Great ideas and talented scientists are not enough as biomedical research needs funding and here in the U.S. that means having R01 grant success. The trends since 1995 are slowly heading the wrong way. The average age of getting your first R01 grant keeps getting older. There is also still a bit of a possible gender gap on R01s but I’m not clear on how significant it is.
It’s also a problem that the standard R01 grant is still $250K/year, a total that in real spending power has eroded over the years because of inflation. At the bottom of the post the last article cited is from NIH on the grant trends.
Okay, turning to stem cells, the news of the week is the lawsuit of the lady who says she was blinded in one eye by a stem cell clinic. It’s a sad deja vu situation given that numerous other people have filed suits for losing vision at various clinics too.
I would have hoped by now that nobody would be doing injections of fat cells or whatever into people’s eyes anymore at clinics.
DPPA2 and 4 in stem cells and cancer
Moving on to the new science for the week, my lab has a new review out on a very interesting group of stem cell-related transcription factors called the “DPPA” factors.
We especially focus on DPPA4 and DPPA2, which are related proteins that are specific to pluripotent cells and cancer. New studies suggest roles for them in ZGA or zygotic gene activation.
More stem cell pubs, policy, etc.
- Transcriptomic taxonomy and neurogenic trajectories of adult human, macaque, and pig hippocampal and entorhinal cells, Neuron. This work adds to the debate over adult human neurogenesis by arguing against it. I lean toward thinking there is some neurogenesis going on at a low level.
- A cis-acting mechanism mediates transcriptional memory at Polycomb target genes in mammals, Nat Gen.
- Hif-1a suppresses ROS-induced proliferation of cardiac fibroblasts following myocardial infarction, Cell Stem Cell.
- Single-cell transcriptomic characterization of a gastrulating human embryo, Nature. Single-cell RNA-Seq on a human embryo is striking. I believe I saw on Twitter that the authors received the embryo as a donation after it wasn’t needed any longer for fertility purposes.
- Stem cell clinics in the UK: a web-based study, Reg. Med.
- Identifying regulators of parental imprinting by CRISPR/Cas9 screening in haploid human embryonic stem cells, Nat Comm.
- Stanford prof fights efforts to make him pay at least $75,000 in legal fees after dropping defamation suit, Retraction Watch. What a mess.
- Long-Term Trends in the Age of Principal Investigators Supported for the First Time on NIH R01-Equivalent Awards, NIH