Press Releases

Jose Polo awarded new Metcalf Prize for stem cell research

02 June 2014

Stem Cells Australia’s Jose Polo receives $50,000 Metcalf Prize in recognition of his contribution to stem cell science. The Metcalf Prize is a new initiative of the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia and aims to celebrate exceptional Australian mid-career stem cell researchers.

Jose heads the Reprogramming and Epigenetics Laboratory at the Department of Anatomy and Development Biology at Monash University and is a group leader at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and is also a Chief Investigator at Stem Cells Australia. 

Jose’s research has important implications for stem cell science, as he explores the fundamental molecular mechanisms that define cell identity, and applies this knowledge to understanding the cellular alchemy called reprogramming - the transformation of one cell type into another. This work has profound implications for medicine, because it will enable the conversion of a patient’s own cells into new healthy tissue to treat disease or injury.

Commenting on Jose’s success Stem Cells Australia’s Professor Martin Pera said, “The Metcalf Prize recognizes not only a very high level of scientific achievement, but also an outstanding potential for leadership, and the likelihood that the awardee will make a long term impact on Australian stem cell research. Jose exemplifies all of these qualities, and he is a great choice for one of the inaugural awards.”

The Metcalf Prize is a new initiative of the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia and aims to annually celebrate exceptional Australian mid-career stem cell researchers – one male and one female. Joining Jose as an inaugural recipient in 2014 is Dr Kaylene Young of the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania at University of Tasmania. Dr Young’s research focuses on the role of stem cells in brain injuries and repair.

The awards are named in the honour of WEHI’s Emeritus Professor Donald Metcalf and in recognition of his pioneering research into haematology. Professor Metcalf’s discovery of factors involved in stem cell growth and development has revolutionized the treatment of cancer patients and is estimated to have benefited more than 20 million patients around the globe.

Jose has previously received a 2013 Tall Poppy Science Award and a Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation Senior Medical Research Fellowship

Congratulations Jose!

Media:     Megan Munsie (0417 585 621 or

Stem Cells Australia is an Australian Research Council funded Special Research Initiative, bringing together Australia’s premier life scientists to address the big questions in stem cell science. Stem Cells Australia has been established by the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, Monash University, University of NSW, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and CSIRO.