“To all this a reader might say, ‘Okay, this all sounds well and good, but you can't have your cake and eat it, too! Your science must have suffered from all this.’ In fact, I have lost some sleep, but I have not seen much in the way of negative scientific consequences. My lab has done very well during the past three years, and we have published many important papers, including one earlier this year that demonstrated the molecular similarities between induced pluripotency in stem cells and oncogenic transformation in cancer cells. I even secured tenure during this time.Knoepfler’s bottom line pitch? Any scientist can!
“Reflecting on my personal transformation to the role of scientist−advocate, I have come to notice many tangible positive outcomes. In a general sense, my work has served to build bridges and stimulate new dialogue between industry and academia in the stem cell field. At the same time, I couple these efforts to accountability. Today, if someone does an Internet search for 'stem cell blog', that person will find my site, with all its educational outreach resources, at the top of the results list. A few years ago, the same search would mostly have yielded sites published by opponents of stem cell research or proponents of sketchy, for-profit endeavors to attract stem cell 'tourism'. I have also interacted with more than 100 patients and caregivers, helping them make more educated and, I believe, safer, stem cell−related medical decisions with their physicians.”
As he put it:
“Any scientist can, and should, do it. It is only logical that scientists would adapt to today's reality—a funding-poor environment that is nonetheless rich with opportunities for communication—by becoming advocates. I predict that any scientist who devotes a tiny bit of time to advocacy endeavors will find that the payoff is greatly multiplied. I will even help. Drop me an e-mail. Or better yet, leave a comment on my blog or message me on Twitter. Let's get the conversation going.”Sphere: Related Content