DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Office of the Secretary
Findings of Research Misconduct
AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, HHS.
SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has taken final action in the following case:
Dong-Pyou Han, Ph.D., Iowa State University of Science and Technology: Based on the report of an inquiry conducted by the Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU), a detailed admission by the Respondent, and additional analysis conducted by ORI, ORI and ISU found that Dr. Dong-Pyou Han, former Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Services, ISU, engaged in research misconduct in research supported by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grants P01 AI074286, R33 AI076083, and U19 AI091031.
ORI and ISU found that the Respondent falsified results in research to develop a vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) by intentionally spiking samples of rabbit sera with antibodies to provide the desired results. The falsification made it appear that rabbits immunized with the gp41-54 moiety of the HIV gp41 glycoprotein induced antibodies capable of neutralizing a broad range of HIV-1 strains, when the original sera were weakly or non-reactive in neutralization assays. Falsified neutralization assay results were widely reported in laboratory meetings, seven (7) national and international symposia between 2010 and 2012, and in grant applications and progress reports P01 AI074286-03, -04, -05, and -06; R33 AI076083-04; U19 AI091031-01 and -03; and R01 AI090921-01. Specifically:
a. Respondent falsified research materials when he provided collaborators with sera for neutralization assays from (i) rabbits immunized with peptides from HIV gp41-54Q (and related antigens HR1-54Q, gp41-54Q-OG, gp41-54Q-GHC, gp41-54Q-Cys and Cys-gp41-54Q) to assay HIV neutralizing activity, when Respondent had spiked the samples with human IgG known to contain broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1; and (ii) rabbits immunized with HIV gp41-54Q to assay HIV neutralizing activity, when Respondent had spiked the samples with sera from rabbits immunized with HIV-1 gp120 that neutralized HIV.
b. Respondent falsified data files for neutralization assays, and provided false data to his laboratory colleagues, to make it appear that rabbits immunized with gp41-54Q and recombinant Lactobacillus expressing gp41-64 (LAB gp41-64) produced broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies, by changing the numbers to show that samples with little or no neutralizing activity had high activity.
Dr. Han has entered into a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement and has voluntarily agreed for a period of three (3) years, beginning on November 25, 2013:
(1) to exclude himself from any contracting or subcontracting with any agency of the United States Government and from eligibility or involvement in nonprocurement programs of the United States Government referred to as “covered transactions” pursuant to HHS’ Implementation (2 C.F.R. Part 376 et seq) of OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension, 2 C.F.R. Part 180 (collectively the “Debarment Regulations”); and
(2) to exclude himself voluntarily from serving in any advisory capacity to the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) including, but not limited to, service on any PHS advisory committee, board, and/or peer review committee, or as a consultant.