09/02/2011 09:14 EDT | Updated 11/02/2011 05:12 EDT

Montreal Heart Researcher Stripped Of Status

A prominent researcher with the Montreal Heart Institute has been stripped of his lab, privileges and status following an investigation into scientific misconduct.

The institute launched an investigation earlier this year after two studies by Dr. Zhiguo Wang were retracted from prominent scientific journals.

Those studies, conducted in 2007 and 2008, explored irregular heart rhythms. The research was done at the cellular level and did not involve patients.

At the time, Wang blamed the error on a mix-up of images used to illustrate the data. He said the research itself was solid and had been reproduced.

On Friday, the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) said its investigation found Wang “deviated from MHI’s ethical standards of proper scientific conduct and his responsibilities as a researcher.”

Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, director of the MHI Research Centre, said the hospital had concerns with how images used in the research were manipulated -- and that it must enforce strict scientific standards.

Wang has been stripped of his privileges at the institute and his lab has been closed.

MHI also requested retractions of three additional published articles, but did not disclose any further details of its investigation.

Wang could not be reached for comment Friday.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded one of the studies retracted earlier this year. The other was funded by the Canadian Diabetes Association.

CIHR said it has frozen Wang's funding.

They're also considering additional measures, which could include barring the researcher from applying for future grants.

Based on the MIH findings, the Canadian Diabetes Association said Wang is no longer eligible for their grants.