The woman who served as the inspiration for Greece's first Barbie doll has been accused of falsely claiming she is a leading scientist who has won awards for her work for Nasa.

Eleni Antoniadou, 31, 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 leading Transplants Without Donors, which creates artificial organs.

Cited as a "Greek scientist of global calibre" by national media, her accolades are said to include being named in a Forbes magazine's 30 under-30 list for healthcare, being voted 2013 Woman of the Year at the annual British FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards, winning the Nasa-Esa Outstanding Researcher Award, and presiding over the European Health Parliament.

However, Antoniadou's career has this week come under heavy scrutiny.


Antoniadou was announced as one of 20 role models as part of Barbie's "Sheroes" series to celebrate Barbie's 60th anniversary in March.

The website of Mattel, the Barbie manufacturer, says Antoniadou joined Nasa in 2012 as a researcher.

However, Costas Bouyioukos, an assistant professor of bioinformatics at Paris Diderot University in France, says she has never worked at Nasa, and only completed the agency's Frontier Development Lab, an eight-week educational programme.

Greek Hoaxes, a team committed to debunking fake news, also doubted 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.

The Nasa-Esa award does not appear to exist and Antoniadou's name does not appear on Nasa's record of award winners.

On Tuesday, she issued a statement on Facebook saying she was working on a project on artificial intelligence for Nasa. A spokesman for Nasa said she was not employed by the agency, but it could not rule out the possibility she had worked as a sub-contractor.