Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research


ASSCR public event



Funding opportunity

$50,000 Prizes for Stem Cell Research now open

Applications are now open for the two $50,000 Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research.

Please consider encouraging your promising stem cell researchers to apply.

The Metcalf Prizes are open to mid-career researchers, 5 to 10 years past their PhD or MD (research based), working in stem cell research in Australia.

Last year’s winners were James Chong of the Westmead Institute for Medical Research and Tracy Heng of Monash University.

James has two starters in the race to develop stem cell therapies for heart failure, to repair damage and provide 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.

Tracy wants to make cancer treatment gentler and more effective for elderly patients with blood cancer and other blood disorders.

Previous Metcalf Prize recipients are:

  • Ryan Lister, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (2015)
  • Christine Wells, University of Melbourne (2015; then at University of Queensland)
  • Kaylene Young, University of Tasmania (2014)
  • Jose Polo, Monash University (2014)

Applications close Friday 4 August 2017. We encourage last year’s unsuccessful applicants to apply again this year if they are still eligible.

To apply online, and for a full list of criteria and conditions, head to the Foundation’s website:

If you have any questions about eligibility or the application process, please contact Tanya Ha at Science in Public, who are administering the awards for the Foundation:

Kind regards,

Julia Mason



Photos from 2017 annual meeting

Thank you once more to all who made the 2017 meeting a great success. Photos from the conference are now available for viewing here (DropBox) - see if you can spot yourself!

If you'd prefer to view photos on the ASSCR site, please click through here:


Groups and Awards

Harbour Dinner

Trade Area

Program for 2017 annual meeting

The final program for the annual meeting is now available. Download the PDF here.

Annual meeting in Sydney: abstract and award deadlines and invited speaker list

The 2017 annual meeting is fast approaching. The deadline for oral abstract and award consideration is February 24th, while poster abstracts are due March 24th. This Joint Meeting has allowed the ASSCR and Australasian Gene and Cell Therapy Society to create a diverse program with fantastic international and national invited speakers.

Please see below for further program and speaker details. We look forward to seeing you there.

Promotional flyer AGCTS and ASSCR Sydney 2017 joint meeting page 13 page 001



Promotional flyer AGCTS and ASSCR Sydney 2017 joint meeting page 21 page 001


ASSCR congratulates Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim on the award of Australian of the Year.

“It is a wonderful outcome to see a stem cell scientist awarded the title of Australian of the Year” said Professor Melissa Little, President of ASSCR. “Alan’s work highlights the important basic scientific research into stem cell biology being performed in Australia and the potential such research may have for future therapies.”

Emeritus Professor Mackay-Sim has researched for many years the olfactory mucosa of the nose, a site where new sensory nerve cells are continuously generated throughout life. An extension of the central nervous system, neural cells from the nose provide a readily available source of cells from a patient with which to model diseases such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and spastic paraplegia. Professor Mackay-Sim has also been interested in whether such adult neural cells could repair the nervous system, such as after spinal injury. To this end, he has directed clinical trials in which cells from the nose (called "olfactory ensheathing cells") are delivered into the spinal cord of paraplegic patients. Initial safety trials (Phase I) have provided a precedent for future trials using such cells.

ASSCR also congratulates Professor Perry Bartlett for his nomination as Senior Australian of the Year. Founder of the Queensland Brain Institute, Professor Bartlett was the first person to show that the human brain, contrary to common belief at the time, continues to form neurons throughout adult life.

“Perry’s work inspired many, including myself, to reconsider stem cells in adult tissues” said Professor Little. “Perry’s research continues to ask how we might encourage the brain to repair in the face of neural disease, including dementia.”

ASSCR will continue to support dedicated researchers across Australasia working towards a greater understanding of stem cells and their therapeutic promise.



The 2017 annual meeting planning is now well underway! Please see the 2017 Annual Meeting Tab and the poster below for details.   

The registration and abstract submissions portal for the 2017 Joint Meeting of the Australasian Gene and Cell Therapy and Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research is now available at

The meeting will be held at UTS Aerial Conference Centre in Sydney, May 24 to 26, 2017. Please follow the dropdown menu under the Conference tab on the AGCTS website. A link to this site will also be placed on the ASSCR website.

Abstract submissions close on 10th February for oral and 10th March for poster submissions. ASSCR travel awards can also be applied for via this site.

Together the two societies are developing an exciting combined agenda for the meeting with great international and national speakers.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Kind regards,
Melissa Little
President, ASSCR

Promotional flyer AGCTS and ASSCR Sydney 2017 joint meeting page 001



The presentations and posters at the 2016 annual general meeting were excellent. Please join us in congratulating the prizewinners below:

Oral Presentation Prizewinners (2)
-Elizabeth Ng
 for “Differentiation of human embryonic stem cells to HOXA+ hemogenic vasculature that resembles the aorta-gonad-mesonephros"
-Amy Chapman
 for “Investigating the functional maturation of human induced neural precursor-derived neurons”

Poster Presentation Prizewinners (2)
Grace Lidgerwood
 for “Lyosphosphatidic acid signalling in human pluripotent stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells”
-Isabel Hemming
 for “RP58 and p27 coordinate neural stem cell proliferation and radial migration within the embryonic mouse cerebral cortex”

Best of the Best Poster Presentations (5)
Kiryu Yap
for “Bio-engineering vascularised human liver organoids from adult stem/progenitor cells”
Ms Yi Wang
for “Self assembled peptide scaffold to support primary cortical neuron survival and growth in vitro”
Mr Majid Alhomrani
for “Human amnion epithelial cells-derived extracellular vesicles reduce fibrosis in a mouse model of liver fibrosis”
Ms Ena Music
for “Constant and pulsed parathyroid hormone(1-34) administration mitigates mesenchymal stem/stromal cell hypertrophy but at the expense of chondrogenesis”
Ms Grace Lidgerwood
for “Lysophosphatidic acid signalling in human pluripotent stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells”


Following the elections and AGM in December 2016, the new ASSCR committee members are as follows:

President: Melissa Little
Vice president: Ed Stanley
Chair, Conference and Awards Subcommittee: Helen Abud

Thank you to outgoing committee members Michael O'Connor, Melissa Little (VP), and Bronwen Connor for their outstanding work in their respective roles.

2016 - Australian Society for Stem Cell Research Topic Discussion Panel Evening Summary and audio request options.

Topic: Advancing Stem Cell Therapies: Balancing science, clinical trials, regulation and consumer demand.

Summary and audio request options provided here.

2018 ISSCR Annual Meeting

The ASSCR is delighted Melbourne has been chosen to host the 2018 ISSCR Annual Meeting.

This premier international event is the largest meeting of experts in stem cell medicine in the world. It provides an annual forum for doctors, policy makers and patients to interact with scientists and thought leaders at the cutting edge of stem cell research.

As a vibrant cosmopolitan city, Melbourne will be a perfect location for hosting over 3,000 delegates expected to attend from 65 countries around the world.

This significant decision recognizes the diverse and leading contributions people within the Australasian region are making to help realise the therapeutic potential of stem cells.

We’re excited to co-sponsor this influential event, and by doing so, further contribute to the development of stem cell technologies for patients, the community and our economy.

For more information please click here 

Q&A Hot Topic Discussion Panel Evening 

This event was held on Tuesday May 31st 2016 at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney.

This exciting even featured discussions on  “Advancing Stem Cell Therapies: Balancing science, clinical trials, regulation and consumer demand

Please click here to download your invitation.

Stem Cell stories continue to inform

Stem Cell Stories is a stunning touring image exhibition jointly created in late 2013 by the ASSCR and Questacon - the Australian National Science and Technology Centre.
The exhibition aims to celebrate the inherent beauty of regenerative medicine research while also stimulating community conversation around stem cells and emerging stem cell therapies. To do so, the exhibition juxtaposes beautiful colour stem cell images with portraits of patients looking to stem cell research for stemcellnew treatments. The beautiful and thought provoking images contained within the exhibition were provided by scientists across Australia and New Zealand.

Display of the exhibition alternates between Questacon, Canberra, and other galleries around Australia. In mid-2014 the exhibition was shown at the Royal Institute of Australia in Adelaide, and in mid-2015 it is planned for display at SciTech in Perth. Future showings are planned for other cities in Australia and New Zealand. The captivating nature of Stem Cell Stories has gathered significant media interest, including the closing credits of the ABC 7:30 Report in Adelaide and an 8-page feature spread in the December 2014 issue of Cosmos magazine.

Unproven stem cell therapies; what to look out for

Assessment of proposed stem cell treatments through clinical trials is used to determine the treatment’s safety and effectiveness, with the results published for transparency and further education.  We have, in conjunction with Stem Cells Australia and the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia, prepared a brochure to assist you in your search for more information.... 


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