Ex-U. Iowa Researcher Falsified Data In A 2005 Study

This story was written by Regina Zilbermints, The Daily Iowan
A former University of Iowa scientist falsified data in a 2005 UI research study, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has concluded.

The department found last week that Jusan Yang, a molecular biologist at the UI from 1997-2005, "engaged in scientific misconduct by falsifying and fabricating data that were reported in a scientific manuscript intended for publication," according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The UI Office of Research Integrity helped conduct the initial investigation.

The falsified data were removed from the manuscript prior to publication, but they were presented at two professional conferences.

Though Yang couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday evening, he said in the report that he doesn't intend to apply for further public-health research funding. If he participates in research funded by the Office of Public Health and Science, he will have to contend with a series of restrictions for the next five years.

Any institution that allows Yang to participate in future research must submit a plan to the public-health agency detailing how he will be supervised and how it will ensure the integrity of his contribution.

When the institution submits a report, manuscript, or abstract to the public-health agency, it must also submit a certification that Yang's data are legitimate.

Yang will no longer be allowed to serve the public-health agency in any advisory capacity.

This isn't the first instance of a UI researcher falsifying reports. Two other research assistants have falsified information on documents, according to the UI Office of Research Integrity. Both were given the same punishment - a three-year grant suspension.

In 1995, UI research assistant Denise Conrad fabricated questionnaires in a study for the preventative-medicine department.

Conrad was sentenced to a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement, which meant she couldn't apply for or receive funds the three years following her misconduct.

In 2004, Pat Palmer, assistant research scientist who falsified grant-application information, was given the same three-year grant suspension, but was not terminated from the program.

"Falsifying data on a manuscript essentially means the end of your career," said Robert Cornell, a UI associate professor of anatomy and cell biology. "That's why it's important not to do it, because no one will take you seriously after that."

DI reporters Amanda McClure and Katie Hansen contributed to this report.