Anil Potti, a researcher at Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, has said in grant applications that he was a Rhodes scholar, though the Rhodes Trust says that he did not receive that scholarship, The Cancer Letter reports. Potti and his collaborator Joseph Nevins, also at Duke, came into the spotlight with their 2006 Nature Medicine paper that said patient response to chemotherapy could be predicted through microarray analysis of their tumors. That research, and some of the subsequent clinical trials, had been questioned when two outside biostatisticians found errors in the work. Now, The Cancer Letter reports that one of Potti's biographical sketches says he was a "Rhodes Scholar (Australia)" in 1995 and another says he held a "Research Fellowship at Queensland Research Institute, Australia (Mentor: Gordon McLaren)" at that time. "We don't have any record that Anil Potti was a Rhodes scholar," a Rhodes Trust spokesperson told The Cancer Letter. In addition, Rhodes says that its scholarships may only be used to study at the University of Oxford.
Furthermore, McLaren was "'shocked,' 'saddened,' and 'flabbergasted'" to learn he was listed as Potti's mentor in Australia, according to the newsletter. The Cancer Letter goes on to describe other inconsistencies on Potti's résumé, including the year he graduated from medical school and an assertion that he was a National Merit Scholar.
For his part, Potti says that he was a Rhodes nominee and that the other inconsistencies can also be explained.
The News and Observer adds that Potti has been put on administrative leave while Duke conducts an internal investigation. His American Cancer Society grant has also been suspended as that organization conducts its own investigation.
HT: Ivan Oransky