Thomas D. Pollar
  • 2006 Canada Gairdner International Award


Educator, cell biologist and biophysicist. Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and a Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry at Yale University. In 2006, he received the Canada Gairdner International Award for “his discoveries related to understanding the cytoskeleton of the cell and the basis of cell mobility and its relevance to human disease.”

Education and Work Experience

1968, M.D., cum laude. Harvard Medical School
1977-1996, Bayard Halsted Professor and Director, Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
2001-2005, Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology and of Cell Biology, Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Chair of Department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University
2006-Present, Sterling Professor of Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology and of Cell Biology and of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Yale University

Honors and Awards

1984, Guggenheim Fellowship
1992, Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences
2006, Canada Gairdner International Award

Major Academic Achievements

Dr. Thomas Pollard pioneered the biochemical and biophysical analysis of the actin cytoskeleton, which is responsible for form and movement in all cells. His many contributions have defined the actin cytoskeleton field for nearly three decades, and include the basis for directional actin polymerization, the discovery of actin capping, severing and nucleation factors and the mechanisms of actin-based intracellular movement. The complex actin-based cytoskeletal network underlies cell shape and motility in virtually all biological contexts, including intracellular transport, polarized cell growth and division, tissue formation and developmental morphogenesis. In addition, actin dynamics is essential for virulence of a number of human bacterial pathogens.