More University of Utah researchers are in the hot seat not long after a fellow researcher was punished for tampering with data from 11 papers.
This latest incident also involves possible tampering. The University Health Care's medical ethics department is looking into claims that researchers possibly backed up their nanotechnology theory using manipulated microscopic images.
"We have concerns enough to prompt a thorough investigation, but we haven't made a determination yet about what happened," the university’s medical ethics chief Jeffrey Botkin told The Salt Lake Tribune.
That investigation began after a blogger accused the researchers of digitally altering the images in the paper, “Chopstick Nanorods: Tuning the Angle between Pairs with High Yield,” which was first published in the journal Nano Letters in June but retracted Aug. 15 after the accusations were made.
The paper discussed the possibility of creating synthetic antibodies using a novel way of altering microscopic matter. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, a second paper with the same lead author, assistant chemical engineering professor Leonard Pease and another author involved in both papers, graduate research assistant Rajasekhar Anumolu, is also being investigated due to allegations of manipulated images.
Neither author would comment to either the Associated Press or The Tribune about the allegations.
Botkin told The Tribune that the investigation should take around four months.