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William Armstead, retired Perelman Pharmacology professor.

Retired Perelman School of Medicine Pharmacology professor William Armstead’s research is under federal investigation for misconduct by the Office of Research Integrity, according to The Guardian. 

The investigation began after the peer-reviewed Journal of Neurotrauma issued a full retraction of three of Armstead’s research papers in June, as per Armstead’s request. In total, a variety of peer-reviewed journals have retracted five of Armstead’s research papers between 2016 and 2019 — all of which included experimentation on newborn piglets. 

“Substantive questions have arisen regarding the findings, presentation and conclusions reported in the paper that could not be answered with available source data,” Armstead wrote in an email to the Journal of Neurotrauma as a reason for retraction. 

Before the retraction of his research took place, both the editor and publisher of the Journal of Neurotrauma contacted Armstead to request additional information due to questions raised that “invalidated” the findings of the study, according to the retraction notice. Armstead did not respond to this request. 

The advocacy group Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! first brought these allegations to the ORI’s attention in a series of letters. SAEN demanded an ORI investigation of Armstead’s research, which it called “utterly reprehensible” in its letter to the ORI. The ORI investigation is an oversight review, meaning that the ORI will determine if the research misconduct allegations are substantiated. 

SAEN added that some of the retracted papers were publicly funded with grant money from the National Institutes of Health, totaling to almost $2 million over five years. 

“It is clear from the articles themselves that dozens of ‘newborn pigs’ were killed in what are clearly scientifically meaningless RETRACTED studies, with fraudulent data,” SAEN wrote.