Riken stem cell saga continues as Obokata and other scientists face reprimands
- Government-funded Japanese research institution Riken is blaming scientist Haruko Obokata and three of her research colleagues for publishing false data in top journals, including Nature.
- Other Riken researchers and employees who are facing discipinary action include Kiyofumi Tsutsumi, director of human resources; Masatoshi Takeichi; Hitoshi Niwa; Teruhiko Wakayam; and Yoshiki Sasai, who committed suicide last August.
- While it is unusual to announce disciplinary action against researchers who have already left an institution, Riken wants to highlight the significance of their wrong-doing.
In addition to the humiliation of her resignation on December 21, 2014, Okobata is also facing criminal investigations. It all goes back to a scandal in 2014 in which she said that she said that she had been able to reprogram mature cells back into embryonic cells.
However, when the results could not be replicated, a full-on investigation was launched. It's unfortunate that so many have suffered as a result of this fraudulent behavior; however, maintaining institutional integrity is a must for biomedical research facilities and the scientists who staff them.