Alan Trounson

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Alan Trounson
Born (1946-02-16) 16 February 1946 (age 73)
Alma mater
Known for
  • Sue[1] Trounson (?) (div.)
  • Karin Hammarberg
Children4 (Kylie, Justin, Karl, Alex)
  • Wellcome Australia Medal (1991)
  • David deKretser Medal (2009)
  • Monash University Research Medal (2009)
  • Patrick Steptoe Medal (1994)
  • Bertarelli Foundation Medal (2004)
  • Barbara Eck Menning Medal (1997)
Scientific career
FieldsEmbryology; Stem cell research
Thesis (1974)

Alan Osborne Trounson (born 16 February 1946[5]) is an Australian embryologist with expertise in stem cell research. Trounson was the President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine between 2007 and 2014,[6][7] a former Professor of Stem Cell Sciences and the Director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories at Monash University, and retains the title of Emeritus Professor.

Trounson's areas of interest include cloning, stem cells, biotechnology, cloning for agricultural industry, gene storage and in-vitro fertilisation.

Background and early career[edit]

Trounson graduated from the University of New South Wales in 1971 with a Master of Science in Wool and Pastoral Sciences. In 1974 he was awarded his PhD in animal embryology by the University of Sydney. Between 1971 and 1976 Trounson was the Dalgety Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council Institute of Animal Physiology and Biochemistry at Cambridge University. Returning to Australia in 1977, he was appointed Senior Research Fellow at Monash University.[2]


Trounson introduced two world-first procedures which greatly improved the success rate of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). They were the use of a fertility drug to induce multiple ova and the freezing of embryos for future use. These procedures enabled more than 300,000 women worldwide to conceive successfully.

Trounson made headlines in 1980 with the first IVF birth in Australia and afterwards set up the Monash team of Wood, Trounson, Leeton, Talbot and Kovacs.[8] He was appointed a Reader in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1984 and the following year the Director of the Centre for Early Human Development. In 1991 he was appointed a Personal Chair in Obstetrics and Gynaecology/Paediatrics at Monash University and was awarded the Wellcome (Australia) Medal. Further awards followed in 1994 and 1994 when he received the Patrick Steptoe Memorial Medal from the British Fertility Society,[9] and the Benjamin Henry Sheares Medal from the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society, Singapore.[2]

In 2000, he again made international headlines when he led the team which discovered that nerve stem cells could be derived from embryonic stem cells. This announcement led to a dramatic increase in interest in the potential of stem cells to cure a range of currently incurable diseases.[10] In 2002, Tounson apologised for misleading members of the Australian Parliament by attributing the recovery of a crippled rat to embryonic stem cells, when in fact the cells were germ cells from a fetal rat.[11][12][13][14]

In 2003 he was appointed a Personal Chair as Professor of Stem Cell Sciences at Monash University, was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa by the Faculties of Medical Sciences and Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium,[15] and was named Australian Humanist of the Year.[16]

Trounson was the founder and executive vice-chairman of the National Biotechnology Centre of Excellence, Australian Stem Cell Centre, as well as Global Scientific Strategy Advisor.[17][18]

He serves on the Science Advisory Board of the Genetics Policy Institute and was a founder of the Australian Stem Cell Centre.[19]

In 2007 he was appointed President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine,[20] a position he held until his return to Australia in 2014.

In 2008 Trounson was inducted as an Honorary Member in the Monash University Golden Key Society.


  • Trounson, Alan O.; Wood, Carl (1984). In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer. ISBN 978-0-443-02675-1.
  • Trounson, Alan; Wood, Carl (1985). In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer. ISBN 978-0-443-02675-1.
  • Sathananthan, A. Henry; Trounson, Alan O.; Wood, Carl (November 1985). Atlas of Fine Structure of Human Sperm Penetration, Eggs, and Embryos Cultured in Vitro. ISBN 978-0-03-000113-0.
  • Wood, Carl; Trounson, Alan O., eds. (1988). Clinical in Vitro Fertilization. ISBN 978-3-540-19534-4.
  • Wood, Carl (1989). Trounson, Alan (ed.). Clinical in Vitro Fertilization. ISBN 978-0-387-19534-6.
  • Gianaroli, L.; Campana, A. (1994). Trounson, Alan O. (ed.). Implantation in Mammals. Serono Symposia Publications. Vol 91. Raven Press. ISBN 978-0-88167-905-2.
  • Trounson, Alan O.; Gardner, David K., eds. (1999). Handbook of in vitro fertilisation (2nd ed.). ISBN 978-0-8493-4002-4.
  • Trounson, Alan O.; Gosden, Roger G., eds. (25 August 2003). Biology and Pathology of the Oocyte: Its Role in Fertility and Reproductive Medicine. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-79958-4.
  • Verma, Paul J.; Trounson, Alan O. (2006). Nuclear Transfer Protocols: Cell Reprogramming and Transgenesis. Medical / Nursing. ISBN 978-1-58829-280-3.



  1. ^ Clohesy, Bernadette (16 May 2015). "Two of us". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Alafaci, Annette (27 September 2006). "Trounson, Alan Osborne". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. Encyclopedia of Australian Science. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  3. ^ Sharkey, David. "Life Members of The Society for Reproductive Biology". Membership. The Society for Reproductive Biology. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  4. ^ Pitt, Helen (26 August 2012). "Man on a mission". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  5. ^ "State Finalist Senior Australian of the Year 2013". 6 November 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  6. ^ Kaiser, Jocelyn (17 October 2013). "CIRM Director Steps Down". Science Now. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  7. ^ Servick, Kelly (30 April 2014). "California Stem Cell Institute Picks Industry Veteran as President". Science Now. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  8. ^ Wood, Carl; Riley, Robyn (1992). I.V.F. In Vitro Fertilisation. New Edition. ISBN 978-0-85572-212-8.
  9. ^ The British Fertility Society – About > Eponymous Winners Archived 17 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Australian Stem Cell Centre Archived 7 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Wroe, David; Gray, Darren; Douez, Sophie (30 August 2002). "Monash Uni gags Trounson as MPs ban cloning". The Age. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Uni denies gagging Trounson". The Age. AAP. 30 August 2002. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  13. ^ Knight, Ben (29 August 2002). "Professor Trounson defends himself". AM. Australia: ABC Local Radio. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  14. ^ Kelly, Fran (29 August 2002). "Has Trounson affected the future of stem cell research?". The 7.30 Report. Australia: ABC TV. Archived from the original (Transcript) on 15 May 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  15. ^ Australia Day – Victoria – What's On – Ambassadors Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Australian Humanists Of The Year Archived 30 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ a b "Cloning and Stem Cells". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  18. ^ "ISSCR Officers". International Society for Stem Cell Research. Archived from the original on 25 June 2007.
  19. ^ Trounson, Alan (12 April 2007). "Alan Trounson talks with Robyn Williams". Talking Science (Interview: video/audio). Interviewed by Robyn Williams. Australia: ABC. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  20. ^ Weekes, Peter (16 September 2007). "Stem cell pioneer joins science exodus". The Age. Retrieved 3 September 2016.

External links[edit]