Since being reported of academic fraud in January 2018, Li Hongliang, the former “academic star” of Wuhan University, has been in trouble for more than two years. The latest news is that he will no longer hold any administrative positions in Wuhan University. The Paper reporter confirmed from insiders,From May to September 15 this year, Li Hongliang lost three administrative positions one after another. They were the director of the ABSL-Ⅲ Laboratory (Animal Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory, A3 Laboratory for short) of Wuhan University and the Model Animal Research Institute of Wuhan University. (IMA) Director, Dean of Wuhan University School of Basic Medicine.
At present, the current leadership information on the official website of the A3 laboratory has been updated, and the 46-year-old Li Hongliang is replaced by the 49-year-old National Outstanding Youth Fund winner and virology expert Professor Lan Ke. The official websites of the Institute of Model Animals and Wuhan University School of Basic Medicine have not changed relevant information.
A person familiar with the matter revealed to The Paper (www.thepaper.cn) reporter that on the afternoon of September 15th, the executive leadership team of Wuhan University School of Basic Medical Sciences held a debriefing evaluation and recommendation meeting. Li Hongliang made a debriefing report and “on the initiative” proposed to resign from the hospital. Long post.
According to the aforementioned person familiar with the matter, Li Hongliang summarized his personal situation as “During his four years in office, he did not receive a penny of salary from the college, did not occupy an inch of laboratory in the college, and did not reimburse any travel expenses in the college.” Li Hongliang also mentioned academic doubts about the team, and finally concluded that “being innocent and acting frankly”. Li Hongliang’s involvement in public opinion began in January 2018 when Huo Wenzhe, a fellow school scholar at the time, reported that his thesis was falsified. At the end of 2019, Rao Yi, the current president of Capital Medical University, a senior researcher and academic deputy director of the Beijing Institute of Life Sciences, said in a “draft” report letter that he was “blatantly fraudulent in 17 years.” In July this year, the event that two primary school students in Wuhan won the third prize of the primary school group in the 33rd National Youth Science and Technology Innovation Competition for their “Tea Polyphenol Anticancer” study once again pushed Li Hongliang to the forefront. Li Hongliang is the father of these two award-winning primary school students. .
Before the academic fraud, Li Hongliang was an “academic star” in Wuhan University. According to the official website of Wuhan University, Li Hongliang graduated from Guangdong Medical University with a bachelor’s degree in 1999, a master’s degree from Jinan University in 2002, and a doctorate from Peking Union Medical College in 2005, under the tutelage of Chinese famous molecular biologists Academician Liu Depei and Academician Liang Zhiquan. From 2006 to 2007, Li Hongliang went to Harvard University Medical School as a postdoc, and from 2007 to 2008, he worked as a postdoc and research team leader at the University of Toronto.
Li Hongliang returned to China in 2008 as the deputy director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, People’s Hospital of Wuhan University. On December 20, 2016, the Organization Department of the Party Committee of Wuhan University announced the pre-appointment announcement of cadres. Born in 1974, Li Hongliang was proposed to be the dean of the School of Basic Medicine of Wuhan University. Li Hongliang is also a winner of the National Outstanding Youth Fund, a leader in young and middle-aged science and technology innovation of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and a leader in the National “Ten Thousand Talents Program”. On November 18, 2017, Li Hongliang also won the “Tan Jiazhen Life Science Innovation Award”.
Li Hongliang once revealed to the media that his research team has more than 100 people and is currently one of the largest scientific research teams in the domestic medical research community. Just this year, Li Hongliang’s team is still publishing research results in high impact factor journals.
Loss of administrative duties
The paper reporters found that Li Hongliang had lost three administrative positions in a row in nearly four months.
The first change was the position of director of the A3 laboratory of Wuhan University. As early as May 10, the Institute of Science and Technology Development of Wuhan University issued a notice on the appointment and dismissal of the director of the Animal Experiment Center of Wuhan University and the ABSL-Ⅲ Laboratory of Wuhan University. However, the system prompts that the content of the notice is only for Wuhan University campus network users provide access.
However, the history page of A3 laboratory revealed the above-mentioned appointment and dismissal information. It shows: In April 2015, Professor Li Hongliang, winner of the National Outstanding Youth Fund, was appointed as the director of the center/A3 laboratory; May 6, 2020, Professor Lan Ke, winner of the National Outstanding Youth Fund was appointed as the director of the center/A3 laboratory.
Lan Ke is 49 years old. Since January 2017, he has served as the director of the State Key Laboratory of Virology of Wuhan University, a professor and a doctoral supervisor in the School of Life Sciences of Wuhan University, mainly engaged in tumor herpes virus, important new viral infections and pathogenic mechanisms. In this new crown epidemic, the Lanke team also conducted related research. On April 27, the top international academic journal “Nature” published an online paper by Lanke et al. The research content is the new crown virus of two hospitals in Wuhan Aerosol dynamic analysis.
The Animal Experiment Center (referred to as the Center) and A3 Laboratory of Wuhan University were established in 2003 and jointly invested and constructed by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Education and Wuhan University. The center and the A3 laboratory implement a set of teams and two brands, which are secondary units of the school, and are public service platforms and scientific research institutions open to the inside and outside of the school. It is worth noting that the A3 laboratory is the first high-level biosafety laboratory approved by the country.
In addition, the position of director of the A3 laboratory is the starting point for Li Hongliang’s administrative position at Wuhan University. This position has also attracted attention during the academic fraud questioning crisis in early January 2018. At that time, the anonymous person “H” reported the academic misconduct of Li Hongliang’s team through the media. On the night of January 18, 2018, Wuhan University spokesperson Li Xiaokun revealed to the media the identity of the anonymous reporter “H”, that is, Wuhan University Scholar Huo Wenzhe.
The historical evolution of the A3 laboratory can also be seen. From 2010 to 2015, Huo Wenzhe served as the director of the A3 Animal Experiment Center of Wuhan University. After 2015, the position was replaced by Li Hongliang.
After being removed from the post of A3 laboratory director for four months, Li Hongliang was recently removed from the post of Director of the Institute of Model Animals (IMA) and Director of the Model Animal Collaborative Innovation Center of Wuhan University. It is worth noting that the historical evolution of the Institute of Model Animals of Wuhan University is basically the same as that of the A3 laboratory. The historical evolution also shows that “In April 2015, the winner of the National Outstanding Youth Fund, Professor Li Hongliang was appointed as the center/A3 laboratory director. “However, the information about Huo Wenzhe’s employment in 2010 was omitted from the historical evolution.
The introduction of historical evolution shows that in May 2014, the inspection building was demolished to support municipal construction; in December that year, the new office building was completed; in January 2016, the new office building was officially put into use; in March 2017, the animal production building , All the experimental buildings were upgraded to the IVC breeding mode; in November 2018, the Model Animal Research Institute building was officially put into use.
Compared with the A3 laboratory, the introduction of this red-looking model animal research institute is more consistent with Li Hongliang’s personal research. According to the official website, model animal research focuses on mechanism research, target development, new drug creation, and model animal research and development for major clinical diseases, focusing on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and related liver metabolic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, tumors, Major clinical issues such as infectious diseases are characterized by multi-disciplinary integration, basic research and application transformation, and continue to promote the transformation of scientific research results to help industrial development. Li Hongliang’s research direction is “The mechanism and prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular metabolic diseases, and the development of genetic engineering animal models.”
“On the initiative” resigned from the post of dean, claiming to be “clean and innocent”
Soon, Li Hongliang’s post as the dean of Wuhan University School of Basic Medicine also came to an end. The person familiar with the matter stated that on the afternoon of September 15th, the executive leadership team of Wuhan University School of Basic Medical Sciences held a debriefing evaluation and recommendation meeting. Li Hongliang made a debriefing report and “proactively” proposed to resign as dean.
According to the PPT obtained by The Paper reporter, Li Hongliang summarized his personal situation as “During his four years in office, he did not receive a penny of salary from the college, did not occupy an inch of laboratory in the college, and did not reimburse any travel expenses in the college.” Li Hongliang also mentioned academic doubts about the team, including “Jinan University (Master’s level), China Peking Union Medical University (Doctorate level), Wuhan University (three investigations, four verifications), and all doubtful investigations at the national level.”
It is worth noting that Li Hongliang also wrote in the conclusion of the report: “Being innocent and acting frankly.”
Li Hongliang’s turmoil began in January 2018. On January 2 of that year, Li Hongliang’s team published a paper in the top international academic journal Nature Medicine with an impact factor of more than 30 (the fifth paper in the journal at that time in the past year). On January 18, half a month later, Huo Wenzhe exposed the report through the media, questioning the two papers published by Li Hongliang’s team in Nature-Medical in February 2017 and May 2017: “Targeting CFLAR to improve mice and Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in human primates” and “Multivesicular body regulatory protein Tmbim1 improves non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice and monkeys by targeting Tlr4 lysosomal degradation.” The whistleblower believes that there are two major problems in the key animal experiment part: the experiment cycle and the number of animals are insufficient.
As the incident unfolded, more papers published by Li Hongliang since his master’s period have been questioned about the problem of fraud.
However, the school’s conclusion of this report was that there was no academic fraud in the relevant content reported by Li Hongliang’s team, but there were individual omissions in the writing of the paper.
However, at the end of 2019, a letter from Rao Yi once again brought up Li Hongliang’s academic questioning. Rao Yi said in the report letter that was responded to as a “draft” that Li Hongliang had “blatantly fraudulently made for 17 years.”
It is worth mentioning that on January 29, 2018, when Wuhan University issued the “Reinvestigation Opinions Regarding Li Hongliang’s Team Reported for Academic Misconduct”, Academician Li Deren, Director of the Academic Committee of Wuhan University, expressed doubts about the report in an interview with the media. I have already figured it out,” and he also said, “Is it because of academic fraud, academic misconduct, or some omissions caused by insufficient experience and insufficient experimentation, I personally think it needs to be strictly distinguished.”
The Paper reporter found that the academic committee of Wuhan University has also formally changed its term recently, and the academic committee with Li Deren as the director is the second term. On September 10, Teacher’s Day, the re-election ceremony of Wuhan University’s highest academic institution—the school academic committee was held in the old library, and the third academic committee was formally appointed. Prior to this, on July 13, the official website of Wuhan University publicized the candidates for academic committee members.
Judging from the list, the membership of the Academic Committee has been expanded from 23 to 45. Only three old faces remain in the new academic committee. Liu Quansheng, a member of the second academic committee, served as the third deputy director, and Deng Zixin and Gong Jianya continued to serve. Members.
In addition, Lan Ke, who succeeded Li Hongliang as the director of the A3 laboratory, is also a member of the third academic committee.
Start of tenure economic responsibility audit in September
In July, Li Hongliang fell into a public opinion storm again and rarely responded to the media.
The cause of this incident was that after the “Kunming primary school students won the prize for gene therapy cancer research”, a study in the third prize of the primary school group of the 33rd National Youth Science and Technology Innovation Competition also attracted public attention. The study was jointly completed by two classmates “Li Mouyi” and “Li Mouqing” from the fifth and third grades of the primary school affiliated to Huazhong University of Science and Technology. The main content is to use EGCG, the main component of tea polyphenols in green tea extract, as the test subject The drug, to study its in vivo efficacy in a nude mouse liver tumor disease model, and finally concluded that the ingredient does have a certain anti-tumor effect.
The father of Li Mouyi and Li Mouqing is Li Hongliang. Li Hongliang said in an interview with “Upstream News”, “I personally think that this research and application are in compliance with the norms. Wuhan Municipal Bureau coordinated the investigation all afternoon, and the results will be announced. Please don’t hurt your children.” He also mentioned So I did not participate in this research.
It is worth mentioning that although Li Hongliang no longer holds the above three administrative positions, there is another issue that has attracted attention from the outside world.
According to the “2020 Audit Announcement No. 11” issued by the Audit Office of Wuhan University on August 28, entrusted by the Organization Department of the Party Committee of the school, the Audit Office decided to send an audit team to conduct an audit on Li Hongliang, Dean of the School of Basic Medical Sciences, starting from September 1, 2020. The term of economic responsibility audit, the audit period is from December 20, 2016 to July 31, 2020.
This move is not aimed at Li Hongliang’s personal behavior. Judging from the historical announcements on the website, the Audit Office will conduct an audit of economic responsibility during the term of office and an audit of outgoing economic responsibility. On August 28, including Li Hongliang, the Audit Office issued three audit announcements.
However, in the previous academic fraud controversy, there were also doubts pointing towards Li Hongliang or economic problems. This suspense remains to be investigated.