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Fraud accusations hit prize

Winner of prestigious German scientific award under scrutiny after anonymous allegation

Ned Stafford(scientistnews@yahoo.com)

A winner of one of Germany's most prestigious and financially generous scientific research prizes did not participate in the award ceremony this Wednesday (March 2) after being accused in an anonymous letter of publishing false data.

Stefanie Dimmeler, a 37-year-old biologist at the University of Frankfurt, was named in early December as one of 10 winners of the German Research Foundation's (DFG's) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize for her work in atherosclerosis. Each Leibniz Prize carries a cash award of €1.55 million (USD $2.05 million).

But a few days after Dimmeler was named as a prize winner, DFG President Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker received an anonymous letter referring to a November 2003 article in Nature Medicine coauthored by Dimmeler that included a wrongly labeled panel image of mouse cells. A copy of the letter to Winnacker also was sent to German scientific journal Laborjournal, which printed excerpts.

DFG spokeswoman Eva-Maria...

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