Thomas Dean Pollard, MD

Sterling Prof MCDB; Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Departments & Organizations

Cell Biology: Cytoskeletal Dynamics

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry: Structural Biology

Structural Biology

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology: Membrane Biology and Motion | Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics and Development: Cytoskeleton and Cell Morphogenesis; Molecular and Chemical Biology


A graduate of Pomona College, Dr. Thomas D. Pollard, earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He taught at Harvard Medical School 1972-78 and joined the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as the Bayard Halsted Professor and founding director of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy in 1977.

At Johns Hopkins, was the founding director of a graduate program in cellular and molecular medicine and was honored with teaching awards seven times. He joined the Salk Institute as President in 1996. He has also served as adjunct professor at the University of California at San Diego until he moved to Yale University in 2001. He has had a long affiliation with the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Pollard was president of both the American Society for Cell Biology and the Biophysical Society, and on behalf of these organizations he was active politically in support of funding for biomedical research.

He chaired the Commission on Life Sciences at the National Research Council 1993-98. Honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, the Rosensteil Medical Research Award from Brandeis University with James Spudich of Stanford University (1996), the Howard T. Ricketts Award from the University of Chicago (2000), the E.B. Wilson Medal from the American Society for Cell Biology (2004) and the Gairdner International Award in Biomedical Sciences (2006).

His other honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MERIT Award from the National Institute of General Medical Science, a Public Service Award from the Biophysical Society and a Winston Churchill Overseas Fellowship from Churchill College in Cambridge, England. Pollard has authored or coauthored more than 350 scientific papers and scholarly articles on his work.

Education & Training

MD Harvard Medical School (1968)
BA Pomona College (1964)
Intern Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Honors & Recognition

  • Gairdner International Award in Biomedical SciencesGairdner Foundation (2006)

  • E.B. Wilson MedalAmerican Society for Cell Biology (2004)

  • Member, Institute of MedicineInstitute of Medicine (1999)

  • Public Service AwardBiophysical Society (1997)

  • Rosenstiel AwardBrandeis University (1996)

  • Fellow American Association for the Advancement of ScienceAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science (1993)

  • Fellow National Academy of Sciences of the United StatesNational Academy of Sciences of the United States (1992)

  • Fellow American Academy of Arts and SciencesAmerican Academy of Arts and Sciences (1990)

Professional Service

  • President President, American Society for Cell Biology (1987 - 1988)

  • President President, Biophysical Society (1992 - 1993)

  • Chairman, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council (1993 - 1998)

International Activity

  • Cellular Motility Australia (2008)

    Dr. Pollard maintains an academic relationship with a researcher in Australia. He hosted a visiting scholar from Australia, who continued the work when he returned home.

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Contact Info

Thomas Dean Pollard, MD
Lab Location
Pollard LabKline Biology Tower
219 Prospect Street, Ste KBT 548

New Haven, CT 06511
Office Location
Kline Biology Tower
219 Prospect Street, Ste PO Box 208103

New Haven, CT 06511
Mailing Address
MCDB KBT548219 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208103

New Haven, CT 06520-8103

Pollard Lab

Research Image 2

Ribbon diagram of the crystal structure of bovine Arp2/3 complex.