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Plain summary of what happened in CRG, Barcelona

Here are some notes of a computer scientist’s experience who was very near to get a TBI while working with Maria Lluch, CRG‘s staff scientist.
The latter has been promoting her scientific career servicing to Luis Serrano, CRG Director for his private needs, which, however extraneous or ugly it may look like, hands down should not be whoever else’s business unless well-being of another persons and research integrity were drastically affected and put in a shambles.

In previous posts you can see mainly inside description (with the copies of emails and other documents) of the working and firing process performed within the walls of «an international biomedical research institute of excellence» — i.e. CRG, EMBL outstation in Barcelona: the torture of mobbing and lies with yet hardly believable outcome lasted for several months.
(Court hearing is scheduled for the end of Jan, 2018 as this is in Spain, so very apt country for misconduct being unabated).

The only excuse for so direct summary of what happened is that the nature of Maria Lluch-Senar’s job at CRG and peculiar success is of no secret within those walls, also due to quite open demonstration of her deep connection, way far to be really intellectual, with her patron accompanied by «the closest person, his right hand, she can get fired anyone» (indeed! not to mention full access to CRG director‘s desktop…), so forth interesting confessions and blatant research misconduct.

Scientific misconduct is not uncommon in Spain
It’s worth to mention, that all this shame is silently supported and even sponsored with millions of € grants both by EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) and ERC (European Research Council)

Docs & Emails of the case on GitHub

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CRG, Barcelona is holier-than-thou

Here are the threats of legal persecution I’ve got from CRG, Barcelona, signed by Managing Director Bruna Vives on behalf of the Centre and Luis Serrano, CRG Director, of course. Look at the Centre for Genomic Regulation at their finest in intimidating and disrespect.
My notes are below the copies (clickable to enlarge).

CRG, Barcelona: job and threats after they have interrupted a work contract, page 1, in English, by Bruna Vives
CRG, Barcelona: job and threats after they have interrupted a work contract, page 2, in English, by Bruna Vives
Spanish version:
CRG, Barcelona: job and threats after they have interrupted a work contract, page 1, in Spanish, español de Bruna VivesCRG, Barcelona: job and threats after they have interrupted a work contract, page 2, in Spanish, español de Bruna Vives
  1. Here we have a classical actus reus.
  2. This threatening from CRG, Barcelona under the claim to keep «professional secrecy» (are these people even sane?) and «confidentiality», i.e. the claim to keep silence about their excellence in research misconduct, followed by these threats where I’m named as «and / or» doing even something «criminal», — looks like fit of anger unless just laughable. They are supposed to represent a Spanish intellectual elite, aren’t they?
  3. Solely this claim to keep their threats confidential (see also the bottom of the pages) should be enough to launch the investigation on the activity of the top employees of CRG, including here-below mentioned favorite of Luis Serrano, CRG Director (ah, all right… she’s supposed to be on the top anyway…).
  4. NDA (appendix to the work contract) I signed, concerned the contract in force or expired.
    My contract is not expired or in force: it was interrupted (terminated — as they’ve recognized it themselves in their threat) by CRG, Barcelona due to alleged disobedience to another employee who was not even my immediate superior, the latter was silently dismissed from being such, excluded from the working process and substituted by incompetent, but badly ambitious and quite passively aggressive Director’s favorite, Maria Lluch Senar, as a «co-leader» of the project with so peculiar correspondence style (how come that such individuals can even get MS and even PhD in Spain?)

  5. I was slandered and mobbed by this M Lluch-Senar, CRG staff scientist (intensively supported by her patron, Luis Serrano, CRG Director in whatever she’s been saying about me) several times, she announced me that I’d be dismissed anyway the very next day after she was set as my boss by Luis Serrano.
    Luis Serrano was persistently coercing me, in written too, to talk only alone with his favorite (who by the way is craving for a PI position and her henpecked is desperate to help her).
    I called for CRG’s Conflict Resolution Committee, which has completely ignored my complains and followed Luis Serrano‘s non-negotiable instructions forcing me to recognize scientific authority of his favorite, who persistently lied about my personality, aggressively refusing to get or accept any technical reasoning out of her competence.
    Moreover. She was misleading me with data sources and urging me to work with erroneous data concocted by herself.
    I said no.

    I was given «24 hours» to confirm my response.
    I was fired by the end of the same week.

  6. CRG was already clearly told off about the neglect of their duty and reputation — they have completely disrespected the words of the conciliation officer, they have even refused to present themselves directly on the hearing.
    They had given no care to their reputation then and now suddenly they have decided to take care about it, starting with threats, apparently from the bottom of their hearts and their notion of what the (academical) culture is. Surely they don’t just perform only a bare money laundering using their positions in Spanish science.
    Now they claim that one of their former, thrown out on the streets, employee is damaging their «honour» or «reputation» even «with the intention».

    Bruna Vives, CRG, Barcelona: shameful performance of responsibility
      Dear CRG, Luis and Bruna,

    • If it’s possible for you to put a word «or» between «honour» and «reputation» which you claim you have (after you have lied so dishonourably) — then, obviously, only an upper authority could explain you something about what honour and reputation are: it seems you’re still uncertain about these entities. No wonder you have failed to keep them intact.

      You did it on your own.

      No one has forced you to behave like you have.

      Paraphrasing Bertolt Brecht («Vertrauen wird dadurch erschöpft, daß es in Anspruch genommen wird»), your honour and reputation begin to vanish the very moment you claim you have them damaged the way you do it, — especially after you were utterly unable to display at least a minimum respect to your employee, let alone the kind of integrity you have shown as pertinent to you.

      My story is just a shadow on the sand in the background of your behaviour and culture. I’m too small comparing to your own self-exposure.
      «We trust that your knowledge, skills and experience will be among our most valuable assets» — remember the text of your offer? — you gave no respect to any of thus enumerated (by your own) qualities. That’s why the only point you could use to attack me with your misconduct was a «discipline».
      Which is ridiculous since you do not have any notion of what it is.
      Not to mention work ethics.
    • I don’t damage your «honour or reputation» as you claim «with the intention».
      I speak out, that’s it.
    • And of course I would only greet an independent open investigation of your professional activity and of its compliance with your own Code of Good Scientific Practice.
      Even then I doubt that it could depreciate your significance and self-worth acquired with such diligence by your so creative advertising of your excellence, with your passionate appeal for money throughout your much more conspicuous networking, connections, pulls and of course… well… social network accounts. Just don’t stop disseminate food & drinks for your subscribers and sponsors as you used to do it: to make sure they would love your excellent science.
      And, Bruna, seriously… I am so sorry, but having known now the story of your appointment, this your threatening burofax speech looks like a sincere coming out, especially when it’s read in Spanish. But of course, of course, it’s not how it looks like.

Given the whole story I reckon that the above text is not too harsh and I apologize if someone’s sensitive feelings are touched, —
Katerina aka Catherine

How a Computer Scientist was illegally fired from CRG (Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona)
for disobedience to the Director’s favorite Maria Lluch Senar
Director:  Luis Serrano Pubul
Lab: Design of Biological Systems (Serrano lab)
Project: Mycoplasma DB for MycoSynVac / ERC funded
Meet Franco-styled modern Spanish science:

Luis Serrano and Maria Lluch reject conciliation under a weird pretext

«Academia is full of rogue scientists doing their own shit using public assets» ©

These people turned out to be unable to stand up to their own deed.

On 06 Feb’17 in Barcelona there was a conciliation meeting with the CRG’s legal representative about legitimacy of a computer scientist’s dismissal from this Spanish research institution.
CRG’s legal representative was a young girl from a lawyer firm, so they decided to spend money for the legal service, having their own legal department.

This girl has burst into tears after being told off by the official in the conciliation office (Department de Treball, Afers Socials i Families, Generalitat de Catalunya).
She had nothing to do with these people and she took it hard.

Conciliation officer (Maria Bachs) told that she met such disrespect the first time in her practice: when a public organization (scientific one!) which can’t help admitting the breach of the law is so disrespectful to it, also clearly demonstrating no care about its public reputation and lack of responsibility.
So unless the following is signs of corruption and rogue science, there should be another reasonable explanation.

They had to admit that the dismissal was illegal, but they said that they want to bring the case to the Court because they are «accountable for the money».

How is it consistent with the payment to the off-site company for a legal service, having it their own on site?

But there were a lot of weird inconsistencies in this case, please see below.

Update: Court hearing is scheduled for 31 January 2018. This is Spain.

Luis Serrano, CRG, forces to talk alone with Maria Lluch Senar…

(yes, that was spooky!)
…whereas what Maria Lluch proposes «does not make any sense» © Luis Serrano Pubul
(and that was very true)

This is all about scientific institution. This is where your tax money goes to…

How much money, for instance? — see here (H2020) in general,
more exactly: €2,454,522: ERC-2014-ADG grant [1]
So the DB for Mycoplasma project should have been funded from this money…

First, ask yourself: what would you do if a blatant liar aggressively required from you recognition of her scientific authority (whereas it’s way far to be even necessary)?
And what if she were supported by her patron?

CRG is «an international biomedical research institute of excellence»

CRG mission, vision and values:
«Integrity, ethics and social responsibility»

Mission of CRG (Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona)

Oops! Really??

Dictation to process concocted data, coercion to talk only alone (that was felt very awkward) with someone allegedly responsible, work without necessary collaboration, repeated threats, bullying, slandering, repeated lies, and dismissal at the end — was this all included in that «integrity», «ethics» and «social responsibility»?

«Now I did a job. I ain’t got nothing but trouble since I did it… not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character. So let me make this abundantly clear» © Firefly

Luis Serrano Pubul: «I think what maria proposed does not make any sense»
A few months later the very same person fired the main addressee of this letter for refusal to recognize the same maria’s scientific authority — interesting, isn’t it?

On 06/07/16 18:39, Luis Serrano Pubul wrote:
> Dear Katerina
> Could we meet next week […]?
> I think what maria proposed to connect directly to the MS raw data or sequencing data does not make any sense.

All right. Very true. But wait, what?

Luis Serrano Pubul: «You need to leave the lab if you do not talk with her alone»

On 15/11/16 10:26, Luis Serrano Pubul wrote:
> Katerina I can try to be there, but remember what we discussed if you cannot work with Maria and you cannot talk with her alone you need to leave the lab end of December. She is your boss for the project.
> Thanks
> Luis
>
> From: Katerina Кirsаnоva
> Sent: martes, 15 de noviembre de 2016 10:21 a.m.
> Cc: Luis Serrano Pubul
> Subject: Re:
>
> Dear Luis,
> I wouldn’t like to discuss it with Maria tete-a-tete, please.
> I just need the doc file with specification on the formats.
>
> Cheers, –
> Catherine
> El 11/15/16 a las 07:45, Maria Lluch Senar escribió:
>> Hi Katerina
>> We can talk about MS files at 16,30. Is it ok for you?

Of course they perfectly knew that Katerina could talk alone with Maria.
But when you’re threatened and coerced to talk alone with someone no matter what is going on and no matter whether your job requires work collaboration — this feels flat out wrong, at very least it makes you just sick. Moreover, if you’re already absolutely certain: you cannot give them what they are eager to get from you — and that is not your job and professional skills.

K. was doomed anyway, Luis was playing here as by the time of this his email, several weeks before it, Maria already wrote K. that K. would be fired anyway:

On 28/09/16 14:23, Maria Lluch Senar wrote:
> I have talked with Luis and he said me that he has given you the opportunity to work for three months in the lab and to finish the project.

Maria wrote that (with cc to Luis Serrano Pubul) the very next day after K. was told that she’s her boss: the day before this email, on 27/09/16, Luis told K. in his office that for K. to save her job he gave her 3 months to get along 1) with Maria and 2) with the people in the lab — as at the same time K. was falsely accused that she can work with no one, — so if K. gets along with no one then K. is fired.
In reality both these two so nice «warrants» were put away almost immediately.
«There’s no honor among thieves».
K. had no problems whatsoever with the folks in the lab, that was too obvious, but certainly did not matter: apparently Maria was already promised that after 3 months «the toy» would be discarded.

Luis Serrano's wife, Isabelle Vernos, corruption, CRG, Barcelona, ERC: European Research Counsil, Conflict of interest

From Library of the European Parliament, «Conflicts of interest in public administration», 05/02/2013:

[1] Isn’t it piquant:

Chair of Women In Science/Gender Balance Committee at CRG,
Isabelle Vernos is at the same time…
— Director’s (Luis Serrano’s) wife & member of the ERC Scientific Council.

But otherwise. What was that?
Franco style (á la féminin) of management in science?
Hard to bring up other allusions…

Timeline of the project for the Mycoplasma DB at CRG

«You should realize that Maria can get fired everyone, even me» [HR]

K. made this schema (updated with last events) for Conflict Resolution Committee at CRG.

Later the CRG Administration dishonourably implied (see below) that this Committee was allegedly called to make her follow the discipline. But that was the other way around: the Committee was called for by K. to resolve the issues with Maria Lluch’s professional misconduct and incompetence.

All fairly appropriate Committee’s suggestions (transfer K. to another lab, Luis Serrano supervising project as its real leader) were rejected by Luis Serrano, who was forcing K. to recognize his favorite’s (i.e. Maria Lluch’s) scientific authority: that was his «non-negotiable requirement» (see below)

Luis Serrano, CRG and his favorite Maria Lluch Senar at work: timeline of Mycoplasma DB project
[click to enlarge]

«…this is not England or Europe, here there is no honor or ethics, just pure corruption»
[a colleague]

Maria Lluch Senar: colors of the work correspondence, data manipulation

Remember the time when scientific debates were open and public?
Maria’s comment on the 3rd point below (all in red… doesn’t it ring a bell?) is extremely marvelous.
Don’t miss the moment of the new proteins discovery when she will find them.
Especially after she finds someone to process concocted by herself Excel files of >100Mb, 15 spreadsheets each…
which are… ta-dam! — a «new format» © Maria Lluch Senar
— hand-made copy-pastes from standard mass spec files which were already processed.

Then ask yourself a fair question:
Why the hell the standardized files from the machine had to be concocted by Maria’s hand before the analysis and processing into the DB?
Why she was so eager to make her own «new format» though being utterly illiterate in the subject of standardization and data formats for analysis/DB processing?

So when you seem to be involved into a quite probable scientific misconduct (the negligent data making up, actually sheer data manipulation!) by a person who repeatedly lies, spreads slander and intrigues behind someone’s back — think about that you may become a scapegoat at the end. Even if you only get stained — it’s still the shame.
Yes, it is awkward to read…
But much more shameful thing is to be cowed by a person who made her move up to the position she holds by a very questionable way.
And to realize why this her way up is so questionable and shameful for a scientist: enough to see how she avoids open discussion and open exchange of the opinions. Enough to have it experienced — of how she’s been craving to fuck K.’s brain claiming to be alone with herself.

When a person, who repeatedly stresses you out, disrupts your work and utterly unable to openly and constructively discuss the project with all involved parties — it’s freaking disgusting when the very same person also claims to have you alone with herself: indeed just to fuck you (your brain actually but when your brain is violently fucked — it hurts unbearably).

P.S. in this email below K’ words are only those of black font

Above we can see the favorite Maria’s trip up, used repeatedly in her emails to K.:
«If you think that changing the pipeline to consider the new format is not possible please let us know and we will find the way to implement it».

She’s been absolutely unable to perceive any explanations why her undoubtedly genius idea just would not work: her ignorant obtrusion of the way how the data analysis (which is not her expertise at all) should be technically carried out just must be accepted with complete obedience no matter how feasible it is to perform at least partially. As soon as you start bringing her technical reasoning, however best you try keeping patience etc — she gets aggressive almost immediately throwing at you here-above quoted her favourite trip up.

Literally: «I am the one with the scientific authority here — you only must listen and follow! You cannot follow my genius ideas? — Shut up! Fired!!»