Stem Cell Blog Reader Survey, Free Swag

stem cell t-shirtEvery few years I do a survey of you guys so I can have a better sense of my blog’s readership. For that purpose, below I’ve got two polls to ask you (1) about your general backgrounds and (2) preferences about post content.

Because some people may want to vote more than once on the types of posts they like the most, I’ve allowed re-voting on that poll.

Free stuff? Those who participate and leave a comment or email me to indicate they did (knoepflerATucdavisDOTedu) will be entered in a drawing for one bundle of free swag: a stem cell t-shirt and signed copies of my two books.

~10th anniversary of my 1st website: reflecting on wild ride

It was just over a decade ago that I started making websites and it’s been a wild ride.

My first site was at the domain name www.chromatin.com, which I was fortunate to have been able to get for a good deal way back when…I think in 2005.

You can see here an early 2007 copy of the archive of one of my first versions of the Knoepfler lab website at chromatin.com. I first put up that website around the time that I moved here to UC Davis in July 2006.

Then later in 2007 I started a stem cell-focused website including stem cell meeting listings, photos, and some science material, at the domain www.stem.ws. For instance, see an archive here (scroll down to see actual archived text content). Over those first few years, some students and faculty mentioned to me that they had seen my website.

In early 2010 I started this blog that you are now reading, first at the www.stem.ws address and then later at www.ipscell.com. It really all started with the www.chromatin.com site though.chromatin-video

At my chromatin.com website early on I had an animated video of chromatin changes in neural progenitors as a function of N-Myc levels (screenshot above). I’m trying to find that video file.

Back in 2006 as I was gearing up the Chromatin and Knoepfler lab websites I would guess that overall maybe only 10-20% of labs had their own dedicated websites, but it was catching on. Now it seems like a no-brainer that every lab, new or old, needs at least one website if not more.

In the first few years of this blog, the big debate on stem cells in the U.S. was over federal funding of research on human embryonic stem cells (hESC). It seems strange that in a way things may be coming full circle again as many in the field are stressed out that restrictions may again be applied to hESC funding. Wouldn’t that be a sad deja vu?

Six or seven years ago I even was called a baby killer in some comments on this blog and in some emails since I support hESC research. Other unexpected happenings included requests from people asking me to clone them or clone their children who passed away. Some wanted IPS cells made from themselves. Some threatened me in various ways. I was sockpuppeted. There was the whole STAP cell explosion. People randomly have emailed me all kinds of odd science documents over the years, most of which I couldn’t post because they were too sensitive. What am I supposed to do with them?

But mostly, the response has been extremely positive.

There have been big changes in 10 years both for the stem cell field and the Internet including science on the web. Where will we all be in another 10 years on these fronts? The next couple years alone could see profound changes. For instance, I wonder if we’ll see more real-time science on the web.

Why some stem cell sites weren’t in my top 10 list post

Some have asked me privately why certain stem cell websites were not included in my top 10 list of stem cell websites post for 2016 yesterday.

First of all, I may have missed some or left some off by mistake so if you have a favorite that you don’t see, let me know. Just because I didn’t list it, doesn’t mean that a given website isn’t great. Let me know what you think are the best.

I place a lot of emphasis on a collegial, open, and friendly stem cell online community that isn’t afraid to think outside the box and debate. I also look for original and in depth analysis.

On the other hand I don’t highly value websites that are simply promotional of (1) the stem cell field no matter what happens (i.e. hype, corporate cheerleading), (2) specific companies, (3) individuals, or (4) only certain “acceptable” kinds of stem cells.

Top 10 stem cell & regenerative medicine websites of 2016

Top 10 websitesWhat are the top 10 stem cell websites?

Where do you go to find the latest information and opinion on the stem cell and regenerative medicine fields?

Today, that information flows almost from minute to minute via websites and from social media. This is a transformational difference from past decades when it would take months.

For instance, it is common today to first learn about a cool new stem cell paper via Twitter the moment it leaves embargo.

What are the top stem cell websites today?

When I think about making a list of such sites, I’m looking for my go-to websites that are regularly updated (e.g. at least weekly ideally).

Here is my list of the top 10 stem cell websites in semi-alphabetical order.

And a special honorary mention for Stem Cell Battles by the amazing Don C. Reed (also check out the new book of the same name) that stands out as awesome for many reasons.

Look for other recommended sites that are not necessarily only on stem cells on my BlogRoll on the right lower side of this blog.

What are your favorite stem cell-related websites?

Cool biomed blogs you may not heard of: a drugmonkey, a med student, #CRISPR, & more

Science blogging is somewhat of a communal exercise. At least, it should be and cool biomed blogs are a great community.

One of the most invigorating aspects of blogging is finding new blogs that are worthwhile and edgy.

The NodeBelow I list some of my recommendations for blogs that you might not be familiar with, but that you should definitely check out.

DrugMonkey Blog. A go-to source for perspectives and a reality check on NIH funding, careers, and sometimes a bit about drug science. Whoever DrugMonkey is, s/he is awesome. @drugmonkeyblog

Innovative Genomics Initiative (IGI) Blog. The IGI is Berkeley’s fantastic gene editing and genomics group that includes Jennifer Doudna and Jacob Corn. Jacob writes the IGI blog and his posts are definitely worth reading including many insights on CRISPR. @igisci 

The Node. Love stem cells and developmental biology? Then you’ll love The Node (symbol above), the timely web offering of news in this arena that feels very much like a blog from the folks who bring us the wonderful journal Development@the_Node 

Nerds Eye View Blog. UC Davis Medical Student Fiona Scott (pictured)Fiona Scott is funny and irreverent as she writes this edgy blog about medical school and more. Many of you will enjoy this site. @Nerdseyeview22

STAT. While STAT is not a blog, it is my vote for the best new biomedical science news outlet of 2015. It has a stellar group of science writers who also seem to have some of the best insider sources. You’ll often read about cool new developments here first. @statnews