Professor Paul Knoepfler, Ph.D.

Paul Knoepfler, Ph.D. is a Professor at UC Davis School of Medicine in Cell Biology and Human Anatomy. His lab does research on stem cells and cancer, especially from an epigenomic angle. He also has been working on policy and ethics matters for many years. The author of 3 books, he also has a popular TED talk on designer babies.

I found something Elon Musk & I agree on: pushing back on anti-aging bluster

Elon Musk

Would you guess that Elon Musk might be into using biotechnology in a high-profile way to try to live far longer than usual, say to age 150? That would have been my assumption. There are countless things about Elon Musk that I really don’t like. I also don’t see many issues on which we are …

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Weekly reads: AL embryos ruling, blasting cancer, marrow organoids, beef inside rice plants

Multipotent & totipotent vs pluripotent stem cells, very early human embryos totipotent stem cells

Are small clusters of cells that make up 5-day-old human embryos equivalent to children? Biologically and in terms of just common sense, the answer is “no.” These tiny spheres have around 100 cells and no organs. Actual people have many trillions of cells, brains, and other organs. Alabama law on embryos may block IVF About …

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The zoo that is stem cells on Reddit

crazy carnival, stem cells on Reddit

Can you learn important things about stem cells on Reddit? Yes, you can, but it’s a wild experience at times. Researchers may often think about stem cells through the lens of traditional routes of communication like academic journals, but laypeople turn elsewhere to learn about regenerative medicine. This includes digging into stem cells on Reddit. …

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Weekly reads: brain aging, perinatal stem cell clinics, $1M lab meat fine bill

brain aging

What happens during brain aging and how can we tell if dementia is coming? Are there particular early hallmarks? There are an increasing number of medical tests for predicting or detecting dementia. Alzheimer’s disease can often be detected early. But what do patients or their doctors do with such information? Until recently there weren’t any …

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Weekly reads: cool olfactory tuft cells, T-cell therapy, NK cells

Olfactory epithelium, Olfactory histology

There’s a fascinating type of olfactory cell. These so-called tuft cells have unusual characteristics, especially for nose cells. I had never heard of them before until reading a new article. The inside of the nose may not seem like a very attractive place but there are cool “nose stem cells” in there.  More broadly, there …

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9th Circuit hearing on FDA appeal of Cell Surgical Network case: maybe encouraging?

Cell Surgical Nework

I was able to watch some of the 9th Circuit Court hearing today on the FDA appeal of its loss in the Cell Surgical Network lawsuit. This post is my brief impressions as a scientist. What went down? Do the three judges seem to be leaning one way or another? The ruling in this case …

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Man could get 240 yrs for amniotic fluid for knees Medicare scam

A Justice Department press release details how a physician’s assistant (PA) in Texas was convinced of fraud related to amniotic fluid injections. This story tells us some important things about how Medicare handles things versus the FDA approach to such things. Amniotic fluid scam A jury found Ray Anthony Shoulders, a PA at a pain …

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Weekly reads: Xist & autoimmune disease in women, Crohn’s disease, dumb headline of the week

Xist ,auto immune disease

Readers of The Niche have asked me many questions about stem cells for autoimmune disease but the puzzle of why women get these conditions more often than men hasn’t come up before here. For instance, why is MS so much more common in women than men? It’s remained somewhat of a mystery over the years. …

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Long-term hope on stem cells for deafness

stem cells for deafness

A reader of The Niche recently asked me, “What about stem cells for deafness?” It’s a great question and, as they pointed out, stem cells for vision loss gets much more attention. I’ve covered the translational progress of stem cells to treat many diseases but there has been less progress for deafness in the regenerative …

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Perspectives 10 years after STAP cells: the culture of science, misconduct, & hopes for progress

Haruko-Obokata-小保方-晴子-

Exactly ten years ago today, on January 29, 2014, I wrote about two new Nature papers on so-called STAP cells. The papers claimed that stress alone could convert regular non-stem cells into some of the most powerful stem cells. More specifically, the authors claimed to make pluripotent stem cells similar to iPS cells this way. …

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