January 18, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: February 2012

2 min read

A recent article in Nature News about a stem cell transplant company called Celltex got me thinking again about safety. The safety of stem cell-based therapies is kind of an obsession of mine. A question comes to mind. Are people realistic about what stem cells can do for them and the risks involved? The answer unfortunately is a resounding “no!” even when it comes to those people giving out the stem cell treatments. Let’s take the case of Celltex. In the Nature article, a …Read More

3 min read

Biomedical science is all about data, discoveries, brainstorming, and ultimately making a difference in patients’ lives, right? Isn’t it true? Well, hmmm….. I wish that were true and maybe at some point in the past it was true. Nowadays there is a different reality. The black hole at the center of most biomedical scientists’ universes is the grant submission process. The horrific equation that dominates most scientists’ lives is not some scientific one, but rather is the following: No money = no research In …Read More

4 min read

We have another Vatican stem cell meeting coming up this spring. This meeting raises some extremely important questions and complex issues at the interface of science, religion, philosophy and ethics. From the perspective of scientists, an important issue is whether (assuming one is invited) to attend such a meeting and if one does attend, is that action alone making a statement? If big-name scientists attend this meeting are they tacitly giving approval to the Vatican’s extreme stance on stem cells by attending? Or is …Read More

3 min read

There is a bill being considered here in the U.S. called the “Research Works Act”. This is without a doubt one of the dumbest bills I have ever heard of in my life.  The bill is bad for science and bad for America. If passed it would be an epic fail for America. Why? This bill would serve as an unnecessary wall between scientists and between scientists and the rest of America. The sole purpose of this bill is to protect the profits of traditional for-profit …Read More

1 min read

Some colleagues of mine (not all faculty) around the country have been having a heated email debate on which I have been an eavesdropper of sorts. The topic? How many hours should trainees in science (grad students and postdocs) work in the lab per week? Or as they put it in their emails: “Can trainees succeed in science working 9-5 Monday thru Friday?” What do you think? Take our poll above. Next week I’ll tell you my opinion.

6 min read

I confess. I have stem cells on the brain! Yeah, I probably  have a few stem cells left in this old brain of mine, but that’s not what I mean….rather, I mean that I am really curious and excited about how stem cells do their jobs in our brains. More specifically, I wonder about things such as how stem cells regulate brain growth during our development and also what goes awry for them to cause cancer. I also want to figure out how we …Read More

3 min read

Why do people have such a big brain compared to other animals? Vertebrate embryonic development is a highly conserved process, particularly in the earliest phases. (note: you may find this September 2020 post on regulation of bee brain size to be interesting.) A wide variety of vertebrate animals including humans start out with embryonic body plans that are similar. However, somewhere along the way, the ratio of the mass of the human brain/total body mass becomes very unusual, in fact completely unique. What is the …Read More

1 min read

I recently did a poll to which we’ve gotten a large number of responses asking the question: Is Obama anti-science? You can still take that poll here. The result so far indicate that vast majority believe that Obama is not anti-science. While 18% believe his policies are a mixed bag, only 2.6% flat out say he is anti-science. Now it will be interesting to see whether readers of this blog believe that Republican Leaders are anti-science. For the purpose of this poll, please keep …Read More

3 min read

I’ve now been blogging about stem cells here on The Niche for nearly 2 years, but why do I keep doing it? I’m by no means the only one who blogs about stem cells, but it is just that professors still are reluctant in the stem cell field to blog. Two outstanding blogs that tied for first place in my 2011 stem cell awards are the Stem Cell Network of Canada and Stem Cell Assays, by Drs. Gunn and Bersenev. As I said in my awards post, …Read More

2 min read

It wasn’t so long ago that I did a post explaining why after following the company for years, I finally bought a small amount of stock in the stem cell biotech, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT; symbol ACTC). In part it was motivated by my enthusiasm to see them publishing a paper, a very preliminary paper, on their human ES cell-based clinical trials for macular degeneration. However, being more of a scientist than a stock trader, I found myself fairly quickly having second thoughts, particularly …Read More