The Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen (UCPH) rejects Milena Penkowas accusations that it has not safeguarded her research archive. This is in spite of the fact that an unrecorded chest freezer has emerged.
The neuroscientist was accused of scientific misconduct in 2010 and resigned her professorship after results from her experiments could not be replicated. Her collected data, samples and research are at the heart of the case against her. She maintains her innocence.
According to Director Arnold Boon all the material from Penkowas laboratory and office were recorded and catalogued by an experienced external firm. However, some time after this statement, a freezer was found in another area and identified as belonging to the brain researcher. The freezer was found to contain blood tests.
The researcher's own responsibility
He now adds that the faculty has no central register where scientists store their material. It would be quite impossible for us to keep track of where they store their material, and indeed it is the researchers' own responsibility, says Arnold Boon.
»The most logical option is that researchers store their material in their laboratory and office, but in this case Penkowa has also held a number of blood samples in a different room which does not belong to her, and moreover in a freezer that was not marked with her name« he continues, before adding:
»Last summer we contacted Penkowa and her lawyer, but only two and a half months later it became clear that they wanted to attend the registration and relocation of her materials. If she herself had pointed out that she had samples in a freezer which stood in a room that belonged to a different institution, it would have been taken care of.«
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