Shut Down This Blog or Else!

Is it time to shut this blog down?

Some people are saying I should or else!

This blog in its current incarnation has now existed for about a year.

I’m happy to say that in the last year our readership has grown quite a lot such that we get about 2,000 page views a week.

We remain, as far as  I know, the only real blog on stem cells written by a faculty level scientist.

Week after week, we often remain the only alternative to anti-stem cell pieces as a top five “hit” in Google News Searches for “Stem Cells”. As a result, most of our “company” on the Internet amongst the top sites are virulent opponents of stem cell research so I think we serve a very important purpose. We also often are the only general Google hit for “stem cell blog” that is not an anti-stem cell blog.

Along the way I’ve tried to “keep it real” by telling you what I think, while at the same trying not to piss off too many of my fellow scientists or funding agencies. It’s been a tricky balance.

I’ve gotten a lot of heat for this blog, but for various reasons I continue writing it.

In fact, some folks have gone so far as to tell me to stop blogging, to shut this blog down.

The clear or implicit threat from them  has been that if I continue this blog, I will pay the consequences from some of the stem cell community.  The threat is very real no matter what form it comes to me.

Maybe I’m stupid to keep doing this blog, but especially since my own battle with cancer I’m committed to being both a scientist and a patient advocate, and part of that is blogging.

I find it sadly ironic that it is not the opponents of stem cell research from whom I’m getting pushback and who want to shut this down, but instead it is some stem cell scientists who do not like a scientist speaking their mind and publicly being an advocate.

14 Comments


  1. Shutting down this blog will confirm that all faculty members in stem cell research are screwed. If they are not able to advocate the things they are doing in the lab for public, they are screwed.

    I absolutely don’t get it how “will pay the consequences from some of the stem cell community”? WTF? Unwillingness of public discussion and dialogue, absence of transparency, absence of unbiased analytics and unwillingness of using Web, will finally kill public trust in stem cell research and screw up the field. If faculty member are not willing to go public and explain things, they have something to hide.

    You know my opinion Paul, listen some opinions but follow your passion. Life is short.


  2. Hi Paul,

    I find your blog very interesting and enjoy reading it every week. As you stated, there is nothing else quite like it, and certainly nothing from a senior faculty member. I certainly hope you are able to continue doing what you want to do!


  3. Hi Paul,

    Please keep this blog going. It is motivational for myself as a student to be able to get insight into the field a couple times a week. I enjoy your posts. It’s a shame you’re facing criticism from within your field, as you’re taking on responsibilities others clearly don’t want to. You’re a promoter of the field and its funding, as well as democratizing the ideas and knowledge within the field. Please keep on!!


  4. Hi Alexey, Rumit, and Pat,
    Thanks for your support! It is really encouraging. I think a lot of scientists who started their careers before the internet have little sense of how important it is for communication and that includes blogs. Others see blogs as somehow “beneath” scientists, which is really ridiculous.


  5. Please keep the blog going. As a reporter who has interviewed you and who reads your blog, I find your observations helpful. And I’m very disappointed with those who are pressuring you to stop. We need more experts reaching out to the public, not fewer.


  6. Please please please keep this blog going. I am a graduate student who may enter the stem cell field shortly through a post doc. I very much enjoy your insight and updates regarding stem cell issues that I would otherwise be none the wiser (ex. ASGCT coverage). Just continue to avoid forcing your opinions on others or claiming that stem cell opponents are WRONG or LYING (a trait rather rampant amongst that side), and I see no reason why people should be offended by your blog.


  7. Paul,
    I enjoy reading your blog! As a research scientist, your perspective is both interesting and insightful. I would compare your blog to Pharmalot.com. Both sites provide timely and relevant information. ipscell.com is the only resource i know of whereby an “average” person like myself, can find meaningful insight into current events surrounding what I consider to be the greatest potential advancement in medicine, harnessing the power of stem cells to restore lost function.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your time to enlighten me and others.

    Sincerely,

    Paul H


  8. Hi Paul,
    I enthusiastically support your stem cell blog! Don’t let the naysayers get to you. It is obvious that many people (both scientists and nonscientists) are benefitting from the information on your site. For example, I first heard about the immune rejection-IPSC paper from your stem cell blog. It was interesting to hear right away what people were saying about this paper even before I read it. Education and outreach are major responsibilities of faculty, and your blog clearly accomplishes that in a novel way. Although it is important to acknowledge that many if not most stem cell faculty engage in numerous other avenues of stem cell advocacy and outreach (publications, testifying to congress, public speaking), your blog is an innovative niche that works well in the internet age!

    Chris P. Miller, PhD


  9. Paul,
    I really appreciate your blog. Please don’t give in. As a stem cell researcher myself (over 40 years), I think we have to keep constantly fighting against the ignorance and the willful spreading of misinformation. Who or why someone in the stem cell research field would want your blog shut down is a mystery to me. They should be out with us fighting the fight.

    Jim Eliason, Ph.D.


  10. Hi Paul,
    Communicating with those outside of academia and taking back the curtain of regenerative medicine is in my opinion is the surest way to bring more people on the side of ethical stem cell research. As you know Oklahoma, Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama are moving towards criminalizing research involving (hESC). Imagine one of your colleagues being arrested for research? We have not seen this kind of criminalization of science since the middle ages. The idea for my website http://www.investorstemcell.com in part arose from your blog & other science professionals whom have blogs and engage the public. Investor Stem Cell.com has about 30 RN/MD’s and a few PhD’s whom are members that bring great value from his/her science experience. Education & dialogue is some of the ways to counter balance the well-funded naysayers whom have dictated public perception of stem cell research.
    If you asked a 100 people off the street, where do human embryonic stem cells come from for research? 75% would say an abortion clinic, 24% would say they do not know & 1% would say an in-vitro clinic. If you asked the same 100 people the following.
    What should be done with left over embryos from an in-vitro clinic?
    a) Burned in a medical waste fire
    b) Left frozen in stasis til the end of time
    c) Be used in medical research to treat cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, blindness and etc.
    98% of the 100 average Americans would say the answer is “ c “!!! So to answer your question, Do not stop speaking your mind on this blog! Matter of fact, recruit some of your colleagues and bring them over to Investor Stem Cell.com!!! Investor Stem Cell.com has only been up for 7 weeks and has between 1,000-3,000 “absolute-unique” visitors per day! 700,000 pages views last month & it is all word of mouth. I have not even advertised yet. Come and educate the general public. I am convinced that the bringing investors and science professionals together is how we can rebrand regenerative medicine.

    Please email me at [email protected]

    SF


  11. I really enjoy this blog – please don’t shut it down! I find it to be a very accessible medium for learning about iPS cells and possible clinical applications of stem cell science (I also like that you blog using your real name; kudos!).


  12. Dr. Knoepfler’s blog is vital to the democratic process. All too often, the only voice that is heard is the opposition. Opponents of the research have what appears to be a far greater grasp on the media than do supporters.

    In simple fact, almost no scientist supports the ban on research proposed by ideologues.

    But because the opponents have so much media influence (conservative politico-religious blogs for one) it sounds like there is an even split among scientists.

    This is why Dr. Knoepfler’s writing is so needed.

    Thanks, Doc. Please keep taking the heat.

    If the ideologues win, the research stops.

    We must each one of us continue to do whatever little bit we can to support research and reason– the basis of science itself.

    best,

    Don C. Reed

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Stem Cell Researcher Paul Knoepfler Reports Blog Shutdown Pressure « NCTimes.com Blogs
  2. Stem Cell Researcher Says He’s Pressured To Close His Blog « SD Rostra

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