Researcher who discovered benefits of red wine fabricated data

Posted Jan 13, 2012 by Kathleen Blanchard
Researcher Dipak Das is accused by the University of Connecticut of fabricating data about the benefits of resveratrol in red wine.
Wine drinkers swirl wine in the glass to release its fragrance  called the  bouquet.
Wine drinkers swirl wine in the glass to release its fragrance, called the "bouquet."
Will Keightley
The allegation comes about as the result of an anonymous tip given to the University of Connecticut that triggered the investigation, beginning in 2008. Since then, eleven medical publications have been alerted about the possible falsification of data by Dipak Das, who directed the university's Cardiovascular Research Center.
Among the journals that published the resveratrol studies are The American Journal of Physiology — Heart and Circulatory Physiology and the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology.
In 2007 Das wrote in his works, which were promoted by the University, " ...the pulp of grapes is as heart-healthy as the skin, even though the antioxidant properties differ."
A 60,000 page report details 145 allegations of data falsification and fraud.
According to Medscape, the researcher used image-editing software to fabricate the red wine data that dates back to 2002. Specifically, Das altered images of "blots" obtained through gel electrophoresis that were used in his research figures, but "bear no resemblance to any legitimate experiment", according to a special review board (SRB).
"We have a responsibility to correct the scientific record and inform peer researchers across the country," said Philip Austin, interim vice president of health affairs at the University of Connecticut.
The University reports they have frozen all funding to Dr.Das' lab and they have declined to accept $890,000 in federal research grants awarded to him.
Das claims he can't explain the irregularities found in the images. He says in the report that the accusations are the result of a campaign to rid the university of the "Indian community."
"I became the Devil for the Health Center, and so did all the Indians working for me," he wrote. "The evidence for conspiracy and racial hatred is overwhelming."
Das had been employed by the University of Connecticut Health Center since 1984. Proceedings are underway to dismiss the researcher accused of falsifying the heart healthy benefits of resveratrol, found in grapes and red wine.