New retraction of paper by husband and wife research team

Another paper authored by University of Manchester professor Sylvia Bulfone-Paus has been retracted – but this one does not feature the Russian postdoctoral researchers blamed for misconduct that led to a string of retractions earlier this year.

December 13, 2011

The paper, “An interleukin-2-IgG-Fas ligand fusion protein suppresses delayed-type hypersensitivity in mice by triggering apoptosis in activated T cells as a novel strategy for immunosuppression”, was published in 2000 in the journal Transplantation.

It has been retracted by the journal’s editors and publisher due to “inaccurate information” provided for two of the figures.

Its first author, Silvia Bulfone-Paus, spends 20 per cent of her time at the University of Manchester, where she is professor of immunobiology.

She is also a full professor at the University of Lübeck and director of the department of immunology and cell biology at the Research Centre Borstel, both in northern Germany.

Her husband, Ralf Paus, is also listed as an author on the paper.

He is professor of dermatology and experimental dermatology at Lübeck and also spends 20 per cent of his time at the University of Manchester, where he is professor of cutaneous medicine.

Last year an investigation by the Research Centre Borstel concluded that image manipulation had occurred in Professor Bulfone-Paus’s lab at the institute.

The case resulted in the retraction earlier this year of 12 of her papers, published between 1999 and 2009.

The investigation panel blamed the misconduct on two of Professor Bulfone-Paus’s former postdocs, Elena Bulanova or Vadim Budagian.

But it also said that, as their supervisor, Professor Bulfone-Paus also bore “significant responsibility”.

And in a public letter issued in June, the centre’s board of directors said that, in the absence of any admissions of guilt, it “remains unresolved who carried out the manipulations”.

Neither of the accused postdocs feature as an author on the latest retracted paper.

It is also understood that neither feature on several papers authored by professors Paus and Bulfone-Paus that are currently under investigation by the University of Lübeck.

In July the University of Manchester announced that it did not believe the concerns about the papers merited a formal investigation.

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