Science 13/1-11 11:11

Milena Penkowa fights back in media interview

Brain scientist rejects claims of fraud as 'monstrous' in Danish newspaper Politiken

There is absolutely no substance to claims of scientific fraud. And no: She has not been in any kind of personal relationship with Rector Ralf Hemmingsen.

This is certainly according to the brain scientist Milena Penkowa herself, who finally speaks out in one of the largest cases of claimed scientific fraud at the University of Copenhagen.

Her statements come in an interview in the Danish daily Politiken, cited in the Danish section of this site,

»It has been difficult, to say the least, to have to listen to such monstrous, false claims,« says Penkowa.

Read previous article: Calls for new Penkowa inquest rejected

Jumble of administrators

She rejects at the same time the idea that she and Rector Ralf Hemmingsen somehow have been in a personal relationship. A relationship that has been hinted at by some sources, a relationship that somehow has helped her career.

Penkowa denies that Rector Ralf Hemmingsen is personally involved in her case.

»That they attack him in this case, I will never understand. I am not a personal friend of Ralf Hemmingsen, who is a fantastic leader, a true saviour to the University of Copenhagen in a jumble of administrators. He is completely objective and professional,« she says to Politiken.

Trying to get money back

The 37-year old brain scientist, who was employed at the Faculty of Health Sciences until December 2010, is accused of scientific fraud and abuse of research funding.

The University of Copenhagen has already paid back DKK 2 million to the fund IMK Almene Fond, which believes that Penkowa has used the money for lawyers' bills, clothes, travelling and restaurants.

According to Politiken, the University of Copenhagen has now demanded, in secret, that Penkowa pays back a portion of this.

Regrets nothing

The main dispute concerns the scientific validity of her cancer research, where she is accused of manipulating data.

Milena Penkowa speculates that the only reason the case has arisen is because of jealousy and envy.

»Any one can say, they suspect someone (…) When I look back there is nothing, that I would have done differently, neither scientifically nor professionally. But bringing attention towards yourself is apparently not for free.«

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Penkova Support

By marco fiore on 20. January 2011, 10:34.

This letter is to support MILENA PENKOWA, a charming lady (37)
clustering highly-tuned talent, supreme devotion to neuroscience research, charisma (gift form God, also from her Bulgarian mother),
all required features to be an excellent target of jealousy and envy accumulated in the Copenhagen University..... "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" as it was said in "Hamlet" Act I, Scene 4.
Marco Fiore. Istituto di Neurobiologia. Rome. Italy

to Marco Fiore

By Andrea on 16. May 2011, 14:18.

Quick note about the reference to Hamlet's "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark".
Being Italian myself, I would say that Marco Fiore is not in the best position to comment on any other country being or not being a rotten state.
I feel ashamed for those kind of uninformed comments that are not supported by any evidence but are rather just a bunch of bla bla bla like "gift form God, also from her Bulgarian mother", or alleged "target of jealousy and envy".

Andrea, Denmark


By George Chaldakov on 21. January 2011, 11:29.

Do agree with the comment of Dr Marco Fiore! And would like to add the following:
"Most probably, why not obviously, this is a smear campaign against Professor Milena Penkowa. I am sure the respective authorities will come to the right decision and clear her name. Milena must be very strong and rely on her tough Bulgarian roots in this battle. My warmest support to her! In accordance with Dr Fiore's support, do you listen the echo of "Something is rotten in some people in the University of Copenhagen", a paraphrase from "Hamlet" Act I, Scene 4." Please convey the following message to those people: the "sin" to be talented must be forgiven! As well as the transgression is not an academic event!

George N. Chaldakov, MD, PhD
Chairman of the Bulgarian Society for Cell Biology

Laboratory of Cell Biology
Medical University
BG-9002 Varna, Bulgaria

I only wanted to say that

By Andrea on 16. May 2011, 14:10.

I only wanted to say that this is not a national contest.... Just because she can rely on "tough Bulgarian roots" does not make her the "victim of a smear campaign". Your contribution does not offer any evidence towards her being not guilty and what you write has no substance whatsoever.
As a "Chairman of the Bulgarian Society for Cell Biology" your statements should be supported by scientific evidence rather than national pride.

Andrea, Denmark

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