May 31, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Sasai Yoshiki

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

3 min read

Why do some scientists commit suicide and can such suicides be prevented? Clearly it can be hard or even impossible to tell from the outside what things may be like on the inside for anybody whether they are a scientist or not. Last year the world of science, and in particular the stem cell and developmental biology fields, were stunned when noted RIKEN scientist Yoshiki Sasai committed suicide. At least in part that death was linked to the STAP cell fiasco. More recently the …Read More

2 min read

Today has been a dark day of mourning for science following the death by suicide of Dr. Yoshiki Sasai. I did not know Dr. Sasai personally, but was very impressed with his work. His suicide leaves me feeling very sad and it seems like an appropriate time for reflection. It’s not clear why he took his own life, but it is reasonable to surmise that aspects of the STAP cell mess had a prominent role. After the STAP paper situation went wild in the media in Japan and became a political hot …Read More