Duke University admitted Sunday that it used manipulated and completely fabricated data about respiratory illnesses to obtains grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, among other agencies.
Internal investigators at the school believe that former lab technician Erin Potts-Kant falsified or fabricated data for medical research reports, attorneys for Duke said in response to a federal whistleblower lawsuit against the school. Potts-Kant told investigators that she faked data that wound up being “included in various publications and grant applications.”
Former analyst Joseph Thomas alleged in a recent lawsuit that the university ignored warning signs about Potts-Kant’s work and tried to cover up the fraud, but the university denies there were warning signs. The lawsuit contends that all the work Potts-Kant did in her eight years at Duke was fabricated, and that the bogus data was done through grants worth $112.8 million to Duke and $120.9 million to other universities in North Carolina.
Investigators reviewed 36 research reports and found that, in many cases, she simply made things up.