January 25, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: January 2012

6 min read

Lately I have been critical of an ultra-conservative political think tank-like foundation called the Witherspoon Institute. They have recently joined the federal lawsuit as friends of the plaintiffs suing to stop federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The Witherspoon Council has just published a 100+ page report on stem cells in the very conservative, somewhat obscure magazine called “New Atlantis“. Perhaps it will come as a big surprise to you that there are numerous things in the Witherspoon report with which I agree. For example, …Read More

1 min read

When I make the argument as I have repeatedly on this blog and in other contexts that as a whole the Republican Party and its leadership are anti-science, one of the counter arguments fired back at me is that Obama is himself anti-science. My initial reaction to this “Obama is anti-science” argument is somewhat visceral, thinking something along the lines of “bloody nonsense”. But I thought perhaps I should take their hypothesis seriously and see if there are any data supporting it. So what …Read More

2 min read

What’s the Witherspoon Institute? Most of you know about the 2 scientists who for their own reasons want to kill embryonic stem cell (ESC) research and with it the hopes for millions of people. Relatively new on most of our radar screens, however, is an extremist right-wing “think tank” called The Witherspoon Institute, which I refer to as the “Witherspoon Gang” because of their negative, yet powerful agenda. You know how some “elite” fraternities are in college are very snobby? These Witherspooners are basically …Read More

4 min read

Federal funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research is hanging by a tenuous thread at the moment. While currently legal, such funding is at the mercy of a legal case making its way through the courts. The latest stop for this case is a review by a 3-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court. The panel, randomly selected, is composed entirely of extremely right wing justices that are more inclined to rule based on ideology than law. Most observers, myself included, are convinced …Read More

1 min read

Just when I thought that the myths about stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, couldn’t get any more fantastic (as in based on fantasy), we have some bright folks out there thinking that soda (pop, coke, pepsi, whatever you call it) is made using embryonic stem cells. The headline goes: Pepsi is using embryonic stem cells to make better sodas. While it is true that the enormous corporation that is Pepsi contributes relatively small amounts of money to study the effects of sugar and possible …Read More

3 min read

Imagine my surprise as Republicans here in the U.S. have contributed mightily to stem cell research recently. Wait, what? There is a perception that when it comes to stem cell research and particularly embryonic stem cell research that there is a political divide with Republicans opposed to it and Democrats for it. Of course it is not that simple, but it sure seems like most Republican leaders (even if not necessarily ordinary Republicans) spew out a lot of anti-stem cell rhetoric and do extreme …Read More

1 min read

Texas is holding up a Texas-sized magnet for stem cell super star researchers and it is working. The upper mid-West is reeling from the departure of two stem cell superstars in less than one year and both went South to Texas. First in May 2011, we had the departure of Sean Morrison from U. of Michigan to UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Now today we hear that reportedly Doris Taylor is leaving U. of Minnesota and is also Texas bound, in this case …Read More

4 min read

Scientists are addicted to email. It’s difficult to dispute that statement, but is email good or bad for science? Superficially, it is easy to make the case that email is good for science. Email allows scientists all over the world to rapidly communicate with each other in ways that simply were not possible prior to the email era. In that way, email is an enabler of collaboration and data sharing. Email is also a far more concrete and even documentable method of communication compared …Read More

1 min read

There is a postdoc position available in the Knoepfler Lab at UC Davis School of Medicine in Stem Cell Research.  This position is funded by a grant from CIRM. The applicant filling this position will study epigenetic and genomic events in stem cells including iPS and ES cells as well as cancer stem cells. Qualified applicants will have an Ph.D., and M.D., or both. They must have a track record of first-author publications in internationally respected journals in molecular, cellular, or developmental biology or …Read More

3 min read

Today after years of following the company Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), I finally bought stock (ACTC) in it. Why? As a stem cell researcher myself working on human ES cells, iPS cells, and many other types of stem cells, I have been following ACT for years, but have never pulled the trigger to buy their stock….until now. They are conducting research on using human ES cell-based technology as treatments for blindness. They are also currently the only company with FDA approved clinical trials underway. At …Read More