University of Michigan researchers under fire for fraudulent animal experiments

The research involved more than $5 million in federal grants

click to enlarge University of Michigan researchers are accused of falsifying or fabricated data from experiments with rats. - Shutterstock
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University of Michigan researchers are accused of falsifying or fabricated data from experiments with rats.

A national watchdog group is calling for a federal investigation of researchers at the University of Michigan for falsifying or fabricating data following experiments on rats.

An internal investigation at the university found misconduct among researchers, leading to the retraction of four research publications connected to the work.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN), a national watchdog nonprofit that investigates animal abuse and illegal activities at research labs, urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Research Integrity to investigate.

The research involved more than $5 million in federal grants.

“There must be consequences for these heinous acts,” SAEN executive director Michael A. Budkie wrote to ORI on Friday.

“It is even worse that hundreds of rats were subjected to highly invasive procedures and killed for fraudulent experiments,” Budkie added. “This project took the lives of animals to produce data that was, according to the University of Michigan itself, falsified.”

A University of Michigan research misconduct investigation committee “found that there was falsification and/or fabrication” of various data published in the American Physiological Society and Journal of Neurophysiology, both of which retracted the publications.

“Multiple University of Michigan investigations have forced the retraction of four separate publications which squandered millions in federal funding and slaughtered animals for nothing more than faked experiments,” Budkie said in a statement Monday. “A multi-year pattern of fabricated/falsified data involving many of the same staff in multiple publications would appear to be intentional.”

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