January 25, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Waseda reportedly will revoke Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子) doctorate

Obokata press conference

Media in Japan are reporting that Waseda University will shortly revoke the Ph.D. of STAP cell scientist Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子). A hat tip to blog reader Tom on this story. The thesis contained plagiarized material and problematic data as did the Nature papers on which she was first author. Those papers were retracted and now apparently her thesis will essentially find the same fate.

Obokata had been given 1 year to correct her thesis, a potentially impossible task, and Japan TImes quotes a source that she didn’t meet the deadline:

“The former Riken researcher was last October given a year in which to correct a thesis she wrote in 2011. She failed to submit the revisions in time, the sources said, and a request for an extension was refused.”

This is a further step in the winding down of the STAP cell mess following on the recent publication of papers by Nature refuting STAP. There is a sense that the supervision of Obokata as a young scientist was not effective, which is perhaps the main STAP element that is as yet not entirely resolved.

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