June 6, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子)

4 min read

A great new piece in The New Yorker by Dana Goodyear, The Stress Test, gives us a window into Charles Vacanti’s side of the STAP cell mess and includes recent quotes from him. It’s a long, fascinating look inside of STAP, the tangled and ultimately tragic scientific implosion that created and then brought down two Nature papers and some careers. The most notable part of the article is that the stem cell community finally hears from Vacanti, postdoc mentor of lead author Haruko Obokata. We …Read More

2 min read

Haruko Obokata was reportedly questioned by police in Japan today. The questioning relates to the STAP cell scandal that led to the retraction of two Nature papers. As first author of the papers, Obokata and other authors had reported that they could make IPSC-like cells simply via acid or other stress treatment. However, it is now widely believed that the supposed STAP cells were in actuality ES cells (or ES cells mixed with other cell types), and there has been some question over whether …Read More

1 min read

Haruko Obokata wrote a book about the STAP cell scandal telling it from her perspective. Fom all accounts I’ve seen, she has sought in her writings to shift the blame away from herself. She even claimed she was framed by other scientists. To say I’m skeptical would be an understatement. Will this book have any impact? Many scientists thought it would make a splash and then fade away. Not so, at least so far. At present Obokata’s book is the #1 best-selling book on …Read More

1 min read

The Japan Times has the first detailed account in English about Haruko Obokata’s new book, “That Day”. HT to blog reader Shinsakan. (update: another helpful piece on this from the WSJ). In the book, Obokata (who was widely blamed for the STAP cell fiasco) seeks to shift the blame to others according to the paper. Obokata’s book just came out and you can see more details here. According The Japan Times, in the book Obokata largely blames one of her mentors Teruhiko Wakayama for …Read More

1 min read

Haruko Obokata reportedtly has written a book that is somewhat of a memoir of her life including the STAP cell scandal. The exact nature of the book remains mostly a mystery at this point. It should be out on the 2nd anniversary of the STAP cell papers being published. Kyodo News gives some more details now: “The 253-page book, titled “Anohi” (That Day), will hit the bookstore shelves Thursday. It will be the first time she has offered a lengthy explanation on the issue …Read More

1 min read

Media in Japan are reporting that Waseda University will shortly revoke the Ph.D. of STAP cell scientist Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子). A hat tip to blog reader Tom on this story. The thesis contained plagiarized material and problematic data as did the Nature papers on which she was first author. Those papers were retracted and now apparently her thesis will essentially find the same fate. Obokata had been given 1 year to correct her thesis, a potentially impossible task, and Japan TImes quotes a …Read More