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Findings of Research Misconduct

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Office of the Secretary, HHS.




Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has taken final action in the following case:

Sagar S. Mungekar, PhD, New York University School of Medicine: Based on the Respondent's written admission and set forth below, the New York University School of Medicine (NYUSOM) and the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) found that Sagar S. Mungekar, PhD, former MD/PhD student in the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYUSOM, engaged in research misconduct in research supported by National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grants R01 GM35769, R01 GM55624, and T32 GM07308, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH, grant T32 AI007180.

Dr. Mungekar admitted that in his PhD thesis he “increased statistical significance of the calculated means and standards of deviation [sic] of the UV spectrophometic [sic] data presented by discarding certain experimental data and thus presented data that was falsified. In addition, as the repression ratios calculated and conclusions reached based on these data that included falsified data, those values and conclusions are fabricated. Approximately, 60-75 of the [Respondent's] PhD research data was changed or falsified.” Dr. Mungekar also admitted “while doing these experiments, I did not sequence all of the constructs that I constructed, thus, I could not be certain of the exact identity of the plasmids in question.”

ORI found that Dr. Mungekar engaged in research misconduct (42 CFR 93.103) by fabricating and falsifying data. Specifically, ORI found that Dr. Mungekar falsified five tables and five figures (Tables 2-1, 2-2, 3-1, 4-1, 4-2 and Figures 2-3, 3-1, 3-2, 4-3, and 4-4) in his Ph.D. thesis entitled “Autoregulation of Ribonuclease E,” by discarding certain spectrophotometric data, to increase statistical significance, used to calculate repression ratios and RNA decay rates. Dr. Mungekar also claimed to have constructed 53 different reporter plasmids with RNase E mutants, when sequencing data did not exist to support this claim.

Dr. Mungekar has entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement in which he has voluntarily agreed, for a period of three (3) years, beginning on November 22, 2010:

(1) That any institution that submits an application for PHS support for a research project on which the Respondent's participation is proposed or that uses him in any capacity on PHS-supported research, or that submits a report of PHS-funded research in which he is involved, must concurrently submit a plan for supervision of his duties to ORI for approval; the supervisory plan must be designed to ensure the scientific integrity of his research contribution; Respondent agrees that he will not participate in any PHS-supported research until such a supervision plan is submitted to ORI;

(2) that any institution employing him submits, in conjunction with each application for PHS funds, or report, manuscript, or abstract involving PHS-funded research in which he is involved, a certification to ORI that the data provided by the Respondent are based on actual experiments or are otherwise legitimately derived and that the data, procedures, and methodology are accurately reported in the application or report; and

(3) to exclude himself voluntarily from serving in any advisory capacity to the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), including but not limited to service on any PHS advisory committee, board, and/or peer review committee, or as a consultant.

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Director, Division of Investigative Start Printed Page 77642Oversight, Office of Research Integrity, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 750, Rockville, MD 20852, (240) 453-8800.

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John Dahlberg,

Director, Division of Investigative Oversight, Office of Research Integrity.

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[FR Doc. 2010-31168 Filed 12-10-10; 8:45 am]