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Former chemistry grad student found guilty of fraud

MethaneSM.pngA former graduate student has been found guilty of misconduct in a high profile case that rocked the chemistry community four years ago and resulted in the retraction of six papers.

Dalibor Sames, a chemist at Columbia University in New York, retracted the six papers between March and June, 2006, when he and his colleagues found they could not reproduce the results. The research focused on selectively breaking carbon-hydrogen bonds within molecules with the aim of modifying the molecules for industrial purposes, such as producing pharmaceuticals or fuels.

The Office of Research Integrity yesterday published a notice finding Bengu Sezen, a former graduate student in Sames’s lab, guilty of 21 counts of misconduct – specifically, falsifying, fabricating and plagiarizing data in three papers and in her doctoral dissertation.

The punishment: a five year ban on “any contracting or subcontracting with any agency of the United States Government” – that is, receiving US funding — and on “serving in any advisory capacity to the US Public Health Service (PHS)” – such as scientific peer review.

Sezen completed another doctorate in the lab of chromosome biologist Elmar Schiebel at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. According to a list of lab alumni posted on Schiebel’s website, she then moved on to become a group leader at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Image: ball and stick model of methane (CH4) via Wikipedia


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    Kaye said:

    She must be very frustrated that she was able to do such things. However, it is still a happy ending for Sezen as she was able to move on and find a successful career.



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