Researcher guilty of misconduct no longer working at UEL

The University of East London has parted company with a researcher following revelations that he was found guilty of research misconduct at two previous universities.

July 14, 2011

Jatinder Ahluwalia was found guilty last November by a University College London investigation of committing research misconduct while he was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Anthony Segal, Charles Dent professor of medicine, during the mid-2000s.

The investigation found it was beyond reasonable doubt that Dr Ahluwalia had “misrepresented” his experiments by altering the numbering of computer files.

It also found, on the balance of probability, that he had attempted to cover his tracks by contaminating colleagues’ experiments.

The case led to the retraction from the journal Nature of a paper of which Dr Ahluwalia was the first author.

It subsequently emerged that Dr Ahluwalia had been dismissed from the University of Cambridge biochemistry PhD programme in 1997 after his supervisor suspected him of faking results.

After leaving UCL, Dr Ahluwalia obtained a position as a senior lecturer in pharmacology at UEL.

Following the revelations about Dr Ahluwalia’s past, an academic in his department wrote to colleagues in February about the “uproar” caused by the university’s perceived failure to respond to the allegations.

UEL responded by saying it had opened a “formal investigation involving external independent peer review” in December.

That investigation has now concluded. The university declined to give any details about its conclusions, but confirmed that it had parted company with Dr Ahluwalia.

A spokeswoman said: “The university conducted a full investigation concerning the matters that were raised and, as a consequence, the individual concerned is no longer employed by the university.”

Dr Ahluwalia’s faculty page has been deleted and Times Higher Education was unable to contact him for comment.

Imperial College London, where Dr Ahluwalia eventually obtained his PhD, is also carrying out an investigation of his work while he was there.

A spokesman said: “The college reviewed concerns around Dr Ahluwalia’s PhD research last year. In light of new information received the college took the decision to re-run a number of key experiments, with the intention of acting on the findings of these if appropriate. These experiments have now been re-run and the results are currently being reviewed by the college.”

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