About Us, The Niche and Knoepfler Lab

The Niche is the top, most authoritative stem cell and regenerative medicine blog on the web and the only one to our knowledge written by a professor.

It is mainly written by Professor Paul Knoepfler of UC Davis School of Medicine, an internationally respected stem cell biologist and educator. Knoepfler is an advocate of rigorous evidence-based medicine. We also have more than a dozen additional authors of guest posts on The Niche. See information about all of these additional The Niche authors here.

In early 2020 we are celebrating our 10th anniversary as a site and we are over 10 million views. The Niche and/or Dr. Knoepfler have been cited and quoted dozens of times by major media outlets on stem cells and CRISPR gene editing.

Some recent examples from just the summer of include:

Dr. Knoepfler (@pknoepfler) is a biomedical scientist, science writer, advocate, and cancer survivor.

Mission. His philosophy is to make a transformative positive difference in biomedical science and wider communities both through innovative research and via novel approaches to educational outreach and policy.

Professor Paul Knoepfler, the primary author of The Niche, on Bill Nye's show.
Professor Paul Knoepfler, the primary author of The Niche, on Bill Nye’s show.

His research interests are primarily focused on the epigenomics of cancer and stem cells with a particular focus on pediatric tumors and especially childhood brain tumors (see Knoepfler Lab page here).

Knoepfler is a Professor at UC Davis School of Medicine in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy (see Departmental Page here).

At UC Davis he is also a faculty member of the Genome Center, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Institute for Regenerative Cures (aka UC Davis Stem Cell Center), and the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine at Shriners Hospital for Children of Northern California.

He received his BA in English Literature from Reed College and PhD from UCSD School of Medicine in Molecular Pathology in the lab of Mark Kamps.


He did his postdoc with Bob Eisenman at The Hutch in Seattle, focused on MYC function in stem cells and cancer.

In addition to research, Knoepfler is an advocate for stem cell research and responsible use of innovative technologies more broadly.

He is the author of Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide and more recently GMO Sapiens on issues related to CRISPR use in humans, a book targeted to both a lay audience and scientists.

For more on his concerns on heritable use of CRISPR in people, see his TED talk here. It has nearly 1.4 million views.

He runs a popular stem cell research and policy blog called The Niche.

He has received a number of awards for science and advocacy (you can read more on Wikipedia).

The Knoepfler Lab

The Knoepfler Lab conducts stem and cancer cell as well as chromatin/epigenetics research at the UC Davis School of Medicine. (Note that other than PI Paul Knoepfler, the members of the Knoepfler lab are not affiliated with The Niche website. In other words, please don’t hold my blog against my trainees!)

Our team has two big picture goals: (1) catalyzing the development of more effective treatments for cancers based on targeting stem cell-related machinery in tumorigenesis and (2) producing safer stem cell-based regenerative medicine therapies. We are particularly interested in how chromatin and epigenomic machinery regulate normal stem cell fate and how perturbations of these pathways leads to human disease including cancers. We are in addition investigating the epigenomic mechanisms in cellular reprogramming and tumorigenesis in terms of cellular plasticity.

Knoepfler Lab 2019
Knoepfler Lab 2019. Jacob Loeffler, B.S., Maitreyee Jathal, Ph.D., Kelly Bush, B.S., Magda Cichewicz, Ph.D., Rachel Klein, Ph.D., Paul Knoepfler, Vanessa Cervantes, B.S., Nichole Lewis, B.S., and Michael Chen, Ph.D. (l-r). Unfortunately, our 3 undergrads couldn’t make it for the picture.

We focus on three main types of molecules that are part of these systems: the Myc family of proto-oncogenes, the novel pluripotency-related oncogenes DPPA4/DPPA2, and lately we are especially focused on the histone variant H3.3. All have roles in normal stem cells and in disease. We use a combined approach to determine the mechanisms by which these factors function including genetic, genomic, cell biological, and protein biochemistry methods. We have a strong track record of high impact publications in these areas.

You can contact Dr. Knoepfler at: knoepfler@ucdavis.edu.

The Knoepfler Lab currently receives funding from NIH in the form of 2 R01 grants and has had substantial funding from the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

10 thoughts on “About Us, The Niche and Knoepfler Lab”

  1. I have been talking to these guys down in Baja- they are saying that umbilical cord cells offer the best results. They are working with an FDA approved lab also in the US. They don’t promise any cure but offer hope at least.

  2. gertraud von Lindenstruth, Dr.

    I really would like to see that the articles about stem cells are very current. I see 2016 a lot etc. Please upgrade this so that one can make a decision or understand better what is current right now, not 4 years ago which is a long time in the research area. thank you

  3. Two folks ask about Regenxx/ Dr. Centeno. I googled Chris Centeno and up came some interesting stuff. An expert commentary would be helpful – the FDA actions do stink of regulatory capture by Big Pharma of the FDA. But I usually consider FDA actions to be taken in response to egregiously bad behavior. His talks on youtube – e.g. see http://www.avoidthestemcellscam.com/ – are compelling.

  4. Dr. Knoepfler
    You have a Dr. Centeno on your website giving comments about other stem cell clinics. He runs one himself (very expensive, by the way) in northern CA. What amount of credibility do you give him and his clinic? How are we, the nonexperts, able to judge who is honest and integritous and who is not?

  5. Dr. Knoepfler,
    What are your thoughts on Dr. Purita’s clinic down in Florida? http://www.stemcellorthopedic.com/about-dr-purita.html
    Do you think he is in this just to make money? I have talked to several people that have been treated by him for knee arthritis and have experienced pain relief and improved function. Of course, he is not running any clinical trials comparing his treatments to placebo. And, what are your thoughts on Regenexx?
    As a patient, I have considered going to one of these clinics for treatment since other treatments have not worked and there are few options.
    Dr. Purita says that his stem cell plus PRP injections are not a “cure” but on his website it says, ” More detailed data from early patients is being collected. The following is in knee and hip patients with severe arthritis who were told they needed a joint replacement surgery:
    The great majority of knee patients reported more than 50% relief of symptoms and more than half of them had greater than 75% relief.
    The great majority of hip patients reported more than 50% relief and most of them reported more than 75% relief.”
    And, there are some articles that support the use of SVF injections to improve pain and function:

    I want the FDA to protect us and obviously double blind randomized controlled studies are needed but I also don’t want the FDA to impede progress.
    It seems like Europe, Australia, and Asia are way ahead of us in terms of orthopedic regenerative treatment options.


  6. Just wondered what you thought about the outrageous proposed sale of Ocata
    I can’t believe those in control are going to let this leader of Regen med. be stolen by the crooked management team and the Japanese conglomerate.
    I hope you have reached out to anyone you might know to at least have them look in to this travesty.
    AMD,MMD,platelets,blood,lupus and chrons.Letting some other country benefit from all this American treasure can’t be allowed to stand.

    I know you will do the right thing.

    Disillusioned Edward

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