Gothenburg scientist ‘manipulated results’

A University of Gothenburg medical scientist has been accused of manipulating research findings in a number of studies, the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) announced Thursday.

Suchitra Holgersson, a post-transplant immunologist, manipulated contributions from three doctoral students on her research team and of using unverified information in a 2005 article published in the medical review “Blood”, according to the ethics committee of the Swedish Research Council.

“We can no longer trust her,” committee head Jan Stålhammar told AFP.

“Due to all indications and all the proof that has emerged, it is not possible to think the results were manipulated by anyone but her,” he added.

Holgersson, who was born in India in 1961, faced accusations from “a number of people, on numerous occasions,” Stålhammar said.

The research council had suspended her financing, he said, adding however that he was not in a position to say if she would face other repercussions.

The ethics committee had earlier this week written to Holgersson’s previous employer, the Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm, and to the Gothenburg University, where she has worked since September 2008, to say it had on four counts found her “guilty of aggravated scientific dishonesty.”

It also said in its report the scientist had shown “very serious scientific dishonesty by trying to mislead the expert committee during the probe by using fake documents.”

The ethics committee had launched its probe more than two years ago on KI’s request following complaints by the doctoral students, Stålhammar said.

The committee had twice confronted Holgersson, who denies the allegations, he said.

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