September 26, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Teruhiko Wakayama

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

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

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

3 min read

The Japanese research institute RIKEN has come full circle in a way on the STAP cell scandal. Note that the STAP papers included not only authors from RIKEN, but also from Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. With its final report released today (also a powerpoint of images were released including the one showing a figure posted here of reportedly made up data published in a STAP paper), RIKEN seems to now have handled this complicated mess in a relatively rigorous, scientific manner that …Read More