Thursday, January 15, 2015

How will these graduate students be made whole?

Via Retraction Watch, a really terrible story of a pharmaceutical sciences laboratory run by Professor Uday B. Kompella at UC-Denver's medical school where one of the graduate students was falsifying LC/MS data and making other students look bad in the process.

To left, a screenshot of the internal UC-Denver report talking about Rajendra Kadam, the "golden boy" referenced in the report.

What do you think the innocent graduate students got out of this process? Do you think the UC-Denver Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences is going to specially shepherd these students into their postdoctoral positions, with letters from the department chair saying "please don't look poorly on this student -- she's a very good worker and this scandal shouldn't reflect poorly on them?" Somehow I doubt it.

Collateral damage doesn't just happen from drone strikes. 

10 comments:

  1. I was a graduate student in a lab where the "Golden Boy" was found to have faked tons of results. This sounds eerily similar, but from a different university.

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  2. I wonder if class action lawsuit of the former students (for breach of breach of contract and coverup of federal funding - related fraud that caused irreparable career harm) would have a standing. The punitive damages could be astronomical. The same would apply to the scandal at Duke

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  3. There really are not a lot of good labs to work in out there in academic science, and this is just one of the problems (a very serious one) that could happen. I have worked in about 5 labs now in my career and in each one there was something about it, whether it be a difficult boss, co-worker, or project, that made it untenable.

    If you have a good experience in a lab thank your lucky stars.

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  4. All too often the Golden Children turn out to be pyrite. Either they take short cuts or maintain their positions by viciously undercutting those around them. It looks like both apply here.

    Unfortunately, that's life for you. Unfair things happen to people all the time, sometimes with far worse consequences. Hopefully, the wronged parties are young enough to find something else to do. Perhaps that something will be more personally satisfying than what they would have gotten if this scandal were to have never happened.

    Multiple lawsuits would be warranted, but I suspect that Kadam has already, in the tradition of past fraudsters, disappeared off the face of the earth. Perhaps he'll make his way to a Turkish University...

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  5. There seems to be a problem with accountability here in that the faculty member is absolved of guilt. It seems to me that if a Professor is so ignorant of his lab proceedings that this kind of long term falsification is possible has failed to carry out his or her duties. At the very least this seems like gross negligence and I feel some sort of probationary period is in order at the very least.

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  6. The problem is that when everyone wants gold but only wants to pay for pyrite, they'll probably get pyrite whether they realize it or not.

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  7. There should be a public record database for these misconduct persons. The punishment should be from top down.

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  8. perhaps a minor point, but really, no one could run the LC-MS? and the Golden Boy couldn't teach them because they were not required to? ridiculous...it's a simple instrument, and this just shows the toxic culture of this research group

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  9. Every time I read something like this it makes me realise even more how lucky I was to be supervised by a scientist with strong principles when it came to research and in how to treat people. Unfortunately I think the pressures (esp. funding pressures) are increasingly selecting for people who readily put principles to one side in order to get ahead and this is the result. Now that I am back working in HE (in the UK) I really feel that there is a major cultural issue here in academic science that needs to be very strongly addressed.

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  10. Funding has all but dried up in academic science. Ethics get thrown out the door when that happens. It's even more difficult on the medical school side of academics because the students do not have the option of being a TA like the chemistry students do so. That is a big bone for chemistry professors.

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