U stem cell research data deemed falsified


Published data from a high-profile University stem cell research lab were found to be falsified, an investigative committee announced Tuesday.

The data were published in the medical journal Blood and came from a federally funded stem cell research project.

The University committee concluded some of the images used in the data “were altered in such a way that the manipulation misrepresented experimental data and sufficiently altered the original research record to constitute falsification under federal regulations and University policy,” according to a University news release.

The committee’s findings have been given to the federal Office for Research Integrity for another review and possible additional action needed under federal rules governing research funded by the Public Health Service.

The lab’s findings showed the possibility that a rare type of adult bone marrow stem cells could be used to generate other tissue, according to New Scientist , another publication that was among the first to question the findings.

The investigation focused on two researchers: Dr. Morayma Reyes and Dr. Catherine Verfaillie. Verfaillie was previously a full-time tenured University faculty member, and is now the director of the Stem Cell Institute at the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium, while retaining a 10 percent faculty appointment here.

Reyes was a University student in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program at the time the data were published and now is an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Washington.

The committee found the allegations against Verfaillie unsubstantiated and did not release the Reyes findings, citing laws governing private student data, but no other members of the research team were subject to the investigation.

The panel also found “poor scientific method and inadequate training and oversight for this research” at the University and “made frequent reference to insufficient oversight throughout the report,” according to the news release.

The University has asked the journal to retract the article.