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HIV Technician Faked PCR Results

Andrew S. Wiecek

A former technician at a North Carolina digital microfluidics company faked results in federally funded HIV research. Find out why...

A former technician at the North Carolina digital microfluidics company Advanced Liquid Logic, Inc. faked the results of federally funded HIV research, according to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). As a consequence, he will face increased supervision on federally funded research for three years.

A former technician at a North Carolina digital microfluidics company faked results in federally funded HIV research. Source: Advanced Liquid Logic, Inc.

Matthew Poore falsified reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) results in a June 2012 report and a July 2012 presentation to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), according to the ORI’s notice published in the Federal Register on April 30, 2013. In addition, the falsified results were recorded in the company’s laboratory records.

Poore reportedly changed HIV viral load results for two patients from positive to negative and changed another result from negative to positive. In two other instances mentioned in the notice, Poore fabricated results from RT-PCR experiments in order to hide the fact that he never performed the experiments.

In August 2012, Poore’s employment with Advanced Liquid Logic ended shortly after these instances of misconduct. At the company, he worked on product development as a member of the assay team, a position he held for almost three years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Previously, Poore was a contractor at BASF in 2009 and a research specialist at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine from 1999 to 2008.

Advanced Liquid Logic, based in Morrisville, NC, is developing digital microfluidic technology for research and clinical applications. It was founded by Michael Pollack and Vamsee Pamula in 2004 based on their graduate and postdoctoral research at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering.

The company is currently the recipient of four grants from the National Institutes of Health, totaling over $2.1 million, for the development of clinical pathogen detection methods, and newborn/neonatal screening. Last year, Advanced Liquid Logic was named one of 25 North Carolina Companies to Watch by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.

While he was a researcher at NCSU, Poore published 11 papers, 1 of which was cited more than 50 times, according to the blog Retraction Watch.

As part of a voluntary settlement agreement, Poore has agreed to be supervised on any federally funded projects by any institution that employs him for the next three years and to exclude himself from any advisory role to the US Public Health Service during that time.

Advanced Liquid Logic has not responded to a request for comment on the case.

Keywords:  research misconduct