A decade ago, researcher Haruko Obokata caused a sensation when she published two papers in the journal Nature, in which she claimed that she had discovered a way to create stem cells easily using the so-called STAP method.

With STAP, short for stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, Obokata and her team claimed to have found a way to reprogram adult mice cells into all-purpose cells by simply soaking them in a mildly acidic liquid. The research was hailed as revolutionary and hoped to open new possibilities in medicine.

But less than three months after the publication of her research and the PR blitz that followed, her then-employer Riken recommended that the papers be withdrawn, saying she had fabricated data.