The University of Kentucky announced Friday that it seeking the resignation of two professors in its College of Medicine, citing “significant research misconduct.”
UK is alleging that professors Xianglin Shi and Zhuo Zhang in the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology falsified or fabricated data in their research. The university has been internally investigating the professors’ work for more than a year, and in a press release UK said the resulting 1,000 page report lays out issues with the data and seven grant proposals and at least 13 scholarly papers.
UK is also seeking retraction of the publications that cite the questionable data.
“As the University of Kentucky supports outstanding research to address Kentucky’s most significant and protracted challenges, we are committed to a continual examination of our processes, policies, and procedures to protect against research misconduct. Our research must be conducted in an ethical and responsible manner, consistent with our published policies and standards,” UK Provost Blackwell and UK Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis said in a joint statement. “In the rare instances when researchers violate our expectations and standards, the University will act forcefully and without hesitation to investigate the misconduct, correct it, and take steps to prevent recurrence.”
UK has already terminated the employment of staff research scientist Donghern Kim, who worked in Zhang’s lab.
The committee that investigated the research found “some instances of an intentional effort to deceive, and in other instances, careless and reckless handling of experimental data and figure construction for grants and publications.”
If Shi and Zhang do not resign, the university will begin the process to terminate their employment.
This story will be updated.