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January 21, 2013
Dr. Das Sues U Conn. Good Luck With That.
About this time last year, I mentioned Prof. Dipak Das at the University of Connecticut, who was the involved in a large accusation of research fraud. That second link has some quotes from a press release put out by Resveratrol Partners defending Prof. Das and his work, and I've just received another one. So if you're wondering how these things work here in these days of modern times, this is how:
Noted red wine molecule heart researcher Dipak Das PhD has filed a $35 million defamation claim against the University of Connecticut (U CONN) Health Center for wrongful termination, violation of the university’s by-laws, and lack of due process as protected by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
I don't see a copy of the press release out on the web yet (I'll put up a link when one shows up). One of its claims is that Das's work on resveratrol and heart attacks has not been shown to be invalid:
Specifically, U CONN Health Center authorities claimed Dr. Das had altered images showing the production of gene-derived proteins (called a western blot image). But alteration of these images would only change understanding of the underlying genetic mechanisms involved in Dr. Das’ experiments, not the conclusions of his studies which showed unequivocal ability of resveratrol to protect the heart prior to and during a heart attack.
I believe that this effort is going to be an uphill fight, because those alterations, if they occurred (which they most certainly seem to have) would be enough grounds for dismissal by themselves. The press release also makes much of the university's accusation that Das was the only person with a key to the office where the images were manipulated, saying that this was not the case, that students went in and out all the time. I don't care. Das was the lead author on all those papers, and if he couldn't keep up with his own lab's work enough to catch any of these things, he wan't doing his job. Das was fired from U Conn last year, and (via Retraction Watch, which has him at 19 retractions so far), I see that the university's board of trustees unanimously affirmed that decision.
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