Montreal Heart Institute Researcher Fired After Investigation of Retracted Papers

Zhiguo Wang, PHD

Zhiguo Wang, a researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI), has been fired less than a month after wide publicity over the retraction of two papers which he had co-authored, Retraction Watch reports. The director of the MHI, Jean-Claude Tardif, said at a press conference that a hospital investigation had resulted in a recommendation that three more of Wang’s articles be retracted.

Wang had received funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Canadian Diabetes Association and held a faculty appointment at the University of Montreal. He is a widely published author of research focusing on the genetics of arrhythmias.

The Journal of Biological Chemistry first posted the retractions In its August 12 issue. Tardif said that the MHI was first informed about the retractions at the end of June, prompting an investigation by an independent expert committee. The committee concluded that Wang “was found to have deviated from MHI’s ethical standards of proper scientific conduct and his responsibilities as a researcher.” Tardif said that Wang’s research privileges and status as researcher had been removed and that his laboratory had been closed.

At the press conference Tardif emphasized that Wang was “not a physician. His activities at the MHI consisted in conducting fundamental research studies at the cellular level. Mr. Wang’s research work did not involve patients and was not associated with any drug testing.”

In response to the original article on Retraction Watch on August 8, a number of readers provided additional information and speculation about Wang and the nature and scope of his scientific misconduct.

Here are the two withdrawn papers, published in 2007 and 2008:

Here is the press release from the Montreal Heart Institute:

The Montreal Heart Institute withdraws the privileges of a fundamental research scientist

MONTREAL, Sept. 2, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ – During today’s press conference, Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director of the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) Research Centre, gave a briefing on the allegations of scientific misconduct with regard to the fundamental research work of Mr. Zhiguo Wang.

Dr. Tardif explained that, at the end of June, the MHI Research Centre’s officials were informed that two of Mr. Zhiguo Wang’s publications had been retracted from two scientific journals. The MHI’s management immediately mandated an independent expert committee to investigate allegations of possible scientific misconduct. The investigation was conducted in accordance with MHI’s Research Institutional Policy and the highest level of ethical standards for conducting scientific research.

Following a rigorous process, the expert committee concluded that Mr. Wang was found to have deviated from MHI’s ethical standards of proper scientific conduct and his responsibilities as a researcher. The report and names of the committee members will be kept confidential in order to protect the identity of all those involved and to maintain the confidentiality of the scientific misconduct denunciation process, in accordance with MHI’s policies and general guidelines.

In compliance with the recommendations of the committee and senior management of the Research Centre, the MHI’s Executive Director took the immediate action to proceed with the necessary sanctions; Mr. Wang’s research privileges and status as researcher were removed and his laboratory was closed. The MHI has also requested the retraction of three additional scientific articles. The MHI ensured that all relevant stakeholders were informed in order to guarantee that all necessary measures surrounding this situation were being implemented.

Dr. Tardif also stated that: ” Mr. Zhiguo Wang is not a physician. His activities at the MHI consisted in conducting fundamental research studies at the cellular level. Mr. Wang’s research work did not involve patients and was not associated with any drug testing.”

About the Montreal Heart Institute: www.icm-mhi.org

Comments

  1. I believe that purposeful repeated scientific fraud should be treated as a criminal matter. Think of the resources wasted as well as potential harm to patients and society.

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