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    Confessions of a Stem Cell Scientist
    By Paul Knoepfler | July 6th 2011 07:46 PM | 11 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Paul

    Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy at UC Davis School of Medicine. Long-time stem cell and cancer scientist. Cancer survivor...

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    I confess. I am a stem cell scientist.

    I might even be an evil scientist because you see my lab works with human embryonic stem cells along with a lot of other types of stem cells.

    Hopefully even if I am an evil scientist, I am not an evil mad scientist, but that probably depends on who you ask.

    This is not what I am here to confess in this blog or specifically in this blog post, but I thought I should just tell you about me for background.

    One thing that I am here to confess is that I am not your normal, every day stem cell scientist, but rather I am a bit of a rebel in that I am a scientist who talks and blogs publicly about what I actually think. In fact, I go so far as to actively advocate for stem cell research and for patients.
     
    I contact politicians and tell them about stem cells. I even say how I think they should vote and the reasons why. When I see an article on the Web that I believe promotes an anti-stem cell research agenda, I blog about it ( http://www.ipscell.com ) and sometimes I even go for the jugular.
     
    One time in my blog I even did a smackdown, to quote another journalist, of a specific piece by NY Times science writer Nicholas Wade, whom I am a big fan of, when he published a puzzling, anti-stem cell piece in the Times Science Section (one of my favorite weekly reads).
     
    So I guess what I am confessing in this blog post is that I am not just a scientist, but also somewhat of an activist. The two usually do not go together.

    More generally, in this blog, I will post "confessions" of a sort about what goes on behind the laboratory door in the stem cell field. 

    What do stem cell scientists really think about things like iPS cells? ES cells? When life begins? Funding? Publishing? Tenure? 

    Stay tuned and you can find out.
    Paul



    Comments

    Hank
     I am a bit of a rebel in that I am a scientist who talks and blogs publicly about what I actually think.
    We won't rest until everyone in science does just that.  If it becomes the norm, plain speaking and honesty can't be a negative.    And you will be surprised at the impact you have on people by talking to a wide audience outside journals and conferences - a million people a month are here to find out what you think.

    Welcome to the site!
    Gerhard Adam
    Now that sounds more like it.  In your other post, it wasn't clear how you meant the concept of an "agenda".

    Hopefully there will be an opportunity for some interesting discussions.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Tell me about stem cell science. Put it in whatever order you wish, I'll read it. If need be, I'll ask questions. Bring it on.

    vongehr
    I am not your normal, every day XYZ scientist, but rather I am a bit of a rebel in that ... I go so far as to actively advocate for XYZ research
    Hmm, I not yet see you hanging with Che there buddy.
    scientists ... somewhat of an activist. The two usually do not go together. ... "confessions" of a sort about what goes on behind the laboratory door in the XYZ field.
    I try that from time to time in my fields. Nobody likes whistle blowers though, nobody. Critics are effectively silenced, their publications rejected, their funds dry up. So, I am a little apprehensive here about what your confessions actually are. Hopefully not as 'rebellious' as advocating for your own field.




    Hank
    Hopefully not as 'rebellious' as advocating for your own field.
    Well, yes, a biologist supporting stem cells is as rebellious as me taking a stand against slavery.  But he did criticize a Democrat one time, which is rebellious for American science academia.   Political diversity levels in universities would be a human rights travesty if it were the same levels for women and races.
    Gerhard Adam
    You're against slavery???
    Mundus vult decipi
    pknoepfler
    I have no intention of being a whistleblower nor I am not much of a rebel really. It's just that most scientists won't talk in public about anything.
    Paul S. Knoepfler, Ph.D. Associate Professor UC Davis School of Medicine http://www.ipscell.com
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    It's just that most scientists won't talk in public about anything.
    Yes, I must admit I've noticed that too. I am also looking forward to your future articles here. My oldest son is one of the first 100 microinjection (now known as ICSI) babies in the world and the first at Sydney IVF clinic, so I am very interested in the activities past, present and future of the scientists who develop all animal and human cell research and technology and also in the concepts around when life begins. 

    My IVF doctor insisted on showing me my son as a 5 celled raspberry like embryo under the microscope, before he was then placed into my womb. I was fascinated to see the embryo but very worried that the microscope light was overheating him, I thought the the doctor was amazingly casual about the whole thing. The funny thing was that my son had a fear of anyone wearing rubber gloves for the first few years of his life for some unknown reason!

    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Please would you be able to e-mail me back at steve.nadison@hotmail.com as I would like to ask you a few questions about stem cells If you dont mind please.

    Oliver Knevitt
    Looking forwards to this!

    Oliver
    miles
    good suspense.... i look forward for more as you promise....the earlier the better