Thomas D. Pollard

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Thomas Dean Pollard
Born July 7, 1942 (1942-07-07) (age 74)
Pasadena, California, United States
Residence United States
Nationality United States
Fields cell biologist
Institutions Yale University
Alma mater Pomona College
Harvard Medical School
Known for Research on cell motility, actin filaments, and myosin motors
Notable awards National Academy of Sciences (1992)
E. B. Wilson Medal (2004)
Gairdner Foundation International Award (2006)

Thomas Dean Pollard (born July 7, 1942) is a prominent educator, cell biologist and biophysicist whose research focuses on understanding cell motility through the study of actin filaments and myosin motors. He is Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and a Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry at Yale University. He was Dean of Yale's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 2010 to 2014, and President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies from 1996 to 2001.


He was educated at Pomona College, receiving a B.A. degree in 1964. He then attended Harvard Medical School, graduating cum laude in 1968. He then interned at Massachusetts General Hospital and began his career as a physician.


Following his internship, Pollard became a Staff Associate at the National Heart and Lung Institute. Soon after, he returned to Harvard, becoming an Assistant Professor of Anatomy in 1972, and advancing to Associate Professor in 1975. In 1977, Pollard was named Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where his laboratory discovered and characterized several important cellular proteins. In 1996, he left Hopkins to become the President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, where he also maintained a highly productive research unit in the Structural Biology Laboratory. Additionally, Pollard served as an Adjunct Professor of Biology, of Bioengineering, and of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. In 2001, Pollard began moving his laboratory to Yale, where he is currently the Sterling Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry. In 2010, President Richard Levin named Pollard Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Yale. Pollard has been very active in promoting scientific education and research primarily through two major societies, both of which he served as a past President: the American Society for Cell Biology and the Biophysical Society.

Pollard is a Fellow of the:

Pollard is a recipient of the:

Along with co-authors William C. Earnshaw, PhD, FRSE; Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, PhD; and illustrator Graham Johnson, Pollard is the primary author of the textbook Cell Biology now in its second edition published by Saunders (2007). Numerous publications, teaching and public service awards, scientists mentored, and editorial boards served-on exemplify Pollard's tremendous contributions to the fields of education and cell biology.


Thomas Pollard is married to Patricia Snowden and they have two children. Katherine Snowden Pollard is an Associate Investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, Associate Professor in the Division of Biostatistics, and a Sloan Research Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. Daniel Avery Pollard is a postdoctoral associate in the Rockman Lab. at New York University.

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