November 30, 2022

Tearful apology from Obokata

The Japanese woman at the centre of the latest stem cell scandal, Haruko Obokata, has apologised tearfully for her “carelessness, ignorance and immaturity”.

Nikkan Sports’ coverage of stem cells / Kotaku

The Japanese woman at the centre of the latest stem cell scandal, Haruko Obokata, apologised tearfully for her “carelessness, ignorance and immaturity” at a press conference this week. But she insists that her “stimulus-triggered activation of pluripotency” (STAP) cells do exist. She claims that she had created them 200 times before publishing a paper in Nature which has come under fire for its flawed data.

Her employer, the world-famous RIKEN Institute has accused her of academic misconduct after an internal investigation. But Obokata is seeking a new investigation by outsiders. “I would also like to emphasize there was no deceptive motive in my completing these articles, given that legitimate experiments were conducted, and that there exists solid data as a direct result,” she told the press conference.

The Japanese media has been having a field day with this story. The press conference was carried live on national TV networks and Obokata’s face blanketed newsstands. 

Michael Cook
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Creative commons
scientific misconduct
stem cells