- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 11, 2007

PITTSBURGH — A former University of Pittsburgh researcher falsified images in a draft report on embryonic stem cells derived from monkeys, a university spokeswoman said this week.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity found that Park Jong-hyuk, a postdoctoral fellow from August 2004 to February 2006, committed research misconduct while working under professor Gerald Schatten, said Lisa Rossi, a spokeswoman for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The federal Office of Research Integrity, which oversees misconduct reviews, has barred Mr. Park from leading studies funded by U.S. research grants, from applying for the grants and for a period of three years from serving on any U.S. Public Health Service advisory committee, peer-review committee or as a consultant.

Mr. Schatten and Mr. Park also worked with Hwang Woo-suk on the famous Science paper in which Mr. Hwang claimed to have cloned human embryos and extracted stem-cell lines tailored to specific patients.

The report was initially hailed as a great scientific breakthrough, but a South Korean academic panel determined Mr. Hwang fabricated his data. Science withdrew the paper and a related 2004 article.

A previous University of Pittsburgh investigation found that Mr. Schatten did not intentionally fabricate data but that he had committed “research misbehavior” by failing to show proper skepticism and signing his name to Mr. Hwang’s work.

The latest university probe showed Mr. Park had misrepresented photographic images of embryonic stem cells derived from rhesus monkeys in a manuscript being prepared for the journal Nature, Miss Rossi said. The report was never submitted for publication.

Mr. Park, who returned to his native South Korea last year, intentionally and knowingly falsified images in the manuscript and a similar one in its supplemental materials, the probe found. Miss Rossi declined to elaborate. Because of the university’s findings, the federal Office of Research Integrity determined Mr. Park had tried to destroy evidence and made false statements to the university’s research integrity panel.

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