A 31-year-old Greek woman who has racked up international acclaim as a renowned scientist isn't one, academics said, and the US space agency NASA said she never worked there as she claimed.
Eleni Antoniadou, 31, has won praise and awards around the world for her supposed work in a wide range of fields, including regenerative medicine, artificial organ bioengineering and space medicine at NASA.
The British newspaper The Telegraph said it was told by NASA she had not been on the staff there and university professors also disputed her assertions, undercutting her frequent appearances n the media and her claims for international achievements and as she was just presented an achievement award by Greek Education Minister Niki Kerameus who said, “Her passion for science inspires us and fills us with optimism."
A Facebook post by Costas Bouyioukos, assistant professor of bioinformatics at Paris Diderot University in France that went viral went even further in discrediting her as he said “She is not even fit to be called a scientist for most people.”
Bouyioukos said she only and only completed the space agency's Frontier Development Lab, an eight-week educational program.
Antoniadou, the inspiration for Greece's first Barbie doll, has been described as a specialist in the fields of regenerative medicine, artificial organ bioengineering and space medicine, as well as training astronauts at NASA, and working as CEO of Transplants Without Donors, which creates artificial organs for transplants, the paper said.
She has been called a "Greek scientist of global calibre" by Greek media and was voted 2013 Woman of the Year at the annual British FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards, winning the NASA-ESA Outstanding Researcher Award in 2012 – which doesn't appear to be real - and presiding over the European Health Parliament.
Greek Hoaxes, a team which debunks fake news, also dismissed her claim to have worked on a team that built the first trachea implant to be successfully used on a patient at University College London, saying the patient died afterwards, the paper reported.
She issued a statement on Facebook saying she was working on a project on artificial intelligence for NASA but would not comment to the paper while a spokesperson for the agency said she was not an employee there but couldn't say if she had worked as a sub-contractor on projects.
The National Herald earlier wrote of her achievements as well, saying that he had said of her motivation: “Love another person, even when they lose themselves, when their hygiene is failing, when they don’t eat, when they don’t care if they are in the light or the darkness. When they have given up and you want to give them a kick and put them to bed. Love, even when you’re not sure it’s worth it. Admire them, even if they look at you without actually seeing you.”
She had said she was a researcher in the interdisciplinary fields of regenerative medicine and bioastronautics, specializing in the regeneration of artificial organs from stem cells as an alternative therapeutic pathway for transplants and worked on the creation of cerebral implants, artificial skin, muscles, ears, nerves and the esophagus.
She said she designed a series of bioreactors and tissue engineering tools and has created the world’s first amniotic fluid stem cell bank, conducted experimental studies on the development of bio-nanotubes as drug carriers for targeted cancer therapies, as well as clinical trials for stem cell therapies for lung cancer.
Antoniadou also said she was on the Advisory Committee of the Research and Analysis Organization, DIANEOSIS, in Greece and had been honored by the European Patent Organization in Germany but there were no reports in the wake of others challenging her background whether any of what she said she had done was true.