Researcher accused of faking red wine studies
WASHINGTON — A US university on Thursday accused one of its researchers of widespread fraud by publishing fake studies that touted the benefits of red wine in as many as 11 scientific journals.
Dipak Das, a professor in the department of surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center, “is guilty of 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data,” a university statement said.
A three-year investigation into Das’s work began in 2008 after an anonymous tip alleging irregularities in his research.
The university has sent letters to the 11 journals that published Das’s work and has declined $890,000 in federal grants awarded to him.
“We have a responsibility to correct the scientific record and inform peer researchers across the country,” said Philip Austin, interim vice president for health affairs.
Das, who published work on the benefit of resveratrol in red wine as well as crushed garlic for the heart, is being dismissed from the university where he has worked since 1984, the statement added.
Das’s lawyer said allegations against Das could be “easily refuted” and said “charges against him involve prejudice within the university against Indian researchers,” said a statement quoted by the website Retraction Watch.
While Das’s work was cited hundreds of times, most of the journals he published in were minor ones and do not up-end the entire field of research on resveratrol, one expert said.
“There are many investigators who are working on resveratrol. That doesn’t mean we know the whole truth. But Rome wasn’t built on Dr. Das,” Nir Barzilai, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told Retraction Watch.
The compound has been touted for heart benefits, anti-inflammatory properties and protective effects against neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes.