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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, Uniavisen.dk.

»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.«

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

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