Dr. Paul Knoepfler (@pknoepfler) is a biomedical scientist, science writer, advocate, and cancer survivor.
Mission. His philosophy is to make a transformative positive difference in biomedical science and wider communities both through innovative research and via novel approaches to educational outreach and policy.
His research interests are primarily focused on the epigenomics of cancer and stem cells with a particular focus on pediatric tumors and especially childhood brain tumors (see Knoepfler Lab page here).
Knoepfler is a Professor at UC Davis School of Medicine in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy (see Departmental Page here).
At UC Davis he is also a faculty member of the Genome Center, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Institute for Regenerative Cures (aka UC Davis Stem Cell Center), and the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine at Shriners Hospital for Children of Northern California.
He received his BA in English Literature from Reed College and PhD from UCSD School of Medicine in Molecular Pathology in the lab of Mark Kamps.
He did his postdoc with Bob Eisenman at The Hutch in Seattle, focused on MYC function in stem cells and cancer.
In addition to research, Knoepfler is an advocate for stem cell research and responsible use of innovative technologies more broadly.
For more on his concerns on heritable use of CRISPR in people, see his TED talk here.
He runs a popular stem cell research and policy blog called The Niche.
He has received a number of awards for science and advocacy (you can read more on Wikipedia).
The Knoepfler Lab
The Knoepfler Lab conducts stem and cancer cell as well as chromatin/epigenetics research at the UC Davis School of Medicine. (Note that other than PI Paul Knoepfler, the members of the Knoepfler lab are not affiliated with The Niche website. In other words, please don’t hold my blog against my trainees!)
Our team has two big picture goals: (1) catalyzing the development of more effective treatments for cancers based on targeting stem cell-related machinery in tumorigenesis and (2) producing safer stem cell-based regenerative medicine therapies. We are particularly interested in how chromatin and epigenomic machinery regulate normal stem cell fate and how perturbations of these pathways leads to human disease including cancers. We are in addition investigating the epigenomic mechanisms in cellular reprogramming and tumorigenesis in terms of cellular plasticity.
We focus on three main types of molecules that are part of these systems: the Myc family of proto-oncogenes, the novel pluripotency-related oncogenes DPPA4/DPPA2, and lately we are especially focused on the histone variant H3.3. All have roles in normal stem cells and in disease. We use a combined approach to determine the mechanisms by which these factors function including genetic, genomic, cell biological, and protein biochemistry methods. We have a strong track record of high impact publications in these areas.
You can contact Dr. Knoepfler at: [email protected].
The Knoepfler Lab currently receives funding from NIH in the form of 2 R01 grants and the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.