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Rector was warned about Penkowa in 2003

Media report that Ralf Hemmingsen was tipped off as early as 2003 about Milena Penkowa's research results in Spain

A telephone tip-off from a professor in Odense could, and should, have warned University of Copenhagen Rector Ralf Hemmingsen about brain researcher Milena Penkowa.

This is according to

Professor Jens Zimmer Rasmussen from the University of Southern Denmark called Hemmingsen in August 2003, after a Spanish colleague questioned the validity of research that was supposedly carried out by Penkowa in Spain.

Samples did not prove conclusions

The Spanish physiologist, Juan Hidalgo from the University of Barcelona, co-authored an article with Penkowa. But when Hidalgo visited Copenhagen, Penkowa was reluctant to show him the samples of tissue from 784 rats, that underpinned their results.

When he finally saw the samples, they simply did not demonstrate the conclusions that were drawn in the article, says Jens Zimmer Rasmussen.

After speaking to Hidalgo at a conference in Prague, Rasmussen himself made a call to Ralf Hemmingsen to warn him about the concerns of the Spanish researcher.

Ticking bomb

In a telephone memo written by Hemmingsen after the conversation on 13 August 2003, the University of Copenhagen rector concluded that he would »evaluate the case«.

»Ralf Hemmingsen said to me that he would deal with the case, and that I should not do anything further,« says Jens Zimmer Rasmussen.

»I assumed that the university would deal with this. But instead she was allowed to continue, and the university even rewarded her with a prize. I don’t understand how Ralf Hemmingsen dared. We were just waiting for the bomb to go off,« he continues.

Names and dates will be revealed

Ralf Hemmingsen says to that he did indeed investigate the case, by contacting the Spanish institution in question.

»I took contact to Spain, but it remained unconfirmed whether the researchers had made the statements that Jens Zimmer Rasmussen had reported,« says Hemmingsen.

He does not wish to reveal precisely whom he spoke to in Spain, but says that names and dates will be in an upcoming report from legal advisors Kammeradvokaten.

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