the head of the Hospital Clinic Barcelona, Antoni Castells, who admitted to Murray and to The Lancet that the Macchiarini et al 2008 paper was full of lies, still begged Horton not to retract that paper. Whatever Castell’s motivation here was, it was stronger than his Hippocratic Oath for sure.

The Macchiarini case may be now finally, terminally and irreversibly closed for Horton, The Lancet, the involved universities, and of course also for the intrepid heroes of Retraction Watch , but I am not alone in thinking this Expression of Concern is not enough. Both these Lancet papers must be retracted because they are still being used for schemes to kill people with regenerative medicine trachea transplants.

By the way, this arrogant bullshit by Macchiarini’s collaborator Anthony Holander (now Vice Provost of the University of Liverpool), proudly celebrating his and his friends’ lies and patient abuse, also needs an Expression of Concern as well. Except that Hollander published it in a predatory journal.

Anthony Hollander A CASE STUDY OF EXPERIMENTAL STEM CELL THERAPY AND THE RISKS OF OVER-REGULATION Contested Cells (2010) doi: 10.1142/9781848164383_0002 

Chronic Lymericks

MDPI has announced a special issue where you already know what horrors to expect. The journal Microorganisms has an open call for papers for a Special Issue titled “Emerging Research on Tick-Borne Pathogens and Diseases” edited by a certain Leona Gilbert (plus someone called John Lambert).

What qualified Gilbert as MDPI special issue editor? Two things. Being a quack and a research fraudster.

In 2020, Gilbert was found guilty of research misconduct by the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, where she used to work as tenured faculty member (before she was sacked in March 2021). The translated report is here, published on the website, dedicated to fighting Chromic Lyme Disease quackery. The quackery which Gilbert now offers with her newly founded company Tezted (or Te?ted).

Read about Chronic Lyme Disease quacks here:

The Finnish investigation was about two papers. Number one was titled “A multiplex and multifunctional enzyme linked immunosorbent assay for
microbes associated with tick-borne diseases
” and is described in the report as “Published on line in 2017; no more available publicly.” It was used to validate the Tickplex test by Gilbert’s company Tezted.

The second paper is this one, it was retracted a year ago:

Kunal Garg , Leena Meriläinen , Ole Franz , Heidi Pirttinen , Marco Quevedo-Diaz , Stephen Croucher , Leona Gilbert Evaluating polymicrobial immune responses in patients suffering from tick-borne diseases Scientific Reports (2018) doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-34393-9 

The retraction notice from February 2022 suggests it was due to an honest mistake:

“The main method utilised in this study is an ELISA assay. An investigation by the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, has concluded that the patient selection and description in this Article, and in an unpublished report validating the methods used, do not justify the results presented. The Editors therefore no longer have confidence in the results and conclusions presented in this Article.”

The 30-page long investigative report by the University of Jyvaskyla says something else:

“In the abovementioned articles, Leona Gilbert and Kunal Garg are guilty of research misconduct, disregard for the responsible conduct of research and other irresponsible practices as depicted in the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK) guidelines for the responsible conduct of research”

Kunal Garg is Tezted’s other founder, and Chief Technology Officer.


We learn that the investigation began after the Swedish paediatrician Mats Reimer from Gothenburg complained to the Finnish university in 2017 about Gilbert’s tick test being unreliable and not validated in scientific publications. Swedish SVT reported in December 2020 (translated):

“Canadian-born researcher Leona Gilbert at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland has not only been fired. Her team has been stripped of its research grants and the university has informed the entire research world about the cheating, something that the Swedish Yle was the first to report on.

– I think justice has been done now, says Mats Reimer to SVT Nyheter Väst.

It all started more than three years ago when Leona Gilbert, associate professor of cell and molecular biology, was awarded a fine entrepreneur prize in Finland for her commercial Lyme disease tests. Her own group’s research was the basis for the test, which according to Mats Reimer has not been scientifically evaluated. […]

The university’s investigation team concluded that Leona Gilbert did not even know where the test blood came from, which made the investigation highly uncertain. In addition, she allegedly mixed up different categories of antibodies, which is considered a serious error.”

One reason why Gilbert was publicly shamed and sacked is that she did something one should never do when being investigated for misconduct. As Svenska Yle mentioned in November 2020:

“Leona Gilbert tells Svenska Yle that she is suing the University of Jyväskylä because she was fired. She also claims that in connection with the investigation process, trade secrets concerning her Lyme disease test were leaked. She says that she has reported it to the police.”

Now Tezted sells also tests for molds and COVID-19.

And now Gilbert is editor at MDPI Special issue. Assisted by a
another Chromic Lyme Disease quack from Ireland, John Lambert, associate professor at the University College Dublin (UCD). He previously advertised for Tezted product Tickplex e.g.:


It was an abstract for the Summer Student Research Awards 2019 at the UCD School of Medicine.

In short, Gilbert and Lambert are the perfect team to run an MDPI special issue.

Reimer told me this:

It’s sad to see MDPI provide a platform for the pseudo-scientific side in the Lyme wars.

He’ll be even more saddened to see what else MDPI provides a platform for.

MDPI and racism

In 2019, MDPI published a Special Issue “Beyond Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability”, one year later its owner Shu-Kun Lin expressed admiration for Trump and said “Black Lives Matter. White Lives Matter. All Lives Matter.”

Fake Georgians

Three Hindawi papers have been retracted. Here is one:

Haiyin He , Darchia Maia Application of Grammar Error Detection Method for English Composition Based on Machine Learning Security and Communication Networks (2022) doi: 10.1155/2022/7957365 

The retraction notice from 5 February 2023 stated:

Security and Communication Networks has retracted the article titled “Application of Grammar Error Detection Method for English Composition Based on Machine Learning” [1] due to concerns that the peer review process has been compromised.

Following an investigation conducted by the Hindawi Research Integrity team [2], significant concerns were identified with the peer reviewers assigned to this article; the investigation has concluded that the peer review process was compromised. We therefore can no longer trust the peer review process, and the article is being retracted with the agreement of the Chief Editor.

The authors do not agree to the retraction

A similar-worded retraction notice was posted on 4 December 2022 also for this paper in the same journal:

Ran Li Qiang , Li Fa Guang , Sun Yan Hua , Darchia Maia Art Research Based on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Security and Communication Networks (2022) doi: 10.1155/2022/7853974 

Yet another paper by same corresponding author “Darchia Maia” was retracted on 18 November 2022 in a different Hindawi journal:

Xi Jing , Darchia Maia The Construction and Development of App Application Platform for Public Information Products of Urban Grand Media in the Context of Artificial Intelligence Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine (2021) doi: 10.1155/2021/6974688

This Darchia Maia has other (yet unretracted) papers on PubPeer, all with Chinese coauthors, all in Hindawi journals. But who is she?

Google search finds some Caucasian women from Georgia (not what US Americans understand here!) named Maia Darchia, one is actually a professor, but for Medieval history.

But look at the strange affiliation in these Hindawi papers:

Smut Clyde commented:

“The corresponding author, Darchia Maia, has had three papers retracted on account of bogus peer-review. Maia uses the email account “” and claims to be affiliated to the University of Georgia in Tbilisi. […]

This is all very well, but actual Uni. Georgia email addresses use a different format. This “” domain only exists in problematic papers in Hindawi special issues, and seems to be a forwarding service, set up so that authors can claim to have academic affiliations outside China. “Dr Darchia” seems to be a fake identity.

In this case the Tbilisi university has somehow been conflated with the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, USA. This probably reflects the journal’s incompetence rather than the authors’ attempt to mislead.”

It seems, the Chinese papermillers created a fake Georgian email server which they use to communicate with Hindawi editors. For example:

Yang Rao , Wenwen Zhang , Dan Li , Xiao Li , Yaomei Ma , Pengpeng Qu Circ TYMP1 Inhibits Carcinogenesis and Cisplatin Resistance in Ovarian Cancer by Reducing Smad2/3 Phosphorylation via a MicroRNA-182A-3p/TGF1B Axis Contrast Media & Molecular Imaging (2022) doi: 10.1155/2022/1032557 

“Correspondence should be addressed to Yaomei Ma;”

Even better, look at this Chinese Communist Party propaganda in Hindawi:

Yong Jiang , Guangjian Xu Research on the Cultivation Path of Teenagers’ Sports Health Literacy under the Background of Healthy China Journal of Healthcare Engineering (2022) doi: 10.1155/2022/3031475 

We all know of Chinese people who assume American first names, although unusual for communists. Peterson is a weird choice of a first name, but where did GJ Xu’s acquired Georgian family name Baratashvili come from? Is this papermill humour?

Tiger BB8 solved the mystery:

I have a theory for the zf happens to be an abbreviation of pinyin for Chinese characters 转发, pinyin of these is zhuanfa. 转发 means “re-post” but also means “forwarding””

Science Breakthroughs

Persian Cinnamon

Medical Xpress is a platform serving press releases on biomedical science. Those are usually paid by the research institutions or industries, sometimes by the scholarly publishers responsible for the corresponding research papers. These press releases are also signed by the these clients. Sometimes however you do not know who placed the press release, the clients hide behind an external writer who pretends to be informing you in a totally unbiased as a science journalist.

Like in this case, and it seems the client who paid the writer was an Iranian papermill:

“A team of researchers at Birjand University of Medical Sciences in Iran recently reviewed several past studies exploring the effects of cinnamon on cognitive functions. Their analysis, outlined in Nutritional Neuroscience, highlights the potential value of cinnamon for preventing or reducing memory or learning impairments.

“This study aimed to systematically review studies about the relationship between cinnamon and its key components in memory and learning,” Samaneh Nakhaee, Alireza Kooshki and their colleagues wrote in their paper. “Two thousand six hundred five studies were collected from different databases in September 2021 and went under investigation for eligibility. Forty studies met our criteria and were included in this systematic review.” […]

“In vivo studies showed that using cinnamon or its components, such as eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, and cinnamic acid, could positively alter cognitive function,” Nakhaee, Kooshki and their colleagues wrote in their paper. “In vitro studies also showed that adding cinnamon or cinnamaldehyde to a cell medium can reduce tau aggregation, Amyloid β and increase cell viability.””

There was also something about a clinical study with cinnamon buns to boost intelligence. Basically, cinnamon makes you smart and cures age-related dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and all other diseases.

This is the paper, it’s authors are all Iranian but one (Omid Mehrpour) lists next to Birjand University a second affiliation in USA, namely with Southern Methodist University in Dallas:

Samaneh Nakhaee , Alireza Kooshki , Ali Hormozi , Aref Akbari , Omid Mehrpour , Khadijeh Farrokhfall Cinnamon and cognitive function: a systematic review of preclinical and clinical studies Nutritional Neuroscience (2023) doi: 10.1080/1028415x.2023.2166436 

Initially, I thought this was self-made garbage by individual Iranians, not papermill garbage bought in Iran. But Alexander Magazinov convinced me I was wrong. Look what else these authors Mehrpour and Nakhaee published:

  • Farshad M. Shirazi, Roya Mirzaei, Samaneh Nakhaee, Amir Nejatian, Shokouh Ghafari, Omid Mehrpour Repurposing the drug, ivermectin, in COVID-19: toxicological points of view (2022) doi: 10.1186/s40001-022-00645-8
  • Mahshid Ataei , Farshad M. Shirazi , Samaneh Nakhaee , Mohammad Abdollahi , Omid Mehrpour Assessment of cloth masks ability to limit Covid-19 particles spread: a systematic review (2021) doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-16847-2 Mehrpour affiliated with University of Arizona

I didn’t plan to write about that stupid Persian papermill crap, but unfortunately the press release worked as a very successful clickbait. Media eagerly picked it up. Annoyingly, even the Ukrainian news site Zaborona fell for it.

News in Tweets

  • Nature reports: “The World Health Organization (WHO) has quietly shelved the second phase of its much-anticipated scientific investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, citing ongoing challenges over attempts to conduct crucial studies in China […] Chinese officials rejected the WHO’s plans, taking particular issue with the proposal to investigate lab breaches. Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said the WHO proposal was not agreed by all member states, and that the second phase should not focus on pathways the mission report had already deemed extremely unlikely.” In the article, Nature only quotes scientists known to be opposed to the theory of lab leak origin of COVID-19 and who now pretend to be disappointed.

The Lab Leak Theory

A lab leak theory of the COVID-19 origins has enough circumstantial evidence and historical basis to support the urgent need for an independent and unbiased investigation. But until recently, scientists dismissed lab leak as a conspiracy theory. In public at least.

  • Science reports: “The Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences says it will not retract a paper on anemone fish behavior even though a lengthy university investigation found it was made up. An independent investigative panel at the University of Delaware (UD) concluded last year in a draft report that “discrepancies and issues” with the 2016 study “constitute fabrication.” But the journal said in an editor’s note on 1 February that its own investigation did not turn up enough evidence of fraud, in part because a correction by the authors had solved the paper’s key problem.[…] The paper, authored by marine ecologists Danielle Dixson of UD and Anna Scott of Southern Cross University in Australia, is one of 22 studies published between 2008 and 2018 that […] whistleblowers have claimed are fraudulent.
  • South China Morning Post reports: “Despite threats and complaints, and accusations he is ‘anti-Hindu’, scientist Cyriac Abby Philips has been highlighting cases of liver damage caused by traditional medicine […] While Philips’ Twitter threads have attracted thousands of followers and garnered him interviews on YouTube channels, he has also faced trolling for being anti-Hindu and complaints from organisations accusing him of defamation, including The Ayurveda Medical Association of India, ayurvedic medicine manufacturers, departments of the Kerala state government, and Herbalife. One company called Pankajakasthuri Herbals Pvt Ltd lodged a police report against him for criminal defamation, prompting local officers to show up at Philips’ hospital clinic to question him. Nothing came of the complaint, leading him to believe it was an act of intimidation.
  • MIT Technology Review reports: ““Access NFTs for a follistatin plasmid phase I clinical trial in Prospera ZEDE, Honduras.”The ad had been posted by a biotech startup called Minicircle, which was recruiting participants for a clinical trial of gene therapy. […] Minicircle’s trials are going ahead in Próspera, an aspiring libertarian paradise born from controversial legislation that has allowed international businesses to carve off bits of Honduras and establish their own micronations. It’s a radical experiment that is allowing a private company to take on the role of the state.”
  • A racist US professor about to be sacked by the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, as Vox reports: “Amy Wax is facing sanction for racist and sexist statements made publicly and privately. Wax, a lawyer and neurologist who started her career at the solicitor general’s office under Presidents Reagan, H.W. Bush, and Clinton, has become something of a standard-bearer for the right’s war on wokeness” One Wax quote: “embracing cultural distance, cultural distance nationalism, means in effect taking the position that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer non-whites”, another: “people of color needed to stop acting entitled to remedies, to stop getting pregnant, to get better jobs, and to be more focused on reciprocity.”
  • How to get yourself into The New York Times, while “virtually unknown even in academic circles in the United States“- learn here: “In interviews and public appearances, Yusuke Narita, an assistant professor of economics at Yale, has taken on the question of how to deal with the burdens of Japan’s rapidly aging society. “I feel like the only solution is pretty clear,” he said during one online news program in late 2021. “In the end, isn’t it mass suicide and mass ‘seppuku’ of the elderly?” […] At other times, he has broached the topic of euthanasia. “The possibility of making it mandatory in the future,” he said in one interview, will “come up in discussion.”
  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” – Oscar Wilde. “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso, a lifelong caviar communist would have loved how Chinese science developed.
  • University of Ferrara professor Mauro G. Tognon on his lab’s Mazzoni et al 2017: “Sir/Madam, I am not familiar with the pixel. […] There is no reason to duplicate a field of infected cells. In addition, this aspect does not alter the scientific data, written in the figure’s legend, and of our article. I apologize, if the mistake occurred, with the readers. Original images are not any more available” In 2019, Tognon signed the “manifesto” in support of his then-rector, research fraudster, and unhinged dictator Giorgio Zauli.

La Piovra Ferrarese di Giorgio Zauli

Giorgio Zauli’s rectorship term ends. Will research fraud, media harassment and whistleblower persecution be a thing of the past at the University of Ferrara? Ma dai, basta cazzate.

  • It seems Harvard cracks down on research fraud. If it’s commited by Chinese, that is, the white fraudsters are all safe. 5 retractions for Edward Whang, asscociate professor for surgery. Whang’s coauthor on all of those, Mark Duxbury, is white, but he is a) in Scotland and b) left academia. Clare Francis informed Retraction Watch of the retraction notices in the journals Oncogene and Surgery which reference an investigation by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
  • As usual with Chawla’s reporting, he omits key information while quoting: “The Editor-in-Chief does not agree with the wording used and doesn’t in any way promote citations to the journal as an acceptance criterion. He is now talking with the other Editors of the journal to reinforce this point.” Citation gaming is widespread in scholarly publishing and in the case of International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, run by a Turkish family (Veziroglu), probably the smallest problem with that toxic fraud-factory.

Erdogan’s academic elites

Önder Metin had a rogue PhD student whom he trusted “to ensure their academic growth”. But “mistakes were made by mistake”, conclusions are never affected. Yet those who still complain, will pay dearly.

Another Jewish conspiracy against Ruggiero Santilli!

EU Commission gives €6 million to an obscure German start-up, promising to convert sewage to synthetic fuels. Internet sources suggest behind all this is “Professor” Ruggiero Santilli, the litigious “Florida Genius”, eternally self-appointed Nobel Prize candidate and sock- puppeteering businessman. Exactly the kind of “fringe scientist” Smut Clyde likes to write about!


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6 comments on “Schneider Shorts 17.02.2023 – A universal cure of high moral excellence

  1. magazinovalex

    To be fair, I got a reply from Urbana-Champaign, which announces an investigation into Gardoni according to:

    Click to access Integrity-in-Research-Publication-policy%20(3).pdf

    These guidelines seem to be written with two purposes in mind: first, to make an appearance of all-encompassing instructions; second, to nevertheless allow them to be easily rigged towards any predetermined outcome (or none at all).


  2. magazinovalex

    Fraser “My Role Was Purely Honorary” Stoddart 😉


  3. The centre for Multi-hazard Approach to Engineering “was established in 1997 by the National Science Foundation”, 25 years ago, but it doesn’t appear to be funded by NSF any longer (that probably dried up 15 years ago, most NSF centers go for 10 years max). Gardoni’s publishing issues aside, he does not have any current NSF funding. He had two prior NSF grants but thus have both expired. His active and expired NSF awards can be searched here:

    Liked by 1 person

  4. magazinovalex

    More Rajender S Varma shenanigans. Because it’s never enough.


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