Professor Don Metcalf, who died on Monday 15 December, was a pioneer in the field of stem cell research. Long before there were stem cell journals, or stem cell institutes, or stem cell societies, Professor Metcalf was undertaking research on haematopoiesis that would influence generations of scientists in the field and will forever serve as a paradigm for our work.
The development of quantitative in vitro assays for blood stem and progenitor cells, and their application to the discovery of key regulators of growth and differentiation and their mechanisms of action, transformed our understanding of haematopoiesis and leukaemia, and led to the development of protein pharmaceuticals that have had a transformative impact on the treatment of blood disorders and cancer.
Anyone fortunate enough to spend time with Professor Metcalf, or listen to him lecture, would soon discover from his critical insights how much we still have to learn about blood cell formation and stem cell biology in general. His enthusiasm and dedication were legendary.
We have lost a great colleague but we should celebrate his life and achievements. We extend our deepest sympathies to Professor Metcalf’s family and to his colleagues at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.
Please take the time to read this very special and moving tribute by Doug Hilton, Warren Alexander and Nic Nicola: A tribute to Professor Donald Metcalf