Three Former University of Wyoming Affiliates Found Guilty of Research Misconduct
Some retractions requests have been processed for former professor’s research work
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Jun Ren, a former pharmaceutical sciences professor at the University of Wyoming, has been investigated twice and found guilty of research misconduct by the university in 2015 and 2021. (Courtesy photo from the University of Wyoming)
By Shen Wu Tan
Special to the Wyoming Truth
Three former individuals associated with the University of Wyoming have been found guilty of research misconduct, and corrective action is in progress.
The university found that former pharmaceutical sciences professor Jun Ren, former biomedical sciences student Rui Guo and former postdoctoral fellow Yingmei Zhang violated research conduct standards, according to a news alert released Tuesday. In response, UW has requested 33 retractions of published articles.
Thirteen of 33 retractions requests have been processed so far, said Carolyn Brandt, a research integrity officer at UW. The retractions requests process began in May.
“All individuals were found guilty of data falsification, which is the alteration of original research data,” Brandt told the Wyoming Truth Tuesday. “In these cases, images representing biological analysis of samples were intentionally manipulated to misrepresent original data to alter the presented research outcome.”
Brandt added those found guilty could face a variety of potential consequences, such as increased federal oversight, sanctions or debarment which may prevent them from receiving federal research funds or working on federally-funded research.
Ren, the former professor whose research focused on heart disease, has been investigated twice and found guilty of research misconduct by UW in 2015 and 2021. He was still at the university when he was first found guilty in 2015, but had left before being found guilty a second time. Ren previously served as director of the INBRE program, which focused on biomedical research, and as associate dean for research at UW, according to Retraction Watch, a publication that monitors retractions.
Ren was removed as director of the multi-million dollar research program and had two papers retracted despite his objections, the publication reported.
In a May letter to Eldrin Lewis, the American Heart Association’s chair of scientific publishing committee, about the retracted articles, Ren said that he regrets the mistakes from his lab and that he “overcommitted” himself in administrative work and “failed to stay on top of my own research lab closely.”
Ren was recognized as one of the most highly cited researchers for 2021 by Clarivate, an analytics company.
In 2020, Ren resigned from UW and returned to his home country of China, said Brandt. The Wyoming Truth attempted to contact Ren, but did not receive a response.
Guo, the former biomedical sciences student, was found guilty of research misconduct in 2021. She served as a co-author with Ren on two publications that have retraction requests. She earned her Ph.D. from UW in 2018 and returned to her home country of China. The Wyoming Truth attempted to contact Guo through social media, but did not hear back from her.
Zhang, a former postdoctoral fellow who worked with Ren, was found guilty of violating research conduct standards in 2015. She had finished her postdoctoral fellowship with Ren and returned to her home country of China in 2011. The Wyoming Truth was unable to contact Zhang.
Brandt, the research integrity officer, said, “Since these individuals are no longer affiliated with UW, there are no additional actions UW may take regarding their employment.”