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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Responding to whistleblower’s claims, Duke admits research data falsification

Ray Gronberg
The Herald-Sun
Originally published July 2, 2017

In-house investigators at Duke University believe a former lab tech falsified or fabricated data that went into 29 medical research reports, lawyers for the university say in their answer to a federal whistleblower lawsuit against it.

Duke’s admissions concern the work of Erin Potts-Kant, and a probe it began in 2013 when she was implicated in an otherwise-unrelated embezzlement. The lawsuit, from former lab analyst Joseph Thomas, contends Duke and some of its professors used the phony data to fraudulently obtain federal research grants. He also alleges they ignored warning signs about Potts-Kants’ work, and tried to cover up the fraud.

The university’s lawyers have tried to get the case dismissed, but in April, a federal judge said it can go ahead. The latest filings thus represent Duke’s first answer to the substance of Thomas’ allegations.

Up front, it said Potts-Kant told a Duke investigating committee that she’d faked data that wound up being “included in various publications and grant applications.”

The article is here.
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