Thomas Dean Pollard

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

Departments & Organizations

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics and Development | Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental BiologyStructural BiologyCell Biology: Cytoskeletal Dynamics | Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry: Cell Cycle and Transcriptional Regulation; Structural 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.


  • B.A., Pomona College , 1964
  • M.D., Harvard Medical School , 1968

Selected Publication

  • Vavylonis, D., Wu, J.-Q., Hao, S., O'Shaughnessy, B. and Pollard, T.D. (2008) Assembly mechanism of the contractile ring for cytokinesis by fission yeast. Science 319:97-100.

Latest Honor and Recognition

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