Congrats to #stemcell image contest winner: Tina Zimmerman

I’ve been running a stem cell image contest here on the blog with the prize being $100. In the past I’ve done similar contests, but the response to this one was really impressive with 24 entries.

I also ran a stem cell video contest last year. The winning video, which is stem cell claymation and that you can find at that link, is downright hilarious.

My thanks to everyone who entered and shared their cool images of stem cells this year. As one entrant put it, stem cells are so pretty! I definitely agree. I made a montage (pasted at the bottom of the post) of all the entries.

So how to pick just one winner? It wasn’t easy.

Tina Zimmerman embryoid body

The winner is graduate student Tina Zimmerman, who submitted the above image of a differentiated embryoid body made from mouse embryonic stem cells. Tina is a student at University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany. She stained the cells for nestin (blue) and doublecortin (DCX; red), and the cells have a CAG-GFP reporter. We can see neural stem cells, neural precursors, and maybe some residual embryonic stem cells too or at least some GFP expression.

Here is the montage of all the entries.

stem cell contest

Stem cell image contest: $100 prize

Knoepfler Stem Cell Insiders BookScience can come in various forms ranging from numbers to words to images.

In the stem cell field, some of the images can be particularly striking. One of my own favorites is the one above that I took some years ago of differentiation of neural stem cells that ended up on the cover of my first book.

Do you have a favorite stem cell-related image?

I’m doing a stem cell image contest.

The winner receives a $100 prize and their image will be posted here along with a blurb on their research.

If more than one entry is particularly amazing, I may give out more than one prize.

The rules are straightforward. Anyone can enter whether you are in academia or industry.

Email me your favorite stem cell-related image (knoepflerATucdavisDOTedu). The image must be your own. Team entries are allowed.

By entering the contest you agree that the image may be posted on this stem cell blog.

The deadline is September 30th at midnight USA PDT.

Top 10 Insider Trends on Stem Cells to Look Out for at ISSCR 2015 Stockholm

isscr meetingThe annual ISSCR meeting has started in Stockholm.

This is always a great annual meeting both for the science and for connecting with people including new friends and colleagues as well as old friends.

Another element to the meeting is the insider conversations in the halls, restaurants, and bars that tell a behind the scenes story of the stem cell field.

Below are my top 10 things to look for that might be discussed over a beer or coffee this year. Also be sure to check out the wonderful guide to Stockholm from Heather Main and if you are there at the meeting enter our stem cell contests to win up to $100.

  • Clinics make an appearance? It’s a long shot, but I keep wondering if some of the stem cell clinic folks will show up at ISSCR some day to try to legitimize themselves even if they don’t speak, etc. Maybe they’ll sneak in with some posters or even just attend to make some connections. Unlikely, but if it happened could prove very interesting.
  • I’ll be curious if the Hanna-Silva feud of a sorts continues persist over ground state pluripotency, MBD3 and NuRD.
  • Does anyone still believe in VSELs?  A scandal is still smoldering there.
  • Anybody know what happened to Vacanti and the assumed to exist Brigham & Women’s/Harvard investigation over STAP cells? Last year in Vancouver at ISSCR STAP cells were one of the hottest topics.
  • Will Mitalipov continue to assert that NT-hESC are better than IPSC after the more recent paper (on which he was an author seemed to show otherwise)? More broadly will the SCNT/human therapeutic cloning folks continue to claim a clear path to the bedside?
  • Any news on Masayo Takahashi’s IPSC trial? More preliminary data?. I’m excited to see how that goes.
  • I keep hoping also that more biotechs will present at ISSCR and be given plenary talks.
  • Is ethics/policy given sufficient attention at the meeting?
  • Will CRISPR-Cas9 editing of stem cells be the talk of the meeting? The explosive trend of this amazing gene editing technology in science overall has really gripped everyone’s attention.
  • How many reports of clinical trial data will be given? Sometimes in the past ISSCR meetings have had a sizable tilt towards basic science. Could that be changing?

ISSCR 2015 Stockholm Contests $100 in Prizes

Amazon gift cardI wish I was going to be with all you who are attending the ISSCR Annual Meeting in Stockholm coming up in a week or so, but this year the schedule just doesn’t work.

I’ll try to be there in spirit.

For those of you attending, I do have something fun though and a chance to win some money.

I’m inviting attendees of ISSCR to submit entries in two contests: (1) guest blog posts and (2) pictures or videos from the meeting itself or from Stockholm.

Submit your entries to me by email: For videos, if large file size is an issue you can send me a DropBox or similar link.

The best quest blog post submitted to me will win a $50 Amazon gift card. You can submit more than one as well as long as it is on a different topic. The more interesting, timely and well-written the piece, the more likely it will win.

The top photo or video from the meeting submitted to me will also win a $50 Amazon gift card. I’m strongly encouraging people to submit videos (not taken of ISSCR talks). Such videos could be of scientists discussing stuff over coffee, beer, etc., interviews, videos of Stockholm, etc. Of course anyone in the photo or video needs to give permission for its use.

If I’m wowed by multiple awesome guest blog posts or photos/videos by different people, I may give more than one prize each for blog posts and photos. On the other hand if I don’t get excellent submission, it is possible that no one will win. I hope the latter does not happen.


Anyone can enter. Entries must be submitted before the meeting ends. The more timely the submission (e.g. guest blog post on talk sent to me within 12 hours of the talk) the better your odds.

If you blog about a talk at ISSCR that someone gave please get their permission if you intend to include mentions of unpublished data.

The blog post cannot be more than 300 words. Photos in blog posts are encouraged (you must have taken it yourself/have the copyright or have permission).

For the separate photo/video entries, you must have taken the photo or video yourself/have copyright.

All entries may be posted on this blog and by submitting yours you agree to that. Entries may be edited if they are posted.

I will be the judge of the winner and decisions are final.

The prizes are $50 Amazon gift cards in USD that will be received electronically.

Grad student Gonçalo Rodrigues Wins Free Registration to WAFSF Stem Cell Meeting

I put out a call for a flash contest for people to win free registrations to the great stem cell meeting, WAFSF, starting tomorrow in SFO (see meeting info here).Goncalo Rodrigues Picture

The winner is Gonçalo Rodrigues (pictured at right) of UC Berkeley, a visiting Ph.D. student from Portugal.

Here’s what he told me as the reason why he wanted to attend:

“For me, a Portuguese visiting Berkeley, it would be like a struggling off off Broadway actor getting the chance to go to the Oscars. Answers, from all clinical translation experts, to questions related to cell purification and enrichment before transplantation would be immensely valuable to my PhD in downstream.”

I hope you enjoy the meeting, Gonçalo, and maybe I’ll see you there talking to Dr. Yamanaka or other great stem cell scientists. Way to go!