Paul Knoepfler,

Paul Knoepfler,


Cell Biology and Human Anatomy

Neuroscience Research



  • Associate Professor


Shriners Hospital for Children

2425 Stockton Blvd., 633A
Sacramento, CA 95817
Driving Directions

Primary Phone:
800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284)

Additional Phone Numbers

Phone: 916-453-2289



Social Networking


Research/Academic Interests

Paul Knoepfler is an award-winning scientist who is particularly interested in what controls stem and cancer cell biological behavior.

Known also for his popular blog – – and passionate stem cell advocacy, Knoepfler and his laboratory team focus on how a cell’s pluripotency control machinery goes awry during cancer.

Knoepfler is using leading-edge genomics technology to better understand why stem cells behave the way they do, and working to determine how cell behavior can be directed toward safe and effective clinical use.

Knoepfler also is an associate investigator at the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine at Shriners Hospital for Children Northern California. Along with studying the molecular programming of embryonic and neural stem cells, Knoepfler has investigated pediatric nervous system tumors and glioblastomas.

Center/Program Affiliation

Institute for Regenerative Cures
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
Genome Center
Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine/Shriners Hospital


Ph.D., Molecular Pathology, UC San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, California, 1998

B.A., English Literature, Reed College, Portland, Oregon, 1989

Professional Memberships

American Association for Cancer Research

International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISRCR)

Society for Developmental Biology

Honors and Awards

National Advocacy Award, Genetics Policy Institute, 2013

CIRM New Faculty Award, 2009-2014,

March of Dimes´┐Ż Basil O'Conner Starter Scholar Award, 2008-2009,

Brain Tumor Society Award, 2007-2008,

Howard Temin Award, National Cancer Institute, 2005-2010,

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Special Fellowship, 2002-2005,

Select Recent Publications

Yuen BT, Knoepfler PS. Histone h3.3 mutations: a variant path to cancer.  Cancer Cell. 2013 Nov 11;24(5):567-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2013.09.015.

Tung PY, Varlakhanova NV, Knoepfler PS. Identification of DPPA4 and DPPA2 as a Novel Family of Pluripotency-Related Oncogenes. Stem Cells. 2013 Nov;31(11):2330-42. doi: 10.1002/stem.1526.

Knoepfler PS. Scientists: you really need to get out of the lab more. Nat Med. 2013 Sep 6;19(9):1086. doi: 10.1038/nm0913-1086.

Barrilleaux BL, Cotterman R, Knoepfler PS. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays for myc and N-myc.  Methods Mol Biol. 2013;1012:117-33. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-429-6_9. PMID: 24006062 [PubMed - in process]

Laskowski AI and Knoepfler PS. Myc binds the pluripotency factor Utf1 through the basic-helix-loop-helix leucine zipper domain. BBRC. 2013 In Press.

Bush KM, Yuen BT, Barrilleaux BL, Riggs JW, O Geen H, Cotterman R, Knoepfler PS. Endogenous mammalian histone H3.3 exhibits chromatin-related functions during development. Epigenetics Chromatin. 2013 Apr 9;6(1):7.

Riggs JW, Barrilleaux B, Varlakhanova N, Bush K, Chan V, and Knoepfler PS. Induced pluripotency and oncogenic transformation are related processes. Stem Cells & Dev. 2013 Jan 1;22(1):37-50.

Knoepfler PS. Call for fellowship programs in stem cell-based regenerative and cellular medicine: new stem cell training is essential for physicians. Regen Med. 2013 Mar;8(2):223-5.

Meissen JK , Yuen BTK, Kind T, Riggs JW, Barupala DK, Knoepfler PK*, and Fiehn O*. Induced pluripotent stem cells show metabolomic differences to embryonic stem cells in polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholines and primary metabolism. PLoS One 2012;7(10):e46770.  *co-corresponding authors.

Laskowski AI and Knoepfler PS. Utf1: Goldilocks for ESC bivalency. Cell Stem Cell 2012; Dec 7;11(6):732-4.