April 27, 2018

Ohio State Reveals Resignation of PI for Misconduct

Six months after the fact, the Ohio State University announced that a research professor resigned amid a finding of “intentional” research misconduct; at the same time, Ohio State took the rare step of publicly releasing parts of its investigative report. Ohio State officials said Ching-Shih Chen, formerly a professor of medicinal chemistry and chair of cancer research and therapy, resigned in September after officials determined he had “committed research misconduct related to figures in eight journal articles.” Ohio State found 14 of 21 allegations of research misconduct to be valid. Chen had learned Ohio State “planned to terminate his employment as a result” of the finding. Ohio State is requiring retractions of the articles, which were published from 2006 to 2014. Three additional papers, published from 2004 to 2014, will be corrected.

 

In 2008, OSU granted exclusive rights to a pharmaceutical company to test and commercialize two “anti-cancer small-molecule agents” that Chen developed. An “initial inquiry” committee looked into misconduct allegations against Chen from April to November 2016, after which Ohio State began an official investigation, according to the final report, which was lightly redacted. The investigation concluded “the falsified data were related to basic research done” in Chen’s lab but that the misconduct “did not affect” the agents. A phase I trial of an agent was suspended in June 2017. In December, a consulting firm Ohio State hired recommended the trial and related activities resume, saying that the “safety” of trial subjects was not jeopardized. It was not clear from the report whether the trial has been restarted. The completed investigation, dated Sept. 12, 2017, and released March 30, was forwarded to the HHS Office of Research Integrity for evaluation as to whether Chen should face federal sanctions, such as debarment from receiving U.S. funding in the future.

 

Link to OSU announcement, report: https://tinyurl.com/yb58n8cw