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PhD student fears reputation in Penkowa case

Human biology researcher wants name cleared from Penkowa co-authorship

Of the 58 reseachers who have called for a thorough investigation of all the facts concerning the Penkowa case, one PhD in human biology has stepped forward requesting for her research not to be associated with Penkowa’s.

»I have a co-authorship with Milena, and now that she has such a poor reputation I would like to see all her work reviewed so that my article can be cleared of the association,« says Malene Ambjørn in an interview with Universitetetsavisen.

Ambjørn wrote her thesis on the protein metallothionein, which is Penkowa’s specialisation, and was therefore given the high profile brain scientist as principal advisor. But the collaboration did not go as planned, she explained.

Read the open letter from the 58 scientists.

Lack of expertise h2>
Malene Ambjørn researched metallothionein which resulted in the publication of an article on the protein. During this time it was decided that Milena Penkowa should also have her name on the article, even though she only served as supervisor on an early stage in the process.

»I was very much against it, because I did not believe that she had contributed to the article. But in our field is it unfortunately often the case that people get their name on items that they might have contributed little to,« says Malene Ambjørn.

Because Milena Penkowa and Malene Ambjørn use different research methods, two other scientists were also attached to the project. Malene Ambjørn is happy with this decision today.

Not worried about scrutiny

»It is okay that Milena has a different expertise area than I do, but I feel I was incredibly ill-treated. Discussions in her lab were not open to criticism,« says Malene Ambjørn.

She is not scared about having her own work subjected to scrutiny in a possible investigation, she says.