The University of Kentucky distinguishes itself not merely in football and basketball. The federal Office of Research Integrity has singled out one of its highest-profile professors for a decade of research fraud.

Eric J. Smart, a former UK professor of pediatrics and physiology, pediatrics vice chair of research and the Barnstable-Brown chair in diabetes research … falsified data that was included in at least 10 published papers and numerous reports and applications.

… Among the falsified data … were five grant applications and three progress reports about nonexistent “knockout” mice, which have been genetically engineered to have at least one gene turned off, or “knocked out,” through a targeted mutation.

The ORI found many of Smart’s published findings to be falsified also. In more than 33 instances the office found Smart to be guilty of manipulating “western blots” — an analytic technique that allows scientists to find a specific protein in a sample of tissue — to falsify data in publications and reports in order to complete his research.

Vice chair of research! As with their coaches, UK really knows how to pick ’em.

Smart’s now teaching high school at the wonderfully named Bourbon High; but the county superintendent says Smart has assured her “there is no evidence to base their (the ORI’s) allegations on.” Whew! You wouldn’t want someone who’s been systematically lying about the results of medical research for over ten years teaching your kids.


By the way, Scathing Online Schoolmarm will point out that the article about Smart in UK’s paper says his research has now been “censored.” I think they mean “censured.”

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3 Responses to “At least they’ve got a totally on the up and up athletics program.”

  1. Julia Says:

    Hey, these days I’m happy with anyone teaching science to high school kids instead of magical thinking.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Julia: You have a point.

  3. Contingent Cassandra Says:

    As long as he isn’t teaching ethics. Unfortunately, all teachers should, to some extent, be teaching, or at least modeling ethics, and he seems to be sorely lacking in that department. I can’t think of any job I’d really be comfortable with him having. Maybe one of those street-litter-picker-uppers, but that would mean exposing the people who often do such jobs to a bad influence.

    I fear the understanding of “censor” is broadening and losing specificity (as is definitely the case for “novel,” which now apparently means “book,” or perhaps even “any written text”). “Retracted” would work, but “censured” probably does a better job of indicating what actually happened. “Discredited,” perhaps?

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