Metcalf Prize Alumni

Metcalf Prize Alumni

  A central focus for the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia is promoting great Australian science, as well as supporting medical research. To identify these bright stars of Australian stem cell science, we bring together a group of recognised experts in stem cell science as the Metcalf Prize Judging Panel.

Our Metcalf Prize winners are making ground-breaking scientific breakthroughs in stem cell science. Read more on each of the winners below.

 Mark Dawson, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Building a blood cancer treatment from the ground up

Mark Dawson has helped build a new drug to fight an aggressive form of blood cancer. He discovered the basic science of gene expression in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), helped develop a drug to block that action, and is leading an international clinical trial to test it.  Read more

Mark's research profile from Peter MacCallum Cencer Centre

 Jessica Mar, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), University of Queensland

How we and our stem cells get old

Jessica Mar is analysing stem cells to discover the changes that influence ageing.

We all started life as a stem cell. Throughout our lives, stem cells repair and replace our tissues, but as we age they stop working as well. Understanding how this decline occurs is fundamental to understanding—and influencing—how we age. Jessica is studying ageing stem cell models with collaborators around Australia to answer these questions.  Read more

Jessica's research profile from University of Queensland

  Tracy Heng, Monash University

Making cancer treatment less aggressive​

Tracy Heng wants to make cancer treatment gentler and more effective for elderly patients with blood cancer and other blood disorders. “Bone marrow transplants have transformed survival rates for blood cancers. They replace a diseased blood system with healthy blood-forming cells, but first, doctors have to wipe out a patient’s immune system, which takes a big toll on elderly patients. My goal is to change that,” says Tracy. Read more.

Tracy's research profile from Monash University

  James Chong, Westmead Institute for Medical Research and The University of Sydney

Stem cells healing broken hearts

James Chong has two starters in the race to develop stem cell therapies for heart failure as viable alternatives to heart transplants. His research is exploring both the potential for transplanted stem cells to regenerate new heart tissue and how to repair a patient’s heart by rejuvenating their own heart stem cells.  Read more

James' research profile from University of Sydney

  Ryan Lister, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research

Teaching stem cells to forget their past

Ryan Lister has discovered how adult stem cells retain a memory of what they once were. He believes he can make them forget their past lives, as for example skin cells, so their history doesn’t limit their new potential to become brain, heart, liver, blood and other cells. Read more.

Ryan's research profile from Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research

  Christine Wells, University of Queensland

Stem cell encyclopaedia fast tracks discoveries

An online encyclopaedia created by Christine Wells has led to the discovery of a new kind of stem cell. And that’s just the beginning. Christine’s small Brisbane team has created a resource that the global stem cell research community is using to rapidly share knowledge and fast track stem cell discoveries. Read more.

Christine Well's profile from University of Melbourne

 Kaylene Young, University of Tasmania

Closer to repairing the brain with it's own stem cells 

Kaylene Young is working to find ways to persuade 'lazy' stem cells in our brain to repair brain injuries and even treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. Read more.

Kaylene's research profile from University of Tasmania

  Jose Polo, Monash University

New stem cells via identity theft and reprogramming

Jose Polo is unravelling the details of how stem cells can be produced from adult cells through a mix of identity theft and reprogramming. It is work that needs to be done before such stem cells can be used safely in medicine. Read more.

Jose Polo's research profile from Monash University


We aim to:

  • Promote the study and use of stem cells

  • Prevent or control diseases or illness

  • Enhance public education about stem cells