September 20, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子)

3 min read

Once upon a time this blog and major outlets around the world were regularly writing about a Japanese stem cell researcher named Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子). Whatever happened to Obokata and the other folks directly involved in STAP cell research? First, a bit of background because maybe still a few people never heard of STAP cells and Obokata or forgot the key points behind the controversy. Haruko Obokata became well known because of her research claiming to make pluripotent stem cells like IPS cells without …Read More

3 min read

STAP is back? Really? No, I don’t believe so, but there’s an interesting development and twist on the STAP cell front. Just a few days ago on January 4, 2017 Dr. Charles Vacanti, the originator of the STAP cells concept, submitted a declaration to the USPTO affirming the belief that STAP cells are real and requesting that the patent office allow the rejected STAP patent application to be reconsidered. I find a number of aspects of this development notable: The declaration says they have generated new data …Read More

1 min read

After six and a half years blogging here, I’ve seen so much weird stuff. Not all of it was even “bloggable” due to its crazy, not-safe-for-work nature. For TGIF this week, here are 10 of the weirdest posts from this blog over the years. Where’s the Beef? Reality Check on Stem Cell Test Tube Burger Baloney You might also enjoy this 2017 post on lab-grown meat: Yum or yuck? Test tube bacon from stem cells. Stem cells in my Pepsi? A new weird stem …Read More

2 min read

Haruko Obokata is most well-known for her role as first author of the now retracted two STAP cell Nature papers. These manuscripts claimed to have made pluripotent and even totipotent stem cells simply by stressing cells out with acid treatment or in other ways. Nobody else could get this method to work to create the so-called STAP cells. It was an all around scientific disaster and I don’t know anyone who believes that STAP cells are real, but Obokata and another one of her mentors, …Read More