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NSCFA mourns the passing of Professor Don Metcalf

by Niall Byrne | Dec 16, 2014

Kaylene Young, Donald Metcalf and Jose Polo. Credit: Mark Coulson/NSCFA

The death of Professor Don Metcalf AC, FRS, is an immense loss to Australia’s scientific community— especially our nation’s stem cell sector, according to the Chairman of the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia, Dr Graeme Blackman.

“Don Metcalf’s contribution to medical research in Australia and internationally over more than 60 years was outstanding. He honoured the Foundation when he agreed to let us name the Foundation’s leadership award for early-career researchers—the Metcalf Prize—in his name,” Dr Blackman said.

“He was an enthusiastic participant in our award ceremony earlier this year and delighted our inaugural Metcalf Prize winners, Dr Kaylene Young and Associate Professor Jose Polo, when he presented them with their awards and discussed and encouraged their future work. We appreciated his support of our work in encouraging stem cell research,” he said.

“Don Metcalf’s contribution will be mourned by thousands of medical and scientific researchers around the world, but his greatest legacy is the 20 million lives he has saved through his scientific discovery of colony-stimulating factors, which translated into medical treatments.

“The Foundation’s thoughts are with his family and the family he developed at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute where he worked for 60 years,” Dr Blackman said.

Below is a video from the 2014 Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research with Don Metcalf speaking at the award ceremony (at 3:10min).


We aim to:

  • Promote the study and use of stem cells

  • Prevent or control diseases or illness

  • Enhance public education about stem cells