Cancer Immunologist 'Seriously Breached' Research Conduct Code

Retraction Watch Staff

November 23, 2021

A cancer immunologist who as of 2017 was "the most highly cited immunologist in Australia" has "seriously breached Codes relating to responsible research conduct," according to his former employer.

QIMR Berghofer in Brisbane "has commissioned an independent external investigation after a number of complaints relating to the research conduct of a former employee Professor Mark Smyth," the institute said in a statement.

The external investigation, led by a retired appeals court judge, Robert Gotterson, followed a preliminary investigation, according to QIMR Berghofer, which said it "has referred the findings to the Crime and Corruption Commission in accordance with its legislative obligations." The institute has "also organised for an independent review into a broad range of issues arising out of the Panel Report" that will be conducted by former federal court judge Bruce Lander.

The statement does not specify what Smyth did to breach the research code.

Smyth resigned from QIMR Berghofer in August of this year. In an email then to faculty and staff, Fabienne Mackay, director and CEO of the institution, noted that Smyth had led a "large and significant research program" for more than eight years, and "strongly promoted the careers of many earlier career scientists."

The immunologist earned what we called a mega-correction in 2015, and a retraction in 2006.

Smyth was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2017. In 2020, he was appointed to the scientific advisory board of Shanghai-based EpimAb Biotherapeutics.

He could not be immediately reached for comment.

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