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, also worth noting is the CIRM Research Blog by the super Amy Adams, the winner of our 2010 Blog of the Year Award and the California Stem Cell Report by David Jensen, who is focused on CIRM predominantly.
But to my knowledge I’m still the only faculty level blogger who has their own blog that their regularly post on in the stem cell field.
Then why do I do it?
Why do this if I sometimes find myself in hot water?
Some may say it is self-destructive to blog when I have a bull’s eye painted on my forehead for attacks from the virulent anti-stem cell community.
What are the considerations?
I do get hate mail, which is increasing.
I’ve been called a “baby killer”, I’ve been told multiple times that I’m going to hell, I’ve been called names and personally attacked….some scientists have pressured me to stop blogging, I’ve been told I’m hurting my career by telling it like I see it….so why do I still do it?
As I’ve written before, I was in part inspired by my own battle with cancer, flipping things around in my life such that I was both cancer and stem cell scientist, but also cancer patient/survivor.
I realize that this blogging is a risk for my career in some ways. On the other hand I believe that I am making a difference through not only my science, but also as a patient advocate through this blog. There are not many scientists who are also patient advocates, but I hope to change that because biomedical scientists have a responsibility to use their authority to advance hope for millions of patients.
I’m now more than two years out from cancer and still plugging away as described in a recent feature piece in the magazine of my alma mater, Reed College.
I also wrote a piece in Nature, where I talked about how I want to encourage other scientists to blog and I hope that in that way I can make a difference.
My motto: take a risk to help someone in need. For me, at least in part, I do this via this blog and have no intention of quitting.
I’m no martyr, but rather I simply am willing to put up with the negatives to do what I do because I believe it is right and makes a difference.