January 12, 2012: An East Indian researcher accused of scientific misconduct by a University of Connecticut Health Center review board claims all of the allegations against him can be “easily refuted” and that the charges against him involve prejudice within the university against Indian researchers. Six other East Indian researchers were also named as “potential respondents” to charges of scientific fraud, but no researchers of other ethnicities.
Scott Tips, a California-based attorney representing the accused, Dr. Dipak Das, calls into question the following irregularities in the University’s 600-page report which claims Dr. Das doctored images of tests conducted at his laboratory or instructed others to doctor them. Some of these irregularities include:
- The claim that only Dr. Das had access to his computer which was in his locked office. In fact, Dr. Das claims the chief informant in this case, whom the university does not reveal, also had a key to Dr. Das’ office. Dr. Das asserts his office was not private and “anyone could use it.”
- The university’s report stems from a paper published in a 2008 issue of Free Radical Biology & Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal. Why did the university choose to wait three years to publish these allegations that were refuted by Dr. Das over two years ago? No retraction of that published report was called for at that time.
- Dr. Das was blind-sided by the university, being completely unaware of the release of these allegations to the news press. Dr. Das had to be informed of the negative news reports by his colleagues. He was prevented from making a timely response to all of these charges. The news press reports Dr. Das did not return phone calls, which is pejorative, as he was away from his desk and was not monitoring his calls.
- The University of Connecticut report alleges Dr. Das “defunded” the work of a student in his lab because she did not produce results that he wanted. Investigation into this matter shows that Dr. Das “defunded” the work of this researcher from his budget because she was devoting all of her time to another researcher in the same laboratory, who turns out to be the informant or “whistle-blower” in this case, the very same person who also had a key to Dr. Das’ office.
- Another student researcher who worked in Dr. Das’ laboratory in 2008 discloses that the informant in this case was a trouble maker who chased away many other researchers by intentionally causing friction in Dr. Das’ lab. The former student says the university informant in this case even attempted to “pour wine down her mouth,” hoping to get her to reveal negative things about Dr. Das. The student says she did not witness any scientific irregularities in Dr. Das’ lab during her tenure there, which included Western Blot tests that were alleged to be doctored.
- Another party, a university internal investigator whom Dr. Das accuses of long-standing prejudice against foreign-born researchers, reportedly broke the lock on Dr. Das’ office door, removed computer files and personal items such as bank records and a passport, and could have manipulated data in his computer files. Dr. Das says this university investigator has had a long-standing vendetta against him going back to 1984.
- Dr. Das says he has not personally conducted laboratory bench tests for many years now and that his students and other subordinates conducted all the tests, including the allegedly doctored Western Blot tests. Even if doctored and inaccurate, these tests in no way invalidate the many health claims associated with resveratrol, a red wine molecule. Dr. Das says most of his work has been corroborated by other researchers including his important finding that resveratrol protects the heart against damage prior a heart attack.
- While the news media made quick association between Dr. Das and a particular brand of resveratrol pill he has tested, Dr. Das has no commercial relationship and does not serve as a paid consultant to any manufacturer of resveratrol pills. He served as an unpaid expert for an online interview of a particular brand of resveratrol, a pill that his laboratory found to be superior to plain resveratrol in laboratory studies. A spokesman for that company, Bill Sardi, managing partner for Resveratrol Partners LLC, dba Longevinex®, says his company has donated product to researchers including Dr. Das’ lab and has underwritten some of the expenses involved in conducting tests, but no researchers have received pay offs or have personally profited from their studies involving his product. Mr. Sardi says his company has not sought to influence the outcome of any independent or sponsored studies. Resveratrol Partners LLC is a private company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. ####
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