On 7 April 2010 the Spanish diabetes researcher Margarita Lorenzo died of metastatic melanoma, aged only 51. Two months after her death, Lorenzo’s colleagues submitted a paper to the journal Diabetes. The paper, which studies the mechanisms of obesity and insulin resistance, seems to be full of manipulated western blot data. While Lorenzo was dying of cancer, her colleagues advanced their careers using her reputation, using their own disreputable Photoshop skills.
German diabetologist Kathrin Maedler is a central figure of a questionable academic dynasty. Using Photoshop simulations, she discovered a cure for diabetes, which was then allegedly validated in clinical trials led by her Swiss PhD advisor Marc Donath. 15 years later, the Maedler-Donath diabetes cure was proven as utterly ineffective by same Donath, in another clinical trial. Maedler’s own PhD student, Amin Ardestani is group leader in Bremen, despite data irregularities and unacknowledged textual reuse in his thesis.
The following email exchange took place between the academic Editor-in-Chief of an Elsevier subscription journal and a professor of physics and astronomy, who was invited to peer review a clinical trial study on gestational diabetes, his expertise assumed from some obscure “keywords”.