PFP Blog Post 2: Ethics

For this week’s blog, I chose to read the case summary of Julie Massè, a former postdoc at Pennsylvania State University who “engaged in research misconduct in research supported by National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), [and] grant 4 R00 CA138498” (ORI).  She was found to have falsified or fabricated images, data, and analyses of the images/data. As a resul,t she is no longer a postdoc at PSU and agreed in a settlement that she would have any further research supervised and any company that employed her would have to abide by certain other regulations stipulated in the settlement (ORI). Which leads me to wonder, who would hire her with a scandal like this in her background?  I can’t imagine job offers would be rolling in.

This case summary shocked me, though I know I shouldn’t be shocked. It was appalling to see that someone who was involved in cancer research would falsify data or create data that she wanted to see. I know people are under a lot of pressure in the sciences to conduct successful experiments and publish their findings to the public. I also don’t know that much about cancer research, which I would assume is a high stress field, but it seems utterly shocking that someone would falsify cancer research. It seems like this misconduct would get found out quickly or that it could endanger many people! It’s a very interesting misconduct case that I’m sure affected more than just the person that was guilty of research misconduct. I would assume that labmates or the lab itself  were affected in some way. ORI also has an interactive video that we watched in the Academic Integrity and Plagiarism class that allows viewers to see just how much someone’s choice to engage in research misconduct could affect the lives of those around them, whether they meant for it do so or not. Check it out here: The Lab

The Office of Research Integrity. “Case Summary: Massè, Julie.” The Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed 15 February 2017, link

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