Menu

Investigation Finds Cell Biologist Guilty of Misconduct

Yoshinori Watanabe of the University of Tokyo was found to have tampered with images in five prominent publications. 

Aug 2, 2017
Aggie Mika

WIKIMEDIA, DADEROTAfter a lengthy investigation, the University of Tokyo concluded yesterday (August 1) that one of its foremost cell biologists, Yoshinori Watanabe, fabricated images in five of his group’s research papers, according to a Science news report.

The investigation began in August of 2016 and was prompted by allegations of misconduct in 22 research papers. The committee leading the investigation cleared five out of the six laboratories involved, determining that these groups were guilty of “minor inconsistencies” in their papers, but nothing more, according to the news report. Watanabe’s group, on the other hand, was charged with manipulating graphs and images in his prominent papers, some of which were published in Nature and Science.

Watanabe acknowledged these problems in June by posting a detailed series of corrections on his web page, citing that mistaken cell lines, improper procedures, and flawed assay protocols were to blame for the image inconsistencies, Science reported that month. “We believe that none of the errors affect the main conclusions of any of the reports,” Watanabe wrote in his corrections.

“The case has shaken the community of scientists who study how cells divide, in which Watanabe was a pillar,” reports Nature. “These are discoveries that have been validated, repeated, built on, and continue to be central to our understanding of cell division,” cell biologist Iain Cheeseman of the Whitehead Institute tells Nature.

According to Nature, investigators discovered that Watanabe was in the habit of manipulating images and had also shown his student how to do so. The University has yet to decide what actions it will take, and plans to look into other publications from Watanabe’s lab. 

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice cutting tools—which feature our patent-pending safety blades—meet many lab-specific requirements. Our scalpels and craft knives are well suited for delicate work, and our utility knives are good for general use.

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

Every minute counts when waiting for accurate diagnostic test results to guide critical care decisions, making today's clinical lab more important than ever. In fact, nearly 70 percent of critical care decisions are driven by a diagnostic test.

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC’s Genomics division announced it is transforming its branding under LGC, Biosearch Technologies, a unified portfolio brand integrating optimised genomic analysis technologies and tools to accelerate scientific outcomes.