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reed magazine logoWinter 2009

Reedie Wins Grant For Regenerative Medicine

The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) selected Paul Knoepfler ’89 as a recipient of a $2.2 million new Faculty Award, approving his research proposal, “Molecular Mechanisms Governing hESC and iPS Cell Self-renewal and Pluripotency,” in November 2008. Paul reports that the grant is the first to support research for improving the safety of stem cell regenerative medicine, and will be used to investigate the issue of tumorigenicity in stem cells over the next five years.

Paul Knoepfler '89

A critical outcome of regenerative medicine is patient recovery, not potential harm, he says. “We know quite a lot about what makes stem cells attractive as potential tools for regenerative therapies, but, surprisingly, we know almost nothing about the cellular mechanisms that prompt even normal stem cells, cells that have not undergone any mutations, to cause tumors. Since we won’t be able to use them in treatments until we can prove their safety, this award from CIRM will be a major catalyst for my work in this crucial area of regenerative medicine.”

Paul earned his bachelor’s degree from Reed in English literature, but his interest in science carried him through his next degree program, a doctorate in molecular pathology from UC San Diego. From 2001 to 2006, he was a research fellow at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and is now assistant professor in the department of cell biology and human anatomy at UC Davis School of Medicine, and assistant investigator and member at the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Northern California. He and Anca Anastasescu Knoepfler ’90, a physician in the UC Davis Medical Group, live in Davis with their three daughters, Aliana, 13, Melanie, 11, and Julie, 6.

A video of Paul in his lab, discussing his objectives for the grant, is available for viewing at For a look at Paul’s research, visit or

reed magazine logoWinter 2009