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Stanford University president defends allegations of scientific misconduct

Stanford University president Mark Tessier Lavigne issued his first major public statement Monday after allegations of research misconduct surfaced, believing in the accuracy of data disputed in a paper he co-authored. said.

“I am dedicated to the rigorous pursuit of truth,” Tessier Lavigne said. In a letter to Stanford University“The integrity of my work is of utmost importance to me and I take any concerns expressed very seriously.”

“I want to make it clear that I have never submitted a paper without a firm belief that the data were accurate and accurately presented,” he said in a statement. I would like to make it clear that I am responsible for any concerns.”

Experts have identified at least seven papers containing the suspect images, co-authored by neuroscientist Tessier Lavigne.

In three of these cases, Tessier-Lavigne had reported the problem to the journal long ago, but the journal did nothing.

The Stanford University board of trustees announced late last week that it would appoint a task force to investigate the concerns. pub peer and reported by stanford daily.

The claim does not imply that the paper’s scientific conclusions are inaccurate. Rather, some of the auxiliary images appear to have been manipulated. In one example, the image appears duplicated and inverted. It looks like another image was copied. Yet another includes photographs that create a distorted perspective.

Some appear to be the result of deliberate editing, while others may be errors due to improper labeling, misunderstandings, or careless lab work.

The issue, originally reported anonymously, was Elizabeth Bicknationally recognized experts in image analysis and research integrity.

Tessie LavigneFormer President of The Rockefeller University and Chief Scientific Officer of Genentech, he is nationally respected for his work on brain development and repair, specifically the proteins that control the growth of major nerve fibers in the developing spinal cord. It has been.

He was senior author on three papers, the Cell paper in 1999 and two papers published in Science in 2001.

Senior authors typically oversee data preparation and experimental design on an ongoing basis — daily, weekly, or monthly, experts said.

The people doing the actual work in the lab send the data to the senior authors. Or sit together as a team and review. Then go through everything again to find any errors before the manuscript is submitted to the journal.

Shortly before being named president of Stanford University in 2016, Tessier-Lavigne told Science in 2015 that several images in those papers raised concerns. Science editor-in-chief Holden Thorp confirmed that the fix had been submitted, but was not posted “due to an error.”

“We regret this error, apologize to the scientific community, and plan to share our next steps related to these two papers as soon as possible,” Thorpe said in a statement.

Tessier-Lavigne also contacted the journal Cell in 2015 regarding concerns about the 1999 paper. According to a statement, Cell’s editors “assessed the issue” at the time and told Tessier Lavigne “did not believe further action was necessary.” Since then, the journal Cell has initiated its own review of the research.

Recently, new concerns were raised about images in one of the Science papers and another in the Cell paper.

Of the other four papers, Tessier-Lavigne was an intermediate author.

Ideally, anyone listed as an author in the paper should verify the data, said one biologist, who asked not to use his name because of the confidentiality of the Stanford University study. But for large papers with many authors, that is impractical.

Tessier-Lavigne said he did not contribute to the data in these papers. Rather, they came from other labs led by other members of the team.

The Stanford University Board of Trustees has convened a task force to investigate the allegations. Its members include Yahoo’s Jerry Yang. Carol C. Lam, General Counsel of Qualcomm, Inc. Her partner Jeffrey E. Stone, senior at international law firm McDermott Will & Emery, and her private equity giant TPG’s James Coulter.

Trustee Felix Baker resigned on Monday following a conflict of interest allegation filed by the Stanford Daily. Baker’s investment firm holds his $18 million stake in his Denali Therapeutics, a biotech company co-founded by Tessier-Lavigne.

Previous cases of alleged scientific misconduct at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and other research campuses have generally been investigated by the institutions themselves. But some say internal investigators may be tempted to keep the issue under wraps.

“Academia’s standard playbook. Don’t you want to see the injustice of those in power? Simple. Dr. Nancy Olivieri, a hematologist and science whistleblower in Toronto, tweeted.

The Stanford committee will seek help from outside independent advisers, board chair Jerry Yang said in a statement Friday.

As the committee moves forward with its work “at all deliberate speed,” Yang said Tessier Lavigne will continue to lead the campus.

“Since the appointment of President Tessier Lavigne in 2016, he has effectively led the university with integrity and honor. doing.”

https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2022/12/06/stanford-president-the-data-were-correct-and-accurately-presented/ Stanford University president defends allegations of scientific misconduct

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