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July 19, 2016 - Dr. Jamal

Name: Dr. Abida Sophina (Sophie) Jamal

Institution(s): Women’s College Hospital; University of Toronto

Nature of the breach: Intentional manipulation of study data

Background: The Women’s College Hospital (WCH) appointed an Investigating Committee to conduct an investigation into allegations it received in February 2015 regarding studies conducted by Dr. Jamal. These studies were supported, in part by, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The Investigating Committee concluded that Dr. Jamal:

  • manipulated study data with the intention of supporting the underlying hypothesis of research studies;
  • intentionally manipulated electronic datasets and presented them as raw data to investigators;
  • falsely accused a research assistant of having carried out the manipulations;
  • failed to correct the errors once the problems were discovered;
  • shared manipulated rather than primary data with colleagues;
  • deleted records that were to form part of WCH’s forensic investigation;
  • failed to retain research data to a standard appropriate to the discipline; and
  • impeded an institutional investigation.
The research in question involved human participants. WCH found no evidence that the health of participants was negatively affected. WCH notified participants by registered letter that they may have received inaccurate information about the research.

WCH submitted the Investigating Committee's report to the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research in October 2015. The Panel on Responsible Conduct of Research considered the report and made recommendations to the President of CIHR in February 2016.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has since retracted the following article: “Effect of Nitroglycerin Ointment on Bone Density and Strength in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Trial,” published in its February 23, 2011 issue.

Dr. Jamal resigned from her positions at WCH and the University of Toronto while the investigation was in process.

Recourse: On May 4, 2016, the President of CIHR decided to declare Dr. Jamal permanently ineligible to hold, participate in, or apply for CIHR funding or funding from the other two federal research agencies (NSERC or SSHRC) or any Tri-Agency programs; and permanently ineligible to participate in Agency review processes. She is also required to reimburse CIHR for the funds spent on the study.