While some of our Research!America colleagues were attending the recent World Stem Cell Summit in Pasadena, CA, they had a chance to hear from a researcher with a one-of-a-kind megaphone.
Paul Knoepfler, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy at the UC-Davis School of Medicine, also runs a blog from his lab. The blog, he writes, is “currently the only stem cell blog in the world written by a faculty level scientist.”
Knoepfler was also a panelist at the World Stem Cell Summit, where he discussed ways to empower researchers and advocates through social media, including blogs. But he also took in the lessons that the Summit had to offer, producing a succinct list of seven takeaways that came from the Summit.
Among them: “We need scientists to be advocates. Of course there are already great scientist advocates and many were at the WSCS, but they are probably <1% of stem cell scientists. We need scientists to go outside their traditional comfort zones and advocate using their authority in public. This is a woefully underutilized strength. Some ideas include workshops by [the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine] and WSCS that directly teach and encourage scientists to do this. I’d be happy to be involved in making this happen. It is crucial.”
Of course, we couldn’t agree more. Blogs are a great way to be an ambassador for what you do, and Knoepfler does exactly that. His blog is easy to understand, even for those outside the lab; how else could one even attempt to write “A Layman’s Guide to Stem Cell Epigenetics“?
And if an English major can get the hang of what he’s saying, then that should count as a success for Knoepfler – one that can be emulated by most any researcher.