Intro:

In early 2018, STEMCELL Technologies put out a call for scientists to visit their Vancouver facilities and peer review them against their company motto of “Scientists Helping Scientists”. Out of over 300 applicants, three postdoctoral fellows were selected to form the peer review team; they visited STEMCELL in April 2018 and conducted their review over three days.

In this special episode of the Stem Cell Podcast, conducted at the end of the peer review initiative, Daylon and Kiki sat down with the peer reviewers to discuss their research interests, current issues and concerns in life science research and education, and their motivations for wanting to be involved in the peer review. Our hosts also asked the reviewers to deliver their final verdict on whether STEMCELL is truly a company of Scientists Helping Scientists and provide recommendations on how STEMCELL can improve in the future. Listen to find out the results!

About the Peer Reviewers

Dr. Amy Stone, PhD; Senior Fellow, University of Washington, United States
Dr. Stone is investigating how humans defend against RNA viruses. Specifically, she is trying to understand how macrophages sense RNA virus infections, what changes in polarization and function occur in those macrophages, and the downstream effects on the adaptive immune system. Dr. Stone wanted to be part of this peer-review to contribute towards resolving the reproducibility crisis currently plaguing bioscience and to answer the question of “Can I rely on STEMCELL’s products to generate reproducible, accurate, trustworthy data?”

Dr. Craig Ayre, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow, Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, Canada
Dr. Ayre is studying the basic biology of extracellular vesicles and investigating their diagnostic and therapeutic potential in different cancers. Dr. Ayre was interested in joining the peer review as a way to bridge the gap between the perceptions surrounding academic- vs. industry-led science, stating that industrial science needs to be given the same gravitas and platform to demonstrate its rigor and benefit to research as any other research program.

Dr. Fiona Frame, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of York, United Kingdom
Dr. Frame is working on primary prostate epithelial cells derived from patient prostate cancer tissue. She uses these cells as a clinically relevant model to test current and novel treatments and therapy resistance. Dr. Frame wanted to be involved in the peer review to find out what goes on inside a company and what the company is doing to provide what scientists need. She expressed a desire to learn about the support that STEMCELL is able to provide to the scientific community and to be involved in an exchange of knowledge to help benefit research progress and the scientific community.

To Learn More About the Peer Review:

The Peer Review: Watch the short documentary film to follow the peer reviewers’ experience at STEMCELL.

Detailed Peer Review Report: Take a closer look at how the peer review was performed. See what the reviewers had to say about our role in addressing scientific issues such as reproducibility, accessibility and quality.