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Contact: Susan Joslin, (508) 289-7281; sjoslin@mbl.edu

MBL Friday Evening Lecture to Explore Image Manipulation in Science

Michael Rossner

WOODS HOLE, MA—Today’s powerful imaging software can make simple work of adjusting digital image files, creating a temptation for scientists to modify digital image data.

Dr. Michael Rossner, executive director of The Rockefeller University Press, will discuss what can be done to prevent the publication of modified images at the next MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Friday Evening Lecture on Friday, July 1. His lecture, "What's in a Picture? The Temptation of Image Manipulation" will be held at 8:00 PM in the MBL's Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole. The event is free and open to the public.

In the days before imaging software became so widely available, making adjustments to image data in the darkroom required considerable effort or expertise. While the process is now much simpler, many manipulations constitute inappropriate changes to original data, and can be classified as scientific misconduct.

At the Rockefeller University Press (which publishes The Journal of Cell Biology, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, and The Journal of General Physiology), Dr. Rossner and his colleagues have developed guidelines to define the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable image manipulation. In his MBL lecture, Dr. Rossner will present examples from actual cases and will present data garnered through his systematic screening process on the extent of data misrepresentation in a biomedical publication.

Dr. Rossner entered publishing after completing a degree and a postdoctoral study in biomedicine. He earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Rossner began his tenure at The Rockefeller University Press in the spring of 1997, as managing editor of the Journal of Cell Biology. He became editorial director of the press in 2003, expanding his purview to the operations of all three journals.

The Friday Evening Lecture Series will continue throughout the summer at the MBL. The remaining lectures in the series are below.

July 8, 2011
The Joe L. Martinez, Jr. & James G. Townsel Endowed Lectureship
"Bridging the Gap in the Fight Against Cancer: From the Operating Room to the Laboratory" Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, The Johns Hopkins University

July 14 & 15, 2011
Forbes Lectures
Russell D. Fernald, Stanford University
July 14: "Social Control of Brain Structure: Cellular Consequences of Changes in Social Status"
July 15: "How Does Social Status Influence the Brain?"

July 22, 2011
Porter Lecture
"The Origin of Life"
Jack W. Szostak, Harvard University; Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, 2009

July 29, 2011
"Coral Reefs: Past, Present and Future"
Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian Institution

August 5, 2011
Glassman Lecture
"The Broad Spectrum of Prion-Like Diseases and the Quest for Therapeutics"
Stanley B. Prusiner, University of California, San Francisco; Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, 1997

August 11, 2011
Lederberg Lecture
"The Biochemistry of Inflammation: from Microciona to the Microbiome"
Gerald Weissmann, New York University School of Medicine

August 12, 2011
"Genetic Insight Into Candida Infection Biology"
Aaron P. Mitchell, Carnegie Mellon University

August 19, 2011
Sager Lecture
"Revisiting the Heuser and Reese Synapse in the 21st Century: Do Nerve Cells Kiss?" - Erik M. Jorgensen, University of Utah, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. Founded in 1888 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the MBL is an independent, nonprofit corporation.