Paul recently presented a Cell paper in Basic Science Journal Club about the Japanese researcher who has figured out how to reprogram regular epithelial cells into cells that closely resemble stem cells. The front page of Synapse contains an article describing the recent finding and there is a piece in the New York Times (courtesy of Iris) about how this wayward scientist found his way into research. Of note, Dr. Yamanaka maintains a lab at UCSF and we can semi-claim him as our own (besides the fact that he's a national hero in Japan, haha). One thing that interested me was why he chose UCSF:
"The best place to learn about genetics and knockout mice was the United States, where Dr. Yamanaka had no friends or contacts. He said he sent some 30 letters to American universities and specialists whose names he culled from science magazines and journals. One of the few to respond was the University of California, San Francisco, which offered him a post-doctoral position in 1993."
This is sort of an irrational thought, but thanks, UCSF, for taking a chance 14 years ago. :)