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University of Manchester clears husband and wife of research misconduct

Ralf Paus and Silvia Bulfone-Paus, a husband-and-wife duo whose labs have come under suspicion for research misconduct, have been exonerated by the University of Manchester, UK, according to Times Higher Education.

The two biomedical scientists spend 20 percent of their time at the University of Manchester, the rest at the University of Lubeck, Germany.

A previous investigation into Bulfone-Paus’ laboratory at the Research Center Borstel, where she chairs the department of immunology and cell biology, found, in 2010, that two former post-docs had used pictures of protein blots from unrelated experiments to support their findings on signalling in cells involved in allergic reactions. Bulfone-Paus, senior author on the papers, bore “substantial responsibility” for her mentees misconduct. So far, 12 papers have been retracted. Bulfone-Paus was forced to cut the size of her laboratory and give up her post as director of Research Center Borstel.

In May, fresh research misconduct accusations emerged over 6 additional papers from Paus, 5 of which included his wife as a co-author, according to Times Higher Education. A University of Manchester panel decided that a formal investigation into these charges was unnecessary. The University of Lubeck is also investigating the matter.

The duo were also targeted by an anonymous internet campaign, which Nature lamented in an editorial last year.


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