Thomas Dean Pollard

Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Biographical Info

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.

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.

Education & Training

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

Honors & Recognition

  • Fellow American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1990)
  • Gairdner International Award in Biomedical Sciences
    Gairdner Foundation (2006)
  • Fellow National Academy of Sciences of the United States
    National Academy of Sciences of the United States (1992)
  • Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993)
  • Rosenstiel Award
    Brandeis University (1996)
  • Public Service Award
    Biophysical Society (1997)
  • Member, Institute of Medicine
    Institute of Medicine (1999)
  • E.B. Wilson Medal
    American Society for Cell Biology (2004)

Professional Service

  • Chairman, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council (1993 - 1998)
  • President, Biophysical Society (1992 - 1993)
  • President, President, American Society for Cell Biology (1987 - 1988)

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